The Ngarakbal Githabal peoples are part of the once vast ‘Yoocum Yoocum’ Moiety….. These ancient peoples are the East Coast ‘Custodians’ of the Feathered Serpent Traditions [or, Bird Tribe Lore] which is intrinsically linked to The Seven Sister ‘Skin’ Lore of the Rainbow Serpent…..the most ancient religion on the planet
The Yoocum Yoocum are the large ‘Cultural Block’ of one of the most densely populated regions of the Australian Continent before invasion by the Crown… and, despite the aggressive invasion of the East Coast, the ancestral lore survived….it’s a wonderful thing that it did, for these people hold ancient lore that is the last piece of the puzzle to unifying many of the ancient global mysteries.
The Ngarakbal Githabal peoples are descendants of the “Carpet-snake clans” of Australia…..Their Carpet-snake [water-snake] Lore traditions and culture come from the ‘Alcheringa’ – the distant ancient ‘Dreamtime’ past….These traditions once traversed the island continent….the origin of the Rainbow Serpent Lore
The Rainbow Serpent is a most important Ancestral Being within the Yoocum Yoocum and associated aligned moieties across Australia…It governs every facet of their ‘Skin’ Marriage Lore’s of Creation and Fertility – the spiral of Birth, Death and Rebirth….Their Central Spirituality governing the ‘Cycles of all Life’…The Rainbow Serpent is intrinsically interwoven with the ‘Skin’ Marriage Lore of the Seven Sisters – Arguably the oldest Religion on the Planet…
…’…Our Rainbow Serpent Dreaming is the oldest continuous documented religious theme in the world…over 60,000 years of Women’s Lore…’…..Lorraine Mafi Williams- Widgabal – Bundjalung proper
The Lore’s begin with landscape creator journeys from the coast of the Wollumbin Caldera – the most easterly point of the ancient Australian continent – and the Lores come from the ‘Alcheringa’….This word – ‘Alcheringa’, and the Rainbow Serpent Lore, and the Seven Sisters, feature in the regional dialects of other ancestral estates across the continent….but, these traditions are not in every Aboriginal culture….Some have been replaced due to ancient invasions and wars of the distant past – They have different beliefs – creators, ancestors and cultural values – the same as different religions have spread around the planet throughout time….
The Alcheringa [Lore] once travelled right across Australia…It has been recorded as part of ‘skin’ marriage lore in several ancestral regions, including the eastern cultural blocks of the Wakka Wakka, the Gubbi Gubbi, the central New South Wales Komilaroi, and also the Urabunna and Arunta peoples in the red centre of the continent…There are also regions of the west coast moieties in the Pilbara – but the Alcheringa is certainly not limited to just these…as with all ancestral Lore, within each specific ancestral estate and with each ones specific language, the sacred sites to commemorate the ancestors creation journey are maintained and utilised by the ‘custodial’ clans…joining the creation ‘songs’ together, much like pearls on a necklace, makes the ‘songline’….and many of these ‘songlines’ are governed by celestial bodies – the transits of stars.
The east coast in Ngarakbal Githabal country is the beginning of the Alcheringa – marked by a ‘djurebil’ [sacred site] that is located high in the rainforest mountains, in the aquifer watershed of the two east coast volcano’s…This djurebil [sacred site] was created by the Carpet Snake Clan ancestors….the Carpet-snake clans are the oldest clan on the continent…the ancient ones….
The Alcheringa creation ‘songline’ travels from ancient geological sites now submerged beneath the waves of the eastern Pacific Ocean – from the distant past when the sea water was locked in ice and the land extended out much farther than it does today ….but the djurebil remains…and weaves to the west – as serpents do…it is the pathway of the Rainbow Serpent ancestor, making the water paths within the geological features as it travels….
Rainforest ridges, Mountains in their own right, once named ‘little’ and ‘big’ Buggram [Bootheram] are divided by a deep gorge that the Rainbow Serpent gouged on its journey…after creating Little and Big Bootheram it travels up – higher than Wollumbin [Mount Warning] – higher than Julgumboong [Mount Lindsay]…it creates a great Plateau “Dhungura-ngarian”, which the white man named Lamington Plateau and traveling on to Mount Worendo, where it creates a series of waterfall cascades that plunge down through the rainforest…it is there, high in the remote rugged Macpherson Ranges, of the Caldera’s rim that the highest waterfall is created…and it’s djuriebil name is ‘Alcheringa’….and it is the name of that waterfall still….
The Ancestral totemic ‘beings’ not only created the geological features and aquifer systems of the continent, but also carried and distributed objects which were the sources of ritual and tribal Lore as well as the sources of all forms of life, including the people themselves….
In the Bootheram of the ‘Alcheringa’ there exists a comparatively small number of individuals who were half human and half animal or half plant…The Ngarakbal Githabal say that these ancestors didn’t ‘come here’ but that they were ‘made here’…that they are the original Carpet-snake Clan’s…The Bootheram records them as being created by ‘God’- Babbarra is one Ngarakbal Githabal word for describing God …Duramulan is another…….
Bootheram teaches that these half-human creatures were endowed with far greater powers than any living men or women now possess. They could walk about either on the earth or beneath it and could fly through the air….They were the children of ‘God’ and had inherited a portion of the qualities of their creator…they were themselves as ‘demi-gods’…and these ‘demi-gods’ are the ancestors of the existing totemic clans ….’Family’…Ancestors… Nimbinje as the Ngarakbal Githabal call them – or the “Hairy fellas”…the original clans – Carpet-snake totemic clans – they went all over the country, creating the djurebil…making them with sacred ceremonies, songs and dances for the people to enact throughout time….
The creation ancestors, in the act of ‘creating’, would leave deposits in the ground or in some natural feature such as a rock or a water pool, which transformed the site into a djurebil…and, high on the escarpment between the two volcano lands is one such carn of boulders, which was ‘made’ by the Rainbow Serpent…and, it is in this same area that the ‘Eelemarni Marriage Lore’ is deified…joining Ngarakbal to Githabal……All Bootheram Lores link together
So, what is Bootheram?
Bootheram is the Ngarakbal Githabal dialect name for the Dreamtime LORE…or LAW of all creation…Its Spiritual, complex and parallels numerous scientific disciplines
Northern hemisphere peoples (recently) developed numerical & alphabetical values to explain time and creation of this galaxy, this solar system and this planet…Bootheram explains the same thing…
Bootheram uses plants and animals and creation Heroes and Heroines metaphorically to denote each timeframe, for each creation sequence [epoch] and ‘holds’ it orally…through ceremonial songs, dances and sacred ritual at djurebil sites
Bootheram uses the landscape and the sky as the reference points of this creation lore….a living library…written into the land and mirrored in the sky, for all to see….indelible native science held in oral format…..And it is the Lore that Bootheram must NEVER be changed…
The sum total of the Bootheram of the Ngarakbal Githabal Feathered Serpent Traditions tells the complete history of the creation of the ‘universe’ beginning with 8 culture hero’s….It is obviously metaphoric and [naturally] linked to Bird Tribe Lore…..so, let’s look at one of the metaphoric Ancestral Creator Birds…..
Bootheram has many layers of meaning…and one such layer depicts (dreaming) timeframes…Oral lore for chronological markers of ‘Bird Tribe’ Mythology events….or, Totem as a Timeline……For example….One of the Landscape creation ancestors is the Turkey – ‘Woggun’ means Bush Turkey in Ngarakbal Githabal …and Woggun the Creation Ancestor Turkeys name is ‘Wollumbin’….
So…..In 1977 as part of the National Parks and Wildlife Aboriginal Site Survey of NSW, Ngarakbal Githabal ‘custodial knowledge holder’ Mrs Millie Boyd recorded the significance of Mt Warning with Howard Creamer, Anthropologist …Mrs Boyd had learnt this Feathered Serpent Lore from her Mother Charlotte Williams [nee Brown] …..Aunty Millie related the Bootheram [unchanged] of the Totemic Ancestral Birds gathering to ‘learn the lingo’ [Language]…..Then all flying from Mount Brown [which is located in the Richmond Range of Northern NSW]……….All the Birds fly from Mount Brown to claim, settle and name the ancestral tribal Totem sites in the ancient Yoocum Yoocum Landscape…….
“Turkey Flew to Mount Warning…’….Mrs Millie Boyd
Ok…so what’s the Metaphor of Feathered Serpents?
“….The birds are the Feathered Serpents, the descendants of the Goanna beings; and we are the descendants of the Bird Tribes who also come from this Bootheram… The Birds gave us our lore, land and language…. We are the Bird Tribes….”…..….Marlene Boyd – Ngarakbal Githabal – grand-daughter of Charlotte Williams…
When the Bootheram was being recorded western science hadn’t discovered that birds evolved out of dinosaurs….this has only come to light in the last decade….But the Ngarakbal Githabal descendants knew….they have always know…they ARE the Bird Tribe…..
Here is one of their Bootheram Lore’s from the Lamington Plateau of the Macpherson Ranges, which the Ngarakbal Githabal call “Dhungura-ngarian”…it was broadcast on radio in 1968 and published the same year….the ‘custodian’ relating this Bootheram was Mr James Morgan – who was another 1967 civil rights campaign “Hero of the people”….Like all the Bootheram, it sounds like a nice little story about animals…but it has profound layers….There are djurebil sites all around the ranges that were created by the ancestral Carpet -snake Clans to mark this important Bootheram…for this is the story of the first Corroboree ring….the very first one…it is a sacred story, and it must NEVER be changed
……..”In the time which is Bootharrum or the dreamtime there lived a pelican who played on a plateau.
The name of the plateau was Dhungura-ngarian, which means “where the Pelican Played”. The corroboree ring of the pelican was on the plateau of Dhungura-ngarian……”……
…”In the Bootharrum all the birds were the same colour but one day they decided that it would be much better if they were not all the same, so they painted themselves in different colours. From that time they have kept the colours they painted themselves on the plateau of Dhugura-ngarian…”..
“…The Crow painted himself black….The paint that he used was made from burnt bark of the Bloodwood tree”….
….”The parrots adorned themselves with bright paints of many colours. And all the birds chose the colours they liked best. Then the birds gathered together for a corroboree on the plateau of Dhungura-ngarian….”….
….”One day, Old Man Pelican, who was very fat, was walking away from the corroboree ring when he heard someone laughing.
“He turned around to see who was laughing and saw that it was the crow…”…
“…The crow was laughing at him, laughing at the way he walked because he was so fat….”…
….”Because the crow had laughed at him Old Man Pelican picked up a piece of the dullong and threw it at the Crow…..”…..
….”The piece of clay hit the Crow in the eye and to this day the white in the eye of the crow can be seen where Old Man Pelican hit him……”
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The Ngarakbal Githabal are the ancestral aboriginal people of the most easterly land on the Australian continent….a landscape protected by their ancestral spirits…one such spirit is ‘Ineroogun’ – the Black Dog of Fingal Heads….
The ‘accepted history’ books tell us that the Tweed / Gold Coast environs were established by the colonialists in the mid 1840’s…. this is a sanitised pro-crown ‘His’-storical view…..
The first Cedar getters [wood cutters] were claimed to have arrived by boat in 1844…commencing the indiscriminate ‘clear fell’ denuding of the Gondwana Super Forest from the Brunswick River, just North of Byron Bay and throughout the Tweed Caldera…However the oral traditions of the Ngarakbal Githabal indigenous Aboriginal people tell of this lands invasion beginning well before the 1830’s…The first white skinned invaders they say also arrived by sail boat…. but contrary to the contemporary history presented by government, the traditional Aboriginal people – the Ngarakbal Githabal- tell of a prior arrival of the Spanish in the 1500’s coming to Byron Bay and Fingal Heads…All pre-crown arrival has been eradicated from the authorised historical records… a prior arrival in Australia would nullify the Crowns claim of Terra Nullus as unoccupied lands….and this is not a popular political option…
Anyway, over one hundred years after the Portuguese-Spanish arrived, the first Dutchman to get to Australia was Willem Janszoon aka Jansz in 1606…… Not much is known about his early years, other than he was born in 1570, but what we do know is that he served the Dutch East India Company (VOC), which was a chartered company established in 1602 to carry out colonial activities in Asia……. In 1603, he became captain of the Duyfken, which means ‘Little Dove’, and it was aboard this ship that he first sighted Australia while searching for outlets of trade near New Guinea…… Once he crossed the Arafura Sea, he travelled west and landed on the western coast of Cape York just near Weipa…possibly, following charts that had been captured from the Spanish
Jansz started to chart the area, thinking that the land was still New Guinea, but after finding nothing but swampy land and violent encounters with Aborigines, he decided to throw in the towel and return to Indonesia…..He called ‘his’ new found land ‘Nieu Zeland’, but the name didn’t stick and was used by Abel Tasman about 40 years later for New Zealand…which is located off the eastern coast of Australia.mmmmm……..Now, Aboriginal Elders are insistent that two Spanish landings took place in the ancestral coastal lands of the Ngarakbal Githabal people, on the east coast of Australia…One at Byron Bay and another at Fingal Heads…..Both are purported to be Spanish Shipwrecks which occurred at Suffolk Park south of Byron Bay, and on Cook Island, situated just off Fingal Headland
Fingal Headland is a beautiful place…its known as “Mynjung Booning”……… “Mynjung”, which is the Ngarakbal Githabal word for ‘place of’; and “Booning”, which means Echidna …Place of the Echidna…… Fingal’s precise location is Latitude -28.199042, Longitude 153.571315
Separating the Tweed River from the Pacific Ocean, Fingal is a narrow peninsula several kilometres long. It ends at the mouth of the Tweed river and on the opposite bank lies Queensland. . The peninsula north of Fingal village is known as Letitia Spit, a sand spit that has been slowly accreting due mainly to the construction of the river’s southern training wall – from rock quarried from Fingal
Aboriginal associations stretch well back into the dreamtime with anthropologists claiming that the area supported one of the densest nomadic populations to occur anywhere in the world. Skeletal remains of people estimated to have been around seven feet tall have been found on the Peninsula….
In contemporary times Fingal has been referenced as “Pooning”…most notably in the crowns geospatial lands records for LAW, Land and Language are linked…..and the ancestral people understand that for its the same in traditional Lore – Lore, Land and Language are linked – but, the crown chooses to only recognise the name ”P[b]ooning” for Fingal….[the ‘P’ and ‘B’ sounds blurr together when enunciated…]…..
”P[b]ooning” is the Ngarakbal Githabal name for the Echidna, or Australian porcupine…and the word P[b]ooning is attributed to Fingal Headland because of the rock formations that occur on the headland…. Spectacular basalt columns that resemble the spines of an echidna, and, the ancestral Ngarakbal Githabal people believe that the spirit of the echidna inhabits these headlands…Burleigh Heads located to the north also has similar formations and is also traditionally referred to as being a “Mynjung” [Place of] “P[b]ooning” to the Ngarakbal Githabal…and several other sites that this rock formation occurs in are too.
Anyway……There used to be a large cave at Fingal, but it was blown up to form the break-walls of the Tweed River ….. For the Ngarakbal Githabal the cave site is the ‘dreaming home’ of a protective [supernatural] hairy man said to abide in that cave on Fingal Head and also a giant black dog whose story is linked to the creation of the McPherson Range…but the crown chooses NOT to recognise these ancestral Lores or that the Ngarakbal Githabal totemic ancestral name for Fingal is ‘Inneroogun’ – the Black Dog…..said to now roam the area, homeless….since the Cave was destroyed
The columnar basalt lava flow at Fingal Headland extends underwater to Cook Island (named after Lieutenant James Cook who explored the east coast of Australia in 1770)…… The lava is thought to have come from the prehistoric Tweed Volcano and is known as “Lismore Basalt”; predominantly tholeiitic with occasional alkaline types…….. This unit is stratigraphically equivalent to the Beechmount Basalt in Queensland – west of the Lamington Plateau….which is also refered to by the Ngarakbal Githabal as being a “Mynjung” [Place of] “P[b]ooning”……
Now,…I need to include all this historical and geological stuff in order to explain how the Ngarakbal Githabal Bootheram Lore, Land and Language are linked, to geospatial lands records….and thus, land tenure.
The jointing, clearly evident at Fingal Head is caused by contraction: as lava cools from the outside toward the centre, shrinkage cracks develop, usually forming hexagonal patterns (the shape of the columns is attributed to tensional stress). These columns are vertical because the lava cools from top to bottom when the flow of lava is horizontal
Just before the turn of the century, the Department of Public Works blasted and quarried the massive basalt caves of Fingal Head….and in the process they desecrated the ‘djuribil’ [sacred site] of the Ngarakbal Githabal……. During the1950’s and 60’s sand miners cleared and destroyed not only most of the littoral rainforest which blanketed Letitia Spit but also numerous burial sites, including at least one of the former massacre sites.
All of this destruction occurred during the crown occupation process when the ancestral peoples were being systematically relocated to policed reserves…moving them further and further from their ancestral lands….and due to their legal status as being Flora and Fauna up until the success of the Civil Rights ratification in1967, the blood-line to country descendants of the ancestral people of Fingal have remained dispossessed….however, their Bootheram [Dreaming] Lore survived and was even used to save the Fingal area from massive development…which I’m getting too…
Fingal has historically been coveted as a beachside development site since early occupation but has always managed to remain protected…This protection was largely because of the Ngarakbal Githabal Aboriginal recording the totemic significance of the area and having their language embedded into the geospatial lands records by the crowns first Surveyor’s under order of the old Queen, Victoria.. …Lore Land and Language are linked, so the surveyors used Ngarakbal Githabal language on the original maps…..but, since the advent of Native Title in Australia, the crown is none too happy that the ancestral dialects of the ancestral people are on the geospatial records [the maps]…seemingly because the language attribution [of Ngarakbal Githabal] is the evidentiary material required to claim Native Title ….so, it’s much simpler for them to reclassify it to Bundjalung…change the language classification changes the tenure….it’s an old formula applied globally….
Anyway…back to Fingal…..Throughout the seventies the residential community of Fingal continued to make land claims over Letitia Spit despite the fact that they had no legislative basis on which to rely….. None of these claims were successful [ the residential community not being of the ancestral bloodline of Ngarakbal Githabal country]…Then, after the introduction of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act in 1983, the residential community linked together with other local groups to form the Tweed Byron Local Aboriginal Land Council and immediately lodged new claims over the Spit as well as other pieces of Crown land at Fingal……as a government entity the Aboriginal Lands Council were able to circumvent the non-bloodline prerequisite – write new laws that enabled development …So, In 1986, the Aboriginal lands Council and the Department of Lands negotiated ‘a deal’ in respect of the Spit……The residential community agreed to withdraw all but a small portion of their original claim in return for the Department instituting a Plan of Management over the remainder, aimed at ensuring the land’s protection for future public use….To their credit, the Local Aboriginal Land Council went to some expense in preparing its submission on the Plan of Management…… However, once the claim was withdrawn the Department refused to proceed, and instead commenced researching potential development options…..Of note is that over the subsequent decades several fresh land claims have been made, and like the initial claims, none of which have included the Ngarakbal Githabal…and; subsequently, none of the claims were successful…..since then, the geospatial records linguistic attributions have seemingly been stealthily and steadily changed to Bundjalung….
Developers, Ocean Blue Club Resorts Pty. Ltd., posed the first big threat to Fingal They negotiated ‘a deal’ with ‘the department’….planned to build an international hotel on an important dreaming site and remnant littoral rainforest, a luxury marina on a protected wetland area, and a 400 townhouse /condominium complex in place of the existing village. Both the hotel and marina site were Crown Land and zoned as either public open space or for environmental protection….. At the same time, the Public Works Department commenced a feasibility study into the possibility of cutting a new entrance to the Tweed River through Letitia Spit to make a “Super Harbour”…. If approved, the Department intended to pay for the construction work by selling the remainder of the Spit to private developers…… One firm, Adco Constructions Pty Ltd expressed interest in acquiring the land and put forward proposals for around one billion dollars’ worth of tourist and residential developments….. Such intensive development was considered necessary to absorb the sixty million dollar cost of river works.
In order to prevent development of their ancestral djurebil [sacred site] the Aboriginal Lands Council contacted the Ngarakbal Githabal knowledge holders for help…they needed the ancestral Bootheram Lore to save Fingal…..
Now;….The first pro-aboriginal recordings of the Aboriginal significance of the area were made in 1950’s by Mildred Norledge from Kyogle – endorsed by Professor Elkin…She recorded the Ngarakbal Githabal Bootheram from Elders such as Mr James Morgan; Dyraaba Tribe – west of Lamington Plateau…and Mr. Joe Coolhum; Mebbini Tribe – Tweed Heads…These two gentlemen had spoken about their ancestral custodial Lore as their intrinsic contribution to the Civil Rights Campaigns to free their people from the crowns ‘non-human’ status…..They are two more of the Ngarakbal Githabal ancestor Heroes who showed the crown, through their Bootheram, that they did indeed have their own cultural ‘religion, and did not deserve to be legally classified as Flora and Fauna…
The next wave of recordings commenced in the late 1970’s by Anthropologist Howard Creamer for the National Parks and Wildlife Service Aboriginal Site Survey Team…Howard was instructed to identify ancestral knowledge holders within the community…one of the Cultural Elders whom he interviewed was Mrs Milli Boyd of Woodenbong, who was the daughter of Mrs Charlotte Williams [nee Brown] as part of the governments Aboriginal Site Survey Team of National Parks and Wildlife Services…….This information was then used to obtain further interviews of Mrs Milli Boyd [nee Williams]….principally Dr. Margaret Gummow [building upon the work of Anthropologist, Howard Creamer and Linguist, Margaret Sharpe]….This cultural evidence was then used by the Tweed Byron Aboriginal Lands Council to launch legal action, and a subsequent corruption investigation, in regards development at Fingal Heads…
And these are the cases in which the Ngarakbal Githabal ancestral cultural information was used….Tweed Byron Local Aboriginal Land Council v The Minister Administering the Crown Lands (Consolidation) Act and the Western Lands Act & Ors  NSWLEC 67 (19 June 1990)…and TWEED BYRON LOCAL ABORIGINAL LAND COUNCIL v. THE MINISTER ADMINISTERING THE CROWN LANDS ACT  NSWLEC 220 (14 December 1995)…… “By Notice of Motion filed in Court on 23 October 1995, the Tweed Shire Council seeks to be joined in pending Class 3 proceedings involving a number of land claims made by the Applicant pursuant to the Aboriginal Lands Rights Act 1983 (the Act) at various times between 4 January 1988 and 27 March 1992, in respect of various parcels of land having an aggregated area of some 300 hectares situate on the coast line at Fingal in the Shire of Tweed near the New South Wales-Queensland border”…..
……“The Independent Commission against Corruption [ICAC] has yet to release its report and has so far made no findings, but the evidence presented to it has graced the front pages of the metropolitan newspapers for months. Evidence before ICAC revealed that Ocean Blue had paid large secret donations to both the Labor and National parties at times when, as the respective Governments of the day, they were considering Ocean Blue’s application for Crown land at Fingal. The Administrator of the Tweed Byron Local Aboriginal Land Council alleged that an officer of Ocean Blue had attempted to bribe him into furthering the company’s interests. Lawyers from the Department of Lands claimed that they were misled in leasing the quarry site to the wrong company and both Wal Murray and Ian Causley declared that, had they known what they do now about Ocean Blue, they would have refused to deal with them. Whether or not the Ministers were in fact aware of the donation is an issue on which the ICAC has still to make a finding”….Andrew Chalk
And it was the Ngarakbal Githabal ancestral cultural information which won the case…..and Lore was recorded in LAW….
…..“To my knowledge, there are four recordings of this [Mt Warning] song in existence, all performed by Boyd. The first was recorded by Howard Creamer of the NPWS as part of a project concerning aboriginal site protection. I recorded the second performance in 1985 in relation to my PhD research on Bundjalung and Gidabal songs [Gummow 1992]. The Linguist Margaret Sharpe recorded the third performance in 1989 in connection with a project funded by Aboriginal Legal Aid concerning the environmental impact of land and land rights at Fingal Head. The Fourth was recorded on video in the early 1980’s by Lorraine Mafi Williams. In an attempt to preserve traditional material, Mafi-Williams produced the film Eelarmarni [sic] in 1988, which featured Boyd explaining some of the mythology and singing several songs from the area.”…[Gummow;1985;7A Barwick-Marett-Tuntill 1995:121-131; Tweed Byron Aboriginal lands Council v Tweed Shire Council v the Minister for Crown Lands; and the ICAC INVESTIGATION into North Coast Land Development ]
The following information is based on recordings made in 1989 by Sharpe, speaking with Mrs Milli Boyd [nee Williams] who had learnt the Ngarakbal Githabal Bootheram Lore’s from her Elders… It comprises part of the mythology of the area [Sharpe 1989].
Mount Warning is the shape of a Turkey’s head, and according to Aboriginal people in the area a spirit being called Wollumbin, a wild turkey, lives inside the mountain. Wollumbin owned two dogs, one male and one female, which are associated with Mount Warning and Fingal Head…..One day the dogs were chasing a kangaroo along a ridge. They chased him from Fingal Heads over to Boonah near Beaudesert in Queensland. They eventually came to water and the dogs drank than lay on the bank. Two young girls from a nearby camp came to get water, saw the dogs, and went back to the camp to bring more people down to the river. After spearing the two dogs, they put them on a pole and began cooking them over a fire…….Wollumbin had followed the dogs and knew they had been killed. He flew down onto the flat where the dogs were being cooked and caused a wild storm. The people left to find shelter from the storm. Wollumbin took the dogs off the fire, wrapped them in bark and carried them back to Mount Warning. As he flew across the country, parts of the dogs’ bodies dropped onto the ground below and formed part of the landscape. He went back to Mt Warning and placed the dog’s bones in the water. One dog was placed in the Tweed River near Mt Warning and the other was placed at Fingal Head. It is believed that their spirits protect the Ngarakbal Githabal people in this area from strangers…..Today, at the Tweed River, Ngarakbal Githabal people can hear the dogs bones creaking….
The two Ngarakbal Githabal gentlemen, Mr. Joe Coolham; Mebbini Tribe – Tweed Heads and Mr James Moran; Dyraaba Tribe, told their ancestral Bootheram Lore respectively……. of the Two Dogs, Burrajahee and Ineroogun…. and DHUNGURA NGARIAN which in Ngarakbal Githabal is the name of the Pelican Dancing Ground…. Bootheram Lore must never been changed…it cannot be transferred or claimed by another….for it tells the Lore of their ancestral estate, and within it, embodies traditional morals and values for the people to follow…
The first Lore is “DON’T BE GREEDY”…the story of Burrajahee and Ineroogun teaches that Lore….. To claim or steal a Lore opens it up to corruption and contamination…and, unsurprisingly, that is exactly what unfolded………..
……”As always there is a good deal more to the story. The best parts – the intrigue and maneuvering, the anguish and joy, and above all the people – are most wisely kept for late nights around a fire on Dreamtime Beach, where, well out of earshot of the defamation lawyers, a group will be sitting waiting for the snapper to bite. They will be remembering and they will be laughing, because in 1989 they all did something which they didn’t really think was possible….”…..Andrew Chalk – in regards to the Aboriginal Lands Council court case….
To this date the Ngarakbal Githabal descendants have never been recognized or included in the governance of their ancestral estate by the crown systems….Their culture continues to be appropriated and twisted by those who do not understand the Bootheram and its teachings…the ignorance of the current system thrives on greed, but, the ancestral ‘djurebil’ protection of the Black Dog is indelible, and it’s been written into LAW….
If you would like to read Joe Calhum’s Bootheram of the Two Dogs – you will find it on my website at this address….and if you would like to receive more of these blogs then subscribe to my newsletter [its free] and you will automatically receive them in your email…..Hoo Roo
Time itself is like a spiral…..For the Ngarakbal Githabal people of eastern Australia, Spirals have an important meaning in their Dreaming Lore , which they call Bootheram – It comes from their ancestors; the Carpet-snake clans of the Feathered Serpent Traditions….and, their ancestral land itself is a gigantic geological spiral formation…an erosion caldera…
The Tweed caldera’s southerly point commences at Byron Bay and then arcs in a sweeping series of mountain ranges to its northern point, Currumbin, on the Gold Coast ….The Caldera has a series of inner rings, which spiral in to the central peak of Wollumbin…. The Ngarakbal Githabal are the ancestral tribal peoples of this area….They have many Bootheram’s [Dreaming Lore] of their beautiful landscape and its history….In Aboriginal culture, Lore, Land and Language are connected….and the Bootheram must NEVER be changed…that is the LAW – Lore..
Bogangar, or Cabarita Beach is a coastal village of the Tweed Coast….The most prominent geological feature at Bogangar is its rugged Headland which has the geographical name of Norries Headland…Bogangar is the halfway point between Currumbin [on the southern Gold Coast] and Byron Bay, the most easterly point of the Australian mainland…..
The Ngarakbal Githabal ancestral name for Byron Bay is “Coorumbah”, and the northern point is Currumbin……Coorumbah – Currumbin… [Positive – Negative] …the village of Bogangar is halfway between them….
Bogangar has the largest coastal Lake in the Northern Rivers area….Cudgen Lake….fed from sea at Cudgen Headland, Kingscliff, 7km to the north along the beach….and Cudgen is Ngarakbal for ‘red ochre’ which occurs on the coastal ridges at Duranbah behind Kingscliff village
Now, Bogangar was the name of a little “hairy man”….a ‘Nimbinje’…These ancestral beings are prominent throughout the Bootheram Lore – they are from the Carpet-snake clans – from the Feathered Serpent Traditions of ancient Australia…Alcheringa…..In the distant past the ancestral people were Hairy…Now, this is by no means unusual, because ice-ages affect evolutionary changes and being Hairy in an ice-age is a very good thing… and the name of the ancestral tribe [family] at Bogangar were the “Bogangaree”……for Lore, Language and Land are linked, always…..
The Ngarakbal Githabal did not come to this land, they were always here…the Carpet-snake Clans were made here by the ancestors…In Lore the landscape and the sky are the storyboard or living library of all events….written into the landscape in ancestral language, in plain view for all to see, for all time….
As custodians of the land the Ngarakbal Githabal Bootheram ‘sings’ the story of their [specific] ancestral estate….Traditional Lore and Custom is that no-one else can sing in their lands….that is ancestral Lore for every ancestral ‘country’ all over the Australian continent – and for a very good reason…….It ensures that the Lore [of each specific ancestral estate] remains intact, unpolluted, uncorrupted and unchanged….each ancestral estate holds their specific portion of the song of their own land in their own language…and these ‘songs’ hold the survival knowledge of specific places throughout time…
In traditional Lore and Culture, someone from some other area can-not come into the ancestral estate of another tribal territory and ‘sing’ their story…Culturally if this happens the perpetrator is referred to as being “out of country”….It is perceived as very disrespectful – breaking Lore….for to sing “out of country” in a language foreign to the ancestral ‘djurebil’ [sacred site] potentially corrupts or contaminates the harmonic Lore of the Land…and this potential corruption threatens the survival of all.
“…At Norries Headland, on the sand dunes that connect the rocky headland to the mainland is an exposed midden consisting largely of “cart-rut” shells [Dicathais orbita]. A few kilometres north of Norries Head there was a stone arrangement on sandy ground in the rainforest, the stones being arranged in a spiral pattern about three metres in diameter. This report of the stone arrangement came from a man who worked on a sand-mining dredge, who collected the stones before the dredge moved over the site. Inland from Kingscliff is a ridge of red soil on which the village of Cudgen stands, the word Cudgen meaning red. According to report in 1900 “there is a hill at this place where the blacks get the red raddle or pigment to paint themselves when going fighting” …Steele – Aboriginal Pathways- page 48
Another, or perhaps the same, spiral of stones was reported to also have been found at Tyagarah just north of Byron Bay…as the story goes, these too, were found by a sand miner in 1965 and taken back to his home in Kingscliff…He then gave them to the Tweed Historical Society who networked with the Brunswick Progress Association and the stones were finally placed at the Brunswick Valley Heritage Park in 1989.
The convener of the Brunswick Valley Heritage Park was visited by Elders who told him the story of the spiral stones…This small extract was published in the Echo Newspaper in 1990……“In the dreamtime the north coast was populated by an ancestral people who owned the land….The Yowies…legendary mountain people in the style of the Yeti or Bigfoot came down from the mountains and drove the people off their land and dispersed them far and wide…..A male and female member of the people gathered them together again and then drove out the Yowies, regained their land and the sacred red ochre at a sacred site…. The stones are the spirals of the two people”……
You see, this all comes spiralling back to the Ngarakbal Githabal ‘Eelamarni’ Marriage Lore – from the Carpet-snake clans of the Feathered Serpent Traditions of Australia….which pre-dates the Three Brothers Lore thousands and thousands of years….The Three Brothers is the Bootheram of migrations into Ngarakbal Githabal lands that occurred after the last glacial maximum, when the ice melted and the sea levels rose…about 12,000 years ago – The Three Brothers migrated to the east coast of Australia with their families….landing at Yamba on the Clarence River….Now, the Ngarakbal Githabal were already here….and they call the Three Brothers “Paigal”, which loosely translated means human …The “Paigal” were cannibals….and there was a war at Nimbin Rocks …., you’ll find information about that in my past posts….But, the ancestral Carpet-snake Clans, well, they go way back…way, way, way, back…..and, explaining that, well, that’s for another post
Anyway…. Here is another of the Ngarakbal Githabal Heroes…Mr Tom Close, relating the Eelamarni…from the ancestral Feathered Serpent Skin Lore.….Mr Close told this Bootheram in the 1950’s as part of the Civil Rights campaigns to recognise Aboriginal Peoples Human Rights…. Mr Tom Close was the half-brother of Charlotte Williams [nee Brown]…..’Beereen’ is the ancestral Ngarakbal name of Kingscliff, Cudgen Heads…
…”….In the Dreamtime there lived a young girl who was very beautiful. Her people were the Beereen tribe. At the time when this girl lived upon the earth there was a great war, for the Githerbul people were fighting against the Beereen people.
While the tribesmen were fighting the girl saw a handsome young Githerbul man who was a valiant warrior and tall in stature. She knew in her heart that she loved him, even though she had never seen him before. She longed that she might come to know him.
When the fighting between the Githerbul people and the Beereen people ended, a corroboree was held. When it was over the handsome young man returned to his uncle, for he lived with him in a mountain called Meeyanin.
The young girl of the Beereen tribe saw the footprints of the young man and knew by their appearance that he had gone from her sight.
Her heart bade her set forth to seek the man she loved
Wherever the young man’s footprints led, there she walked. She had with her some bark of the boorlum or ti-tree, and on this bark she rested at night. Wherever the young girl lay down a ti-tree grew and to this day these trees can still be seen…’…..Tom Close – Ngarakbal Githabal
Here is Charlotte Williams version of the same Lore…also recorded in the 1950’s
DAWNTIME…when all creation was created – there were also people of the Spirit World made. Now the name of the Good Spirit people is Wooyun. They are a kind of fairy people. You may behold these people for they look like ordinary mortals, but they are only seen for a little while…..
It happened that one day the fairy people were traveling down to Coogen Heads and with them was a lovely young fairy girl. Now this girl had been promised in marriage to a young man brave as he was handsome, for he was in charge of a Bora Ring – the sacred Ring – to where all young men must go for the initiation Ceremony so that they may be proclaimed men of their tribe. For a man to be placed in charge of a Bora Ring he must indeed be a good man, so all the people of the tribe many know that he is worthy to be placed in charge of the SACRED BORA Ring.
When the time had come that the young fairy woman had reached womanhood she thought of the man, the young man to whom she had been given in marriage when a child. The dawn had kissed many days and the stars had kissed many nights since she had seen him last. Then one day she saw him in at Coogen Heads – she knew he was the man to whom she was promised in marriage – for her heart told her so.
When the battle had been fought at Coogen Heads, the young man went to his home at Meeahan, which is the name by which Crown Mountain was known to the tribe of the young man. So the fairy woman set forth to seek her lover – she came to Meehaan, and the people of there told her “yes! the young man whom you seek and who will be your husband came home but is gone again”..So she set forth on her journey of seeking her husband, carrying with her the bark of the Ti-tree, she had brought with her from Coogen Heads….. Charlotte Williams [nee Brown] – Ngarakbal Githabal
And a contemporary rendition of the same Marriage Lore – prepared for the Department of Environment and Conservation in May 2006
…..Leo was a Balugan who was staying with his old uncle Miyarni. He would look after his uncle who was an old clever fella…….The Balugan said: “I’m going to have to leave you for a while. I am going over to the coast. I want to go down to the tribal battle”…the Uncle said “ don’t leave me on my own.” But Leo insisted he had to go.
The next morning the Balugan woke up early to leave. He told the uncle that there was plenty of gwiyam [possum] and honey and away he went. He went over towards the cost, camping on the way. The coast was where the fight was, it was lasting four days. There was a Guangun there where they were having the gunarra [fight]. A Guangun is a very attractive presentable woman with all the attributes of being beautiful. That Guangun saw the Balugan and she saw that he was handsome. She was feeling in her heart that she wanted to be with the Balugan……..She was a Ngarakwal woman and her name was Kumbarra…”…..
Today the site of the spiral stones “north of Norries Headland” is known as Casuarina Estate Kingscliff….The spiral stones ‘djurebil’ [sacred site] commemorated the end of the wars between the Ngarakbal and the Githabal….it celebrates LOVE and respect…..and its linked to the stars….but that’s another Bootheram
“The spiral is a spiritualized circle…In the spiral form, the circle, uncoiled, has ceased to be vicious; it has been set free”…Vladimir Nabokov…..
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As you drive out of the regional town of Murwillumbah – 30 km from Byron Bay on the most eastern point of Australia on route to Mt Warning/Wollumbin- you cross a bridge at the junction of two rivers…. To the uninitiated of the local Aboriginal Bootheram [Dreaming], this bridge is just a blip on the map with lovely scenic vistas….but to the ancestral peoples, the Ngarakbal Githabal, this is a site of great spiritual and historical significance.
Byangum is the meeting place of the incoming [Salt] & outgoing [Fresh] waters systems, and it is here at Byangum that the river splits into the South & Main arms of the Tweed Valley Caldera and encircles and protects the central sacred complex of Wollumbin…Water is sacred to the people and has significant meaning within their ‘Skin Lore’ kinship systems. Its sacredness permeates all….It comes from the ancient Lore of the Rainbow Serpent…The Ngarakbal Githabal are descendants of the ancestral Carpet-snake clans of the Feathered Serpent Traditions of Australia…
Byangum was the natural Tidal Limit before the construction of the Bray Park weir a few kilometers down river in the 1960’s….Crown surveyor, Alan Cunningham had sailed his surveying vessel up to Byangum, in 1828 to “chart the interior in order to find a suitable fresh water site for the crown to establish a settlement”…A settlement was established and mapped for future development, but later abandoned, and the town now known as Murwillumbah was relocated and established several miles downriver.
The Ngarakbal Githabal traditional name for the place Byangum is ‘Ngungumth’, but Byangum was the nearest the white man could get to pronouncing it…and for them, in accordance with tradition, lore and custom, this place is also the name of the tribal custodian of the djurebil [sacred site] that is located there ….and a custodian of a djurebil has important responsibilities to their site…they MUST protect it…Custodian Rights and Responsibilities are never self-professed. They are inherited thru the kinship ‘Skin’ totemic descent of the Lore, Language and Land that the djurebil is located in…This occurs throughout the continent…
As you drive across the bridge at Ngungumth [Byangum] above it is a Sphinx-like Mountain…This mountains traditional name was ‘Moolumbah’….and to the Ngarakbal and Githabal it is, traditionally, the face of a significant Buloogan or Warrior/Sage who faces to the East’, towards the rising sun…
Buloogan is a descriptive title. It is not the name of the Warrior Sage ….This Buloogan has several names – Burrigan or Durrigan or Durramulan are just some of ‘his’ names…. and there are other mountains named after him as he ‘walks’ through the landscape…and He has many Bootheram [Dreaming Lores] about his journeys… He teaches Lore and values to the people, and as he walks he sings, and he also carries a long vine[plant]…He is a powerful ‘Weeun’ [clever fella/spirit ancestor] his songs create and his vine makes the land….His story is an important facet of the Bootheram [Dreaming] which links to all the other ancestral Creation Spirits journeys…and in each respective country a custodian is responsible for ‘His’ djurebil in accordance with the Lore, Language and Land its located….each custodian holds the respective songs and ceremonies of the Buloogan’s journey…and together [each portion in each ‘country’ combine] to make the ‘songline’…
Buloogan travels all over the land…His name changes with every new ‘country’ he enters, with every language that fills the ancient continent of Australia…..In this portion of his many journeys He is traveling from the coast [Byron Bay-Brunswick] to Byangum, where he faces east towards the rising sky….This place is in Ngarakbal ‘country’, in the Wollumbin volcano, and then, He travels inland to the Githabal volcano…and then on- on his many journeys through the respective countries….all the while singing and teaching as he travels…He is a Culture Hero….a Sky Ancestor Hero, from the Dreamtime – Bootheram….from the Feathered Serpent Traditions
He has many mountains and planes…The land tells us his story..The land IS his story, and so too does the night sky….In the Ngarakbal portion of his journey one of his mountains was gazetted as Hatton’s Bluff by the crown – named for the Wollumbin Post Office Master, Mr. Hatton of Byangum Village in the Wollumbin Parish – the site the crown had originally selected as a suitable location to build the town of Murwillumbah, which was the nearest the white man could get to pronouncing the ancestral dialect name of Moolumbah….It’s a beautiful place in the foothills of Mount Warning/Wollumbin…. A significant location to the ancestral peoples Lore, as given to them by the Sky Ancestors….Junction of two rivers encircling the central djurebil… ‘Meeting place of the waters’…Salt and Fresh…It is also the site of a battle between Ngarakbal warriors and invading settlers…The ‘last stand’ of resistance against the guns to uphold the traditions of the ancestor, Buloogan’s ‘djurebil’ from decimation and theft by the colonial invaders.
Some Background History….
By the early 1860’s English Squatters occupied some 3,000 squares miles of the ancestral aboriginal estates from the Macpherson Ranges in the north to the Clarence River in the south…the title ‘Squatter’ is exactly as it implies – an illegal occupant [of owned property]…..They, the Squatters, took the lands by force…Guns verses Spears….Guns won, of course
Around 1862 the first selectors [prospective farmers] who were, according to the crown legally entitled to occupy and later buy freehold land whether it was being occupied by either squatters, ancestral peoples, or not, began to move into the district….so by 1862 the Ngarakbal Githabal lands were under a second wave of siege…the first had been from Moreton Bay Penal Colony days [commencing 1824] but that’s another chapter so I won’t digress…I’ll just say that was the most brutal time of the invasion…
Anyway…..Joshua Bray was a Squatter who arrived in the Ngarakbal ancestral estate in 1863. He had relocated from the Brungle Run, in Tumut, which are the ancestral lands of the Ngarigu people that had been taken by force as part of the invasion process of the crown. Tumut is approx. 1500km south of the Tweed …..
Joshua brought with him Native Police from the south….The standard formula of the invasion process was simple – set a black man against a black man – give him a uniform, a horse, arm him, pay him with tobacco and alcohol [the currency in those times] and give him right of access to women of the defeated…pillage and rape… an effective ‘tool’ of war against the ancestral people that has been used by the crown throughout its global career….
During the 1860’s large areas had been declared and gazetted as Forest Reserves and had been the domain of Timber getters harvesting the rare rainforest timbers for export back to England…I’m leaving out a whole chunk of information here about the penal colonies and the battles of the ancestral people to hold their lands…but, by 1887 much of the Tweed Richmond had been resumed and gazetted as the Tweed Richmond Gold Fields…now, a lot of people don’t realise that the Native Police force were also responsible for policing the gold fields throughout the east coast colonies – It goes back to the Eureka Stockade days in the Victorian Gold Fields….and as the crown wasn’t [isn’t] in the habit of keeping records, today the government still refuse to recognise any form of battle ever took place at all [which is a fallacy] ….According to the crowns accredited history books they were welcomed into the country and the ancestral people happily gave them all their lands and peaceful relocated to Reserves…mmmmm.
Anyway, Joshua Bray was the first Police Magistrate in Ngarakbal ‘country’ [arriving 1863] and commander of the Native Police force – He established the Kynnumboon Post Office [whilst a ‘squatter’] – He was a Justice of the Peace, the Coroner, the Gold Mining Warden, and, after his brother James left the district for another appointment, Joshua also became the Crown Land Agent….He had guns and crown instructions…basically it was, take the Ngarakbal lands and prepare a settlement for first settler selector arrivals and then sell the land to them for the crown…and presumably, destroy all records of battles, then sit back and take his place as a founding father of the Tweed confident that His-story would look after him….
Before invasion the lush landscape of the Ngarakbal Githabal supported several thousand people in the ancestral tribes….each tribe was a family clan…and it had been their home for thousands and thousands of years…
In 1882 the newly formed Aborigines Protection Board – facilitated by the police- conducted a census of Aboriginal people in NSW…….”On the Tweed River a population of one hundred and nine Aboriginal people is stated in the Aborigines Protection Board Report – these people are divided into two classifications with 97 Aboriginal, [in subsequent census identified as ‘full-bloods’], and 12 half-castes”. [Reibe 2001:52]
The 1885-86 records of Joshua Bray’s census team show 90 adults and 52 children for Tweed & Brunswick & Grafton areas….
By 1886 The NSW Aborigines Protection Board Report shows NONE in Tweed, with only two adults at Ballina and two adults in Lismore, and a state decrease of 146 males, 63 females and 260 children…total of 469 full blood deaths in one year…..
Many epic battles had been fought between the crown invaders and the Ngarakbal between first contact and 1890 – and these are in the oral traditions still …That the crown stealthily didn’t keep the records of the slaughters is classic tactical His-story sanitisation, and by 1887 most of the surviving Ngarakbal people had been placed into the Brunswick Reserve at Byron bay – Administrated by the police under the dubious title of the Aborigines Protection Board… From this reserve the survivors were systematically relocated out of their ancestral area into Barambah settlement in SE Qld…A few remnant survivors had found survival amongst the first White settlers, and some had gainful employment as postal workers, which afforded a small level of liberty to remain in their ancestral land, and the ability to move between settlements established by the invaders…and one of those postal workers was a Ngarakbal man named Johnny Brown…
In 1866 James Bray left Tumut … He and his family travel to the Tweed. For his ‘special services’, as a ‘Special Constable’, James received the appointment of Crown Land Agent at the Tweed and soon afterwards was also appointed Clerk of Petty Sessions. Whilst he was building a house at Dunbible Creek [near Stokers Siding- onroute to Byangum] his family stayed at Coolamon with the Gray’s [now Murwillumbah – the relocated settlement] …Whilst still at Dunbible he selected 300 acres of land across the creek and facing the Tweed River in the name of his daughter Lucy….. As Government Land Agent he could not select in his own name…..This land was what is now Byangum, or Ngungumth, a djurebil, and traditionally the place of a significant Buloogan or Warrior/Sage who faces to the East’, towards the rising sun…who sings the landscape and carries a vine….and it was also the crowns first choice of a settlement, beneath ‘Moolumbah’…
Well…imagine how outraged any ancestral person would be about such a significant site being stolen…imagine if your property was stolen…would you fight?…well the Ngarakbal fought…as depleted as they were, with all their kin incarcerated in Reserves…the remaining small remnant in the ancestral lands rallied a resistance to hold their Lore djurebil site of the Baloogun…and as fate would have it, despite crown orders to destroy all records of battles, James Bray did have at least one recorded instance of this altercation with the ancestral Aboriginal people…
It was Sunday September 16th 1866, just a few months after Joshua Bray’s arrival in Ngarakbal lands .
“Blacks away all day until late in the evening when they returned I got Bony & Jimmy to accompany me to Coolamon – to put my horses over by high tide on Monday morning. When I got over H.Clarke said my place was not safe as the Tyalgum Blacks had left their Gins up there and that meant mischief. So I had a cup of tea at half past seven p.m. and got ready to return at once accompanied by Clarke. When we got to the camp the Blacks immediately ran away & swam the river….We then made all haste to Skinners and made our way through the brush on the middle arm. We succeeded ‘Thank God’ in reaching the boat before the Blacks – made our way home to Dunbible and surprised the camp – making Wollumbin Johnny prisoner -& to our surprise discovered next morning that they had planted in the scrub in close proximity to the main camp – the following grim warriors – Jacky Bundash- Big Jimmy – Jimmy Kelly or Scrammy Kelly – Wigam – Monday – Big Billy – Dickin – Charley- [and two or three names unknown] – the names of my own Blacks who were implicated in the plot were Jacky Merrylegs – Bony- Pointer- Jimmy Crow- Jimmy or Talgemma- Bob & Wallumbin Johnny.
I kept Wallumbin chained up until Monday morning and then threatened to shoot him – he then revealed a portion of the plot, that they intended murder but it was a black to be the victim – so I let him go- tho’ I was convinced that he was telling a lie – but I had no proof against him” ….James Bray
By 1879 there were six appointed Magistrates to operate the Police Districts of Cudgen; Murwillumbah; Tweed and Brunswick…….They were Joshua Bray, Thomas Robinson, W.Hindmarsh, George Nixon, Frank Nixon and James Pringle…….At this time the Tweed District included Byron shire
James Rowland, pictured, left, with ‘his’ Aborigines was a half-brother of Joshua & James Bray. Rowland also selected his lands at Byangum on the pathway from Brunswick . He was enumerator of the Aboriginal Census for Brunswick in 1871 – The number James Rowland registered was 70 [Ngarakbal Githabal descendants] …James Bray in a letter to the Register General wrote
..”He has to take a guide [black] and go across the mountains, a great part of the distance being dense scrub through which they must cut their road…”… he used a guide to get to Byangum, and hence the name Rowlands Creek, at UKI today, near Mt Warning on route to Byangum – The guide following an ancient pathway of the Sky Ancestor Baloogan – Burrigan, Durramulan or Durrigan, the Warrior Sage who carried a vine and taught the people Lore…
Because of his resistance Johnny Brown was relocated to the Brunswick Reserve. His descendants had already been incarcerated there. Because of his crimes against the crown, they sent him north to Purga Reserve, and then on to Barambah Labour Camp in south east qld…from there he was sent east to the policed labour camps on the Sunshine Coast – 500kms from his family and his ancestral homelands…Johnny Brown – along with his enslaved kinsmen, had rallied to uphold Baloogan’s durebil against all odds…he gave this song to his surviving family….It was related by his Granddaughter, Charlotte, in the 1950,s as her part in the Civil Rights campaigns to recognize Aboriginal people as legally being human, and not Flora and Fauna as the crown had so cruelly classified aboriginal people in those times….He is singing for the loss of his djurebil…His Culture, His Land, His life
The Song of the Vine….related by Charlotte Williams [nee Brown] Gullival tribe – Ngarakbal Githabal Moiety…
“There was a vine whose spirit was a man.
These forest vines’, they were the Spirit peoples vines.
They were not made by men.
And someone cut this vine, and there this man is struggling to be alive.
This is my own grandfathers song.
“I am here”, the songs say’s…”I am this vine”…
“My life is going away from me, from this ground”
“This place, this dust. My ears are ringing”
“Gaungun the spirit woman is making my ears no good”
“My ears are ringing. I’ll never see this world no more”
And one man came along and saw this vine struggling to be alive. He covered it with dust. When I think of my old people, how they would sit down and sing their songs to me, I could cry…”.
Rest assured…despite the best efforts of authoritarian systems Johnny’s descendants survived and so did their Bootheram Lore, just as it has done throughout time….
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Aboriginal Australians have produced some of the finest sportsmen and women in the world…what many don’t know is the part that sport played in keeping the Lore alive during the colonisation process… Forced onto Reserves by the Native Police force, the Ngarakbal warriors kept morale and Lore breathing at Brunswick Heads Reserve – Byron Bay- until it was wiped off the maps by the crown.
The Ngarakbal / Githabal people of what is now the Byron Bay Tweed Kyogle area know a lot about the history of the colonisation of Australia…they were there….their grandparents and great grandparents were forced into created Reserves; or exterminated…Today many of the Reserves have been removed from the maps….but they haven’t been removed from the memory of the people….and the traditional art of Wrestling played an important role…
On the East Coast of Australia– New South Wales as it was all known then – the enforced Aboriginal relocation process was implemented over a period of 50 years before the crown moved to take over the west of the continent from the Dutch…..
Commencing in 1848, when the Native Police force was formed, and until the late 1800’s the focus of these forces was primarily to ‘round-up’ the aboriginal population and to assist the crown in surveying and gazetting the East Coast into States [Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania] in preparation for colonisation by free settlers….at this time the western three quarters of the continent was still under Dutch rule
English had only claimed the eastern coast of Australia, so naturally, the East Coast tribes were the most brutally hit by the invasion forces….The crown had commenced carving the country up in the 1860’s after removing the ancestral people…removal often meant extermination of entire tribes…they then began selling land to the first ‘free’ settlers at specially organised land auctions using the Crown Land Act along with each newly created state’s own legislation for the same – in New South Wales [NSW] this was the Robertson Lands Act – This paved the way for the East Coast ‘land grab’ to begin….
The crowns treasure vaults were filling from the sales of the ancestral estates, and the surviving original people were forced onto specifically created Reserves, Stations or Missions….Forty years later, the crown now had enough money to fund a war against Holland to take the western three quarters of the continent by force.. The Borer War was fought in Africa against the Dutch; and England won…the prize was the west Australian lands…… So now all of Australia could be remapped and renamed – no longer NEW HOLAND, it was becoming the commonwealth country of Australia, wholly held by the British….and “by 1901 as white colonialists were undergoing their rite of passage into nationhood, the original Australians were also participating in a rite of passage- but of quiet a different kind”…G. Souter .
This historical photo of Australian Troops training in 1899 in readiness to assist the British attempt to exert control over the Dutch in South Africa in the conflict known as the Boer War – the political process of claiming and retaining control of Continents is dependant on maps & Geographic names and APARTHEID processes So, by 1901 the Aboriginal people lost all recognition for, and claim to, their own individual countries and their respective ancestral estates – by force of the crown….They were no longer known as the Ngarakbal, or the Githabal on the East Coast, or the Pinjantjatjar in the centre or the Ngarrindjerri in the south, or any of the other distinctive tribal countries that existed before invasion [ of which there were over 350 individual countries] ….Now, as part of the crowns invasion, claiming and renaming [the maps] process everyone was classified as just being Aboriginal, right across the continent – no distinctions…By 1901 the crown had successfully locked them all into Reserves, Missions and Stations and classified them as Flora and Fauna…’Operation Invasion’, complete….
On the East Coast the Native Police Forces were the initial administration body for the reserves…during this period [the first wave] the ancestral people had no option but to retreat and relocate…..if they didn’t they were terminated…..many battles were fought and many lives were lost endeavouring to hold their lands against the guns – they’d never seen guns…..yet to this day, the crown refuses to recognise that any wars were fought. Which can only be concieved a complete self-serving myopic view, as these following extracts from the governments Byron Bay Native Title reports reveal…. …”The first wave of the relocation process by the Native Police occurred in the early 1850’s ….. Documentary and oral accounts suggest the actions of the native mounted Police had a direct impact on the Aboriginal population numbers occupying the region. The Native Police were active in the area throughout the 1850’s and engaged in punitive raids”….[ Waters 1999;14 McKeown NSW-NTS 2005: 19]…………… “Oral accounts suggest further massacres occurred in the [native title] claim area at Suffolk Park, and further north at Hastings Point [Cudgera] and at Mount Warning as the Troopers returned north”…. [McKeown NSW-NTS 2005: 19 ; Reibe 1999: 97-99]
These reports are [as expected] very pro-crown; despite stacks of evidence within the Ngarakbal/Githabal Oral Lore about the epic battles with the invaders…but it challenges the crowns tenure; so it’s been quashed…..Anyway….., over time there was a second wave of administration where the Aboriginal Reserve’s management was transferred from the Native Police and taken up by church groups…..The respective faiths [churches] obtained leases to land and created the ‘Missions’ …..and some of these were so large that they were known as ‘Stations’ and they held stock belonging to the crown….It is of note too that most of the church leases were for 27 years, after which time they kicked the Aboriginal people out and sold the land for profit….
Anyway….The first wave of the invasion administration [the Native Police] had fought the wars against the ancestral people – reducing the population numbers……Then the second wave [the churches] enforced a new religion onto the people and it was the function of this second wave to break the ancestral knowledge apart and reprogram them….Children were taken and placed into separate Mission institutions to learn to speak English and worship a foreign god in the expectation that they would forget about their ancestral lore and language….Adult survivors were sent to Station Reserves and hired out by the police administration [ ironically re-titled the Aboriginal Protections Board ]…they were used as labourers for the first settlers, denied access to their children and punished if they spoke their language or followed their lore….They were allotted numbers [for ease of administration beside their ‘new’ English names] and they could not leave the reserves unless they had authorised administrative permission from the central administration office which was then the Armidale Police
This administration process served to sever entire families who were divided and sent to different Reserves, Mission’s or Stations – to break down the ancestral culture……if anyone who was [or had been] an antagonist survived, they would be relocated multiple times…sending them further and further away from their ancestral estate area and their family – often sending them interstate 1000’s of km because the legislations were harsher in the remoter unestablished areas of the colony away from prying eyes….it was brutal heartless administrative policy…..genocide by paper – the power of the pen…
Surviving men –warriors- were targeted the most severely throughout…..The lush landscape of the East Coast was deemed ‘ perfect for colonisation’…. for the Ngarakbal/Githabal men this meant many were sent cross border into Qld to a police labour camp known as Barambah….”a dumping ground for the lame, the halt and the incorrigible….the black criminals of the state”…W J Bleakley 1913 …”since the establishment of this settlement in 1904, it has been the dumping ground for natives of all classes from all parts of the state but principally those whose removal from undesirable environments on the fringe of civilisation became necessary for disciplinary reasons…”….W J Beakley 1934….
From Barambah, any antagonists or ‘troublemakers’ who still opposed the invading process would be punished and relocated yet again….often up into Far North Queensland or across to Military Reserves on the Sunshine Coast….some survivors got moved up to eight times….further and further away from their ‘country’ and their kin… Today that same reserve, Barambah, is called Cherbourg and it’s still the largest Reserve in Queensland, but it’s got a lot of beautiful people there with a lot of culture and lore and, surprisingly, compassion ….all survivors of a very dark history and despite this they hold no grudge against the white settlers….displaying a level of forgiveness that many [white] church going citizens could only hope to aspire too.
Back in Ngarakbal/Githabal country [now gazetted as the Tweed, Byron and Kyogle shires] the small reserves began to be ‘reclaimed’ and reallocated as crown land, or sold off by the churches….they just shut them down and moved everyone off into the more centralised Missions and Stations in less desirable country …..systematically heaping more and more people from all different places into ‘controllable’ space, and further and further away from their ancestral areas and their kin…..Overcrowding, deprivation and lack of sanitation caused illness, depression and death….population numbers dwindled and no-one seemed to care….the invasion process orders were on schedule and the outcome was expected to be total genocide via assimilation, within three generations……
What many people today don’t realise is that there were lots and lots of small Reserves everywhere on the East Coast….Nor do they realise that they have been systematically removed from the maps – Sanitising the history and the evidence – Nor do they know about the important role that the sport of Wrestling played at the Reserves…but the Ngarakbal/Githabal do….their role as the keeps of the first portion of the transcontinental songline requires that they keep the historical Bootheram [Lore]…and they do………
Now, the Reserve at Tweed Heads is well known and documented…however it was also reclaimed and is now a shopping centre, hospital complex and a housing estate – it even makes a mention in the box office hit “Muriels Wedding” – where a sleazy councillor takes the reserve away to redevelop – the sub-plot for the film was based on a true story ……but, here is the one the crown tried to hide – probably due to a Native Title claim in the late 1990’s over Byron Bay
At Brunswick Heads [Byron Bay] there was a small Reserve, It was the southern administration facility to the northern one at Tweed Heads… and; thankfully, despite the best efforts of the invasion process, the lore, land and language survived intact….and, how they did that is another story for another time, and its an awesome inspirational story too… I will however, tell you a bit about Charlotte Williams who was sent to the Brunswick reserve as a young woman….
Above is a close up of the Brunswick Reserve, and below is picture of the village of Brunswick, it shows the same Reserve which was wiped off the maps….this is one of the crowns own maps. Note it has cancelled written across it….its that simple – they just cancel it and remap a new one….this happens with all their maps.
Charlotte Williams [nee Brown] – Granny Charlotte as her descendants call her- was one the Ngarakbal survivors shuffled by the Administrators…She was a noted midwife, and this granted her ‘authorised’ travel permits between the Brunswick and Tweed Reserves….at that time no-one could leave the reserves unless they had written authorisation and every aboriginal person had been allocated a number – Charlotte had a number and an important purpose…into her was entrusted the Bootheram [Dreaming Lore]….. The crowns administrative policy was strict – “No number, No authorisation, No travel” – culminating in arrest and punishment if “No Paperwork” could be produced…for the Cultural Lore to survive it had to go underground…..This following extract was prepared in conjunction with the Native Title process of Byron Bay….however Charlottes descendants have never been recognised as originating from Byron Bay by the crown….the maps had been sanitised….. “Charlotte Williams was an ‘ARAKWAL’ woman who, with her family in tow, frequently moved between the coast and the Nimbin area. For a time the Williams family lived at Middle Pocket near Mullumbimby and it has been reported that a woman known as Queen Charlotte performed domestic duties at homes between Skinners Shoot and Tyagarah in the period c.1925-30. Charlottes Williams clearly had traditional knowledge of the Byron Bay locality [e.g. the myth of the Fairy Emus and the song Wao] and a great deal of knowledge was passed on to her daughter Millie Boyd”….[Colins1990:45]
Women were the last to be relocated from the coastal Reserves – deemed less troublesome…As a young woman Charlotte had been allowed to remain on the Brunswick Reserve in her ancestral lands but over time she was systematically relocated many times as well….Charlottes Father was a white man…[Aboriginal women were often exploited by the Administration]… Her half Brothers had previously been sent to other Reserves….Tom [Close]was one of her half brother’s…He was sent to ‘Stony Gully’ Reserve near Nimbin and then onto Mulli Mulli Station….Charlottes Full-blood Ngarakbal warrior Grandfather – ‘Johnny Brown’- was relocated many times due to his opposition to the invasion….He eventually was sent to military Reserves located at Lake Cootharaba and Tin Can Bay near Fraser Island Queensland as punishment, but he sure gave the crown some hell before he was captured…. Also a story for another time…..Anyway, how does Wrestling come into all this???…..
Well, despite all the tragedy the Ngarakbal warriors, of which Johnny Brown was a senior Lore man, kept their spirits and their warrior skills alive whilst incarcerated at the Brunswick Reserve….and to do this [undetected] they used Sport… The spirit of Sport is universal and it provided entertainment for the Native Police and the White Administration to watch….Among the most ancient of all sports are Wrestling and Running….Of course the warriors were denied their weapons which were traditionally used in their sport events….spear, boomerang and nulla nulla [club] throwing contests to demonstrate strength and proficiency were common before invasion… but the sport of wresting was something they could still do whilst held captive on the Reserves… it also meant they could train for combat.
So, let’s look at traditional wrestling….Now, the object of traditional wresting amongst the Ngarakbal was not to link or grip their opponent in such a way as to overpower them and make them helpless and unable to move…..It was instead the skill and agility in grappling with the opponent, to throw him to the ground clear without him holding you…..but, he could hold you as long as he could carry you….the craft taught combat skill, endurance, patience and timing It works thus…..First there are three persons selected from the one totem tribe, and another three from another totem tribe…..for ease of explanation I will call the first group the Pelican Men and the second group the Emu men This 1890 photo of Byron Bay Aboriginal Men appears in the book Time & Tide Again – Library of NSW PXA689 no.14….. ….”A clear ground, free from shrubs or rocks, is selected, a soft sandy spot. Before the contestants arrive, the members of the respective tribes congregate to witness and barrack for either side……then the men arrive, their bodies may or may not be smeared with oil and ochre…presently a person steps forward and he holds in his hand a boomerang and a small throwing nulla nulla [club] He turns to the contestants, addressing them…” You are called upon today to uphold the honour of your tribe. One of you may win or take the prize”….and he holds before them the newly made boomerang and nulla nulla These weapons are placed into the ground, like you would with cricket stumps/wickets at one end of the ring …..The referee then calls to the men who will defend these weapons…..[in this example] it’s the Pelican totem men who step forward…and their supporters shout encouragement…and they walk to the end of the ring that has the weapons standing upright in the ground. The three Pelican totem men stand in front of the weapons, facing the opposing team members of the Emu totem who are standing ten to twenty metres back at the other end of the ring…..then the referee calls to the Emu totem men to take the weapons from the Pelican totem men The first of the three Emu men walks forward towards the weapons and at half distance he is met by the first of the three Pelican men, who grapples with him to prevent him from coming closer to the weapons…..Now, let’s suppose the Emu man throws the Pelican man to the ground…He can now rush forward where he is met by the next Pelican man [number 2] who has come to defend the weapons… The Emu man now must wrestle with Pelican man -number 2…. and suppose he also throws him to the ground…. Emu man rushes on and is now met by Pelican man – number 3….and now the war begins….The third Pelican man strains every muscle to defend the prize and the honour of his tribe… he must prevent the Emu man from advancing to where the weapons are standing upright in the ground….They wrestle, both falling to the ground, and then rise….. The Emu totem man is getting nearer and nearer; he reaches out to take hold of the ‘nulla nulla’,….almost gets it, but his strength fails….He gives up and returns back to his team members with a feeling of defeat. Now… the second Emu totem man makes the attempt, but he may not have the skill or the strength to tackle the three Pelican totem defenders….but still, in honour of his tribe he will try….he also fails and must return to his team at the other end of the ring…….Now comes the third Emu totem man….instead of walking he runs and perhaps knocks the first Pelican totem defender down, then meets the second and throws him to the ground….Now he grapples with the third Pelican totem man, throws him to the ground and takes the ‘nulla nulla’ and returns to his team companions amidst cheering from his tribe…. Now they are given a rest….perhaps an hour or more. The referee then takes the boomerang, and places it on the side of the Emu totem men….and says “Take the weapon from the Emu totem” The first Pelican totem man goes forward and is met halfway by an Emu totem man, they begin wrestling and perhaps the Emu man lifts him and throws him upon his shoulder, and then carries him to the end of the ring back to his Pelican totem team…this means he lost – he doesn’t continue to wrestle with the others….. So then, the second Pelican totem man also fails in the same manner…he can’t continue either….so, it’s up to the third Pelican totem man to defend his tribes honour and capture the boomerang….But he tries and also fails….. Then the barrackers of the Emu tribe shout with joy, because the Emu totem men have won the prizes; the boomerang and the nulla nulla… The Pelican totem men in their defeat will take it in good spirits and wave as a sign of friendship and of expressing desire to meet again in the future in a similar challenge…”….adapted from original by D. Unaipon
So…. it’s an attack and defend version of wrestling, running and endurance….and as you can see by the photo above, being placed in Reserves didn’t stop the Ngarakbal warriors from practicing their training….training for a war to defend their land…more on that later thou….. Some of the more complex traditional games can involve up to 50 men who, using a wooden cross like object that is spun on the surface of the competition ground [moving it like a football between the teams] teaches the important skill of hunting agile game, like kangaroo, emu and wallaby….This ancestral game has also produced some of the best natural footballers in the world
Then there are other more complex gaming events that involve whole tribes gathering to compete….many of these game events will last an entire day, and some even longer….to an outsider these events appear to be war….but this is not the case…the object of these gatherings and sporting events is to solidify community ties and also serves the purpose of exchanging information that improves the skills of making boomerangs and spears…for the women it is a great opportunity to learn new weaving techniques and meet with kin…..but most importantly it was the opportunity to gather and entertain each other with the added bonus of maintaining the spirituality of the land and all it contains….
Upholding the Bootheram [Dreaming] Lore through performance, dance, song and oral tradition is one side of the lore….maintaining a living culture unbroken despite all attempts to wipe it off the map or lock it away to die in Reserves requires stamina…No…the culture never died…it adapted…Taking the best qualities of whatever it was exposed to, maintaining morale and morals, applying the lore’s of healthy competition, endurance, skill and patience…aka, the art of wrestling.
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Current Anthropological study of Aboriginal Mythology alongside of Genetic Science is allowing us to move out of the ‘flat earth’ theories of human evolution and propel us into the conscious understanding of the big picture of our true origins..…The ancient Mother Clans of the Bird Tribes of Australia
Lots of people from lots of places have come to the ancestral estate of the Ngarakbal and Githabal people over many thousands and thousands of years…Lots of different people from lots of different lands…..They are either refugees migrating to safer locations following cataclysmic earth events, or, they have come to trade resources, etc….some even stayed and, in time, became part of the Bird Tribes….
Bootheram is the Ngarakbal and Githabal word for the “Dreaming – Time before Time”…The oldest Bootheram are sacred stories of creation and they have corresponding ‘Djurebil’, which is the Ngarakbal/Githabal word for Sacred Sites within their ancestral landscape.
….”Sacred Sites are the locations where Spirit ancestors either burst forth into the landscape in the Dreamtime, or withdrew from it to a state of eternal vigilance….These sacred sites are strong because they have been sanctified energetically by the spirit ancestors. As well as providing Earth energy to all living species they are also the location of spirit children and the importance of these sites is reaffirmed by ceremonial and ritual activities at these sacred places…..”…Voit & Drury; Wisdom from the Earth; p 73
Bootheram cycles and there are divisions of these cycles [epochs or ages]…. And, there are areas of ‘light and dark’ within the landscape features…and Ngarakbal/Githabal Lore protocols have specific no-go zones depending on the divisions [gender, level of initiation, totem, protocol, skin descent, access rights, etc.]
Some of the ‘djurebil’ [sacred sites] have multiple Bootheram attached to them…they might be an ancestral creation place, but at the same time they might be the location of an historical event, like epic battles, encounters, or arrivals of peoples from other lands – and, just as creation sites ‘travel’ through the landscape, sometimes historical sites do too – like links in a chain of events…
For the Ngarakbal and Githabal, an historical Bootheram site marks the divisions of the epoch separation [cycles] between ancient matrilineal bloodlines [Feathered Serpent Traditions, or Bird Tribes – “who have always been here”] and the more contemporary patrilineal bloodlines [Three Brothers – “who arrived here”]….
Now, this challenges a lot of contemporary academic ideologies about who the original ‘people’ are…but rapid advances in Genetic Science has revealed that two distinct lines converge in Australia through MtDNA analysis ….This sheds new light on historical perceptions and we have to readdress the ‘academic oversight’s’ muddling ancient Bootheram and historical Bootheram together, which has caused masses of discord within the community…… the crown have used this discord in a very effective ‘divide and conquer’ strategy…This strategy has been instrumental in causing division within the people – most recently in regards Native Title claims against the crown…..It has also corrupted the original meaning within the ancestral Bootheram [which must NEVER change] and in the past 20 years [since Land Rights and Native Title] lots of skewered versions of the Three Brother story have been created…and most of those have been funded by the crown.
What the academics don’t include was the prior visitations and arrivals of people into Australia BEFORE 1770 – Pre-crown…also, the Native Title academics choose to omit the divisions of the matrilineal and patriarchal descent lore’s that govern the djurebil [sacred sites] and their respective access/custodianship rights, etc. for the djurebil sites in accordance with ancient traditional lore and custom…Completely ignoring the important Lore rites and the events of the division [cycles] within the Lore ….and this too has been an effective divide and conquer tactic.
So, let’s briefly look at some of the information that the crowns academics have ‘overlooked’….I’ll start with some maps [from the UK’s own Library] that show the prior arrivals PRE-CROWN……and work backwards from there….
Before the Crown, there was the Dutch – and here is the 1710 Cartographers depiction of New Holland, which is what they called the continent….
And before the Dutch was the Portuguese and their maps are dated 1536 and 1542 respectively….and then their maps got stolen by the French…
….”In the Lusitano-French maps of the world which originated in the year 1542 with Dieppe [above] cosmographers, such as Pierre Desceliers and his school, there is a continental configuration which of late has greatly exercised the historians of maritime discovery….That region, called then Jave-la-Grande. No historian, no documents of the 16th century, mention the existence of such an Austral continent. We also see it disappear from subsequent maps, until long afterwards, when the region looms up again, but this time as an alleged discovery accomplished by Dutch Navigators…That continental land, nevertheless, so far from being imaginary or an invention of cartographers was nothing else thatn Australia, now justly considered by competent judges as having been discovered, visited and named by unknown Portuguese mariners – whose maps furnished the cartographical data used in the Dieppe charts 60 or 70 years before the Dutch first sighted the shores of the extensive country…”…Henry Harrisse
……..”The providence of the Dauphin Map 1536 [above], too, is distinguished. We know it was ordered by King Francis I of France, as a gift to his son Dauphin, later Henry II. How it came to England we do not know, but when we hear of it next it is owned by Edward Harley, Earl of Oxford, one of the principal Lords of the Admiralty in the early 18th Century. On Harleys death in 1724 it was stolen by one of his servants, and being stolen goods was hidden for the next few decades. Dr Solander came to hear of it: and it was acquired by Sir Joseph Banks”…KG McIntyre
And that is how the English got to Australia….
..”I have a manuscript in my possession, belonging to Sir Joseph Banks…the very curious manuscript here mentioned is painted on parchment with the Dauphin Arms; it contains much lost knowledge; Kerguelen’s Land seems plainly denoted; the east coast of New Holland, as we name it, is expressed”…. Dalrymple- pamphlet on the Chagos Islands [McIntyre :344 ]
But before the Europeans arrived there had been many other visitors from the Northern Hemisphere…..more than 3,500 years BEFORE Cook and all the others the EGYPTIANS came to the Ngarakbal/Githabal lands….
…Near….“Brunswick Heads stands a mound which appears not to belong…….. Fred Fordham was a teacher at the Brunswick Heads Primary school and had heard the local tales that a grand ceremonial ground existed in the area where aborigines gathered from far and wide……Fred sent his notes and drawings and the answers were returned….. most of this correspondence and original work still exists in the valley…The answers were there. The twisting path was a snake, a kangaroo and an emu were represented, the sun was present, plus a host of others ceremonial symbols. There was only one thing wrong, which didn’t seem to worry Fred. The entire layout, names and all were ancient Egyptology – the sun god Ra and many others appeared. Fred could [still] get no backing and the second world war made people think of other things… – extract Oakes collection AIATSIS ; http:www.ancientwisdomoftheancestors.com – Sonya Van Gelder
Yes, there have been lots of visitors and migrations into the Australian Continent over thousands of years….but it goes back further …way, way back to when the first migrations arrived in the land of the Bird Tribes….which begins after an ancient war took place in the centre of the world….
The Bootheram also records the stories about the ancient war and the Bird Tribes traveling up to fight in those wars…But, there were also arrivals to the land of the bird Tribes who were fleeing from that war…ancient refugees…They are known in the historical Lore of the Ngarakbal/Githabl as The Three Brothers, and they arrived into the ancient landscape of the Bird Tribes on the East Coast because of this war……and there are records of these arrivals [and ensuring epic battles] occurring in many other ancestral Oral Lore histories in this continent…
At this point I should [clearly] point out that the arrival of the Three Brothers in the land of the Bird Tribes was dealt with by the Aboriginal people in their own PRE-CROWN version of Reconciliation way back – through a Marriage rite, known as the ‘Eelemarni’ – and discord and division only reared up again as a result of Native Title [divide and conquer issue] incited by the crown….. But, in order to understand the division cycles within the ancestral and historical, we need to look at the historical Bootheram and understand it as Historical and unrelated to Creation Bootheram…and to do that, we have to look at Lore and geology….
The Land itself is the creation of the Spirit Ancestors – the Fairy Emu Dreaming [Bootheram] of Nguthungulli, the creation ancestor who ‘sings’ the landscape into being as he walks westward – He has Four Daughters and One Son, who become the Bird Tribes – and they were ‘made here, they didn’t arrive here – this is Bird Tribe Lore – Alcheringa [ ancient epoch]……….Then, much later in time, historical events unfold…Now it is the landscape that becomes the enduring ‘keeper’ of both creation and historical events that have occurred at various locations on the land which the spirit ancestor created – thus, corresponding ‘djurebil’ [sacred sites] are scattered within the landscape- layer upon layer – and this is why one site might have many Bootheram attached to it…..
Bootheram are taught to the whole of the community under the careful guidance of the Elders who are consulted in regards to the correct meanings, rituals and responsibilities to those sacred places….The whole community learns the same Bootheram, but, the Higher knowledge may only be spoken of by the fully initiated Senior [Boss] Elders whose have obtained the full knowledge of the meaning, language, song, dance sequences and ritual associated with the site…..the Higher Lore is kept ‘closed’ as it contains elements considered too sacred for the uninitiated or of the wrong ‘Skin’ to know prior to undergoing appropriate initiation into the custodial Lore of a specific site….In Githabal and Ngarakbal Lore no-one is allowed to narrate or perform until correct consultation with the Senior Initiated [Boss] Elders is obtained in the correct ritual manner – this traditionally takes days or weeks because the ancestral lore has a defined sequence of protocols that must be strictly followed…….This ensures that the ancient lore is respected and remains intact for all time.
…”Amongst the different regional groups, the sacred knowledge of myth, song, ritual and ceremony – linked with sacred sites – is passed orally from generation to generation. This knowledge also relates to the meaning of ‘country’, and has a practical function – it helps to differentiate groups of people and it also defines tribal rights to land and resources. Such knowledge is never the sole possession of an individual but is held by a group of people who have been initiated into custodianship of that land and therefore have a right to the sacred information that is associated with it….”…Voit & Drury – Wisdom of the Earth
One Historical Sacred Site in the Ngarakbal/Githabal lands is bordering the Widjabil [Bundjalung proper] ancestral estate and records the scene of an epic battle between the Ancestral Mother Clans and one of the ‘Three Brothers’ who came to the Bird Tribe lands long, long ago…This epic battle took place at what is now known as Nimbin Rocks… The correct Ngarakbal word is ‘Nimbinje’…but, Nimbin was the closest Europeans could get to pronouncing it – ….another sacred site [with multiple Bootheram associations] that links to the historical Bootheram is Mt Burrell/Blue Knob which to the Ngarakbal and Githabal is known as ‘Biorgini’ and it is the home of the ‘Wind Spirit’
‘Nimbinje’ means ‘Hairy Man’ in the Ngarakbal/Githabal language…and this Nimbinje, from Biorgini was from the ancestral Bird Tribe…..and could commanded the Wind with sacred ‘songs’ and rituals….
Three Brothers [Historical] Bootheram has been recorded and published many times. The earliest was recorded in 1892….It is known as ‘The Legend of the Three Brothers’.
The following excerpt from a publication by Rev. Livingstone in 1892 more or less summaries the legend of the Three Brothers arrival in the land of the Mother Clans
….“Long ago Beerung, with his two brothers Mommon and Yaburong came to this land. They came with their wives and children in a great canoe, from an island across the sea. As they came near shore a woman on the land made a song that raised a storm which broke the canoe in pieces….this is how the paigal [men] came to this land…”…
And this arrival happened after a great war in the centre of the earth…..but that’s another Bootheram…
I will post the Ngarakbal/Githabal Elders narration of the Three Brothers arrival in Part Two of Ancient arrivals to the Land of the Bird Tribes… So, If you would like to receive automatic notification of future posts to this site then subscribe to my newsletter… And for more info on the Egyptians visiting the East Coast of the continent check out Sonya Van Gelders website- Ancient Wisdom of the Ancestors at http:www.ancientwisdomoftheancestors.com …it’s located in the links…Hoo Roo
“We are the Bird Tribes…We did not ‘come’ here, we were always here…we were ‘made ’here”. …Marlene Boyd
Women are rarely mentioned in the Anthropological literature as owners of country in their own right or as decision making individuals; they appear as wives and mothers, their relationship to the Bootheram always mediated through another….but this is not always Traditional Lore way…
Millie Boyd was an exception to European patriarchal thinking, and so was her Mother Charlotte Williams [nee. Brown] because they maintained their ancestral lore traditions after invasion and in spite of European Authorities
I was very blessed to have known and worked with the late Mrs. Marlene Boyd….Charlotte Williams was her Grandmother…..Marlene was an amazing being. She loved her country – Ngarakbal country, the beautiful Tweed Caldera…..She told me about her Grandmother’s Bootheram, the Fairy Emu Dreaming….It’s a ‘traveling’ Bootheram – the transcontinental songline – which commences in the Ngarakbal ancestral estate – first place to feel the dawn light of Mother Sun…..It tells the ‘Dreaming Lore’ of one of the Ngarakbal and Githabals supreme creation ancestor ‘Nguthungalli’ who walks towards the west creating the geological features of the landscape as he travels…..He ‘sings’ everything into existence…..
…”….A big rock stands in the sea six miles from Byron Bay
A man named Nguthungulli made that rock. Nguthungulli is our Father. He’s the Father of the whole world. He’s the man we’ve got to be afraid of. No matter what we do wrong, or where we do it, He’ll know. And no man has seen Him…”……Extract form the Fairy Emu Dreaming by Charlotte Williams [Brown]
Marlene Boyd spent a lot of time insisting to me that her people were always ‘here’……..”We did not come here, we were always here…We were made in the west….We are the bird tribes” she would state emphatically……and then she would ‘sing’….
The Boyd and Williams’s families and their relations are survivors of the crown invasion – post colonisation of Terrra Nullius….Australia – Ancient Island of the Bird Tribes which Marlene said was the origin of all the tribes upon the planet….
The whole Ngarakbal and Githabal community is extremely proud of who they are and what they represent….and deservedly so, for the Ngarakbal and Githabal descendants have always been involved at the ‘coalface’ of indigenous political, environmental and, indeed, scientific developments heaped upon then by government and the crown…..
But their association to this land is much, much older than when Capt. Cook sailed past Cape Byron and first sketched ‘Wollumbin’ and named it Mt Warning for the Crown to ‘claim’
on Tuesday the 15th of May 1770…..For their association goes way, back……into the Dreaming, which they call Bootheram…..way, way, way, back…..
.”The Bootheram is one continuous moment STRETCHED – across time and space”, Marlene told me…..”It’s made in the mountains. It’s made in the water….They can take our land, but they will never take our Bootheram”, she would say……She was a proudly Traditional Lore Woman from a very long line of the same, and even though we would be sitting in my beach shack [which had become the Ngarakbal/Nganduwal Aboriginal ‘office’], when she spoke her Lore, she meant business, and the spirit of her ancestors came through her loud and clear……
Marlene was very ‘strong’ about who she was and who the Ngarakbal and Githabal are, and of their place within the ancestral tribes of this ancient continent, of which she insisted had always been ‘here’….…
“We are the Bird Tribes….We did not ‘come’ here, we were always here….We were ‘made’ here….”…when she said this she wasn’t just refereeing to Aboriginal Australians, no, she meant the global peoples – from “the time before time – way, way, way, back”….and she wasn’t the only one saying this either….
“They say we have been here 60,000 years. But it is much longer. We have been here since the time before time began … All other peoples of the world come from us.” ……Aboriginal Elder: Page 122 – “Voices of the First Day”
Marlene’s ancestors had been extensively studied by the scientific academics since colonial times and a great raft of research has been collated specifically about these families….one of those academic studies shows the blood sampling that was taken of her grandparents and great grandparents by the government of the early 1900’s….
Now, the Ngarakbal ancestral women’s ‘Skin Lore’ is Biological Genetics in Native Science….the basis of ‘Skin Lore’ determines ‘right way’ marriages, but is by no means limited to just that…like all Lore it has multi dimension facets and layers of meaning……It’s important to remember that an isolated island nation, like Australia, needed to be mindful of avoiding inter-relation marriages that could weaken the genetic strength and health of its people….and so the ‘Skin Lores’ govern that strictly…..it’s matrilineal descent recorded in totem of bloodline descent – through Grandmothers….much like MitochondrialDNA [MtDNA]…
Marlene was adamant that contemporary science was wrong….that, “the Aboriginal people didn’t walk out of Africa” and that it was actually the other way around…She insisted that the ‘Skin Lore’ would show that…..So, she got me to research the science and then we started lobbying government to use MtDNA in Native Title…The by-product of all this Science v’s ‘Skin lore’ was that she showed me, that what she was insisting appeared to be quiet valid….
The research found that in the last 20 years major advances had been made in the study of blood samples, and, interestingly, they directly challenge any supposed African link to Australia’s ancestral people, and dramatically extend the purported 60,000 years of occupation by ancestral tribes to a FAR, FAR GREATER timescale…this had occurred because of advances in cellular and molecular biology – genetics and their origins….To date, even the scientists who first established the “Out of Africa” theory have readdressed their own work and now concede that Australia appears to be the birthplace of ALL modern human beings….
Most notable of these scientists is Rebecca L. Cann, who is currently Professor in the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa…. Cann was the geneticist who made a scientific breakthrough on mitochondrial DNA variation and evolution in humans, popularly called ‘Mitochondrial Eve’….. Her initial discovery and theory was that all living humans are genetically descended from a single Africanmother who lived <200,000 years ago….this became the foundation of the Out of Africa theory, which she assisted in developing whilst a doctoral student under the supervision of Dr. Alan Wilson, the then Professor of Biochemistry at the University of California, Berkeley…… Wilson was a pioneer in the use of molecular approaches to understanding evolutionary change and reconstruct phylogenies, and a revolutionary contributor to the study of human evolution…..They had checked all the facts and they were sure that they were right…but they weren’t……
After graduating from Berkeley, Cann continued her mtDNA research. She has since stated that…..“Mitochondrial DNA puts the origin of Homo sapiens much further back and indicates that the Australian Aboriginals arose over 400,000 years ago from two distinct lineages, far earlier than any other racial type.”…..….and further, that……….“The Aboriginal racial group has a much higher rate of mutations than any other racial group, which suggests that the Aboriginals split off from the common ancestor about 400,000 years ago. By the same theory, the Mongoloid originated about 100,000 years ago, and the Negroid and Caucasians about 40,000 years ago.”….
And Professor Cann was not alone in these findings either…Her ‘new’ research led Wilson to visit Australia in 1985 and he too has had to reformulate his previous theory of “Out of Africa”…more and more eminent scientist then added to the ‘picture’ of our global human origins
Roy Simmons of the Commonwealth Serum Laboratory states, “Australian data indicated that the Aborigines actually evolved earlier than the African Negroes. There was no blood evidence to indicate the African Negroes had any connection to the Australian Aborigines.”…..
Professor Lanarch of Sydney University concurred with Simmon’s insistence the Australian Aboriginals stand alone. “We therefore have no hesitation in omitting the Negritos as the ancestors of the Australian Aborigines.” ….
Cann and Simmons, along with a growing number of academics have now concluded that Aboriginal people are far more genetically diverse than any other population….according to Cann, 10 times more than Africans….
Added to the scientific findings was the voice of Keith Windshuttle, an Australian writer and historian [authored The Fabrication of Aboriginal History, etc]……Windshuttle stated that “fifty years of blood genetic research has failed to provide any clue to Aboriginal origins”…and elaborated with … “May I state here and now that our extensive blood surveys conducted in Australia, Indonesia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia, produced no genetic evidence that the Negro even entered the Pacific.”
It seemed that everything Marlene was telling me from the Bootheram was the truth…”Forget everything they taught you Stella and begin again with the Lore”, she told me…it was blind leap of faith to begin with, but over time the Bootheram always turns up trumps……
One day I’d asked Marlene, why would the government academics collude to keep this amazing information so secretive?…..Was it because of maintaining land tenure?…..Was it to thwart Native Title recognition of Traditional Ownership pre-crown?… Could this whole ‘Out of Africa’ concept be part of a global government ideology to maintain tenure and control of the global sovereign lands…and could this be why they change the maps and the original geospatial linguistic attributions of the names on those maps?….Marlene smiled……”Now you’re getting it girl” she said……….
What a wise old woman….
I’ll post the full Fairy Emu Dreaming [in full] in the future, and the Song of Wao – that accompanies it … as only extracts appear on this site at the moment…will also post some of the lobby documents in the future too….so, if you’re interested subscribe to my newsletter so you’ll get them…and check out Sean O’Shea – Byron Bay Artist…..some of his beautiful photo’s feature in my posts…just click on his website is in my links…..Hoo Roo
Mount Lindesay is the most significant sacred site of the Githabal people…the Githabal are the marriage clan of the Ngarakbal…these two ancient volcano clans are located on the most eastern point of the Australian continent, where the first light of magnetic ‘Mother Sun’ rises from the ocean and awakens the whole land……
The Ngarakbal and Githabal Bootheram [Dreaming lore] is inextricably interlinked….Bootheram tells of the creation of the land and all the inhabitants of the land….Plants and animal, fish and birds, everything has a Bootheram – and all Bootheram is interlinked…..its Native Science held in oral format and celebrated and related through song, dance and ceremony…Ancient truths held in metaphoric lore….Contemporary scientist’s and physicists would find correlation in disciplines such as morphogenetic’s, crystallography, biology, geology, and hydrology, to name but a [mere] few….the Githabal and Ngarakbal Bootheram is totally beautiful stuff…..and why wouldn’t it be….for they have grown along with this landscape throughout time and space.
I want to share with you a creation Bootheram about Mount Lindesay that was related to Phinney MacPherson [who managed to ensure to name a substantial portion of the landscape after himself when he surveyed it for the crown]…..Anyway, the important person in this is the Githabal Elder who he recorded this Bootheram from…it was a Mr Euston Williams…..Mr Williams was the husband of Charlotte Brown, a Ngarakbal woman from the Tweed Caldera…..Charlotte sang the Ngarakbal ‘portion’ of the Fairy Emu Dreaming [transcontinental songline] about her ancestral country and it’s central significant/sacred Mountain – Wollumbin……
Now, Euston and Charlotte were instrumental in the Civil Rights campaigns of the 1950’s….during those times the crown did not recognise Aboriginal people as being human, and had crudely ‘classified’ them under the Flora and Fauna legislations of the day….back then, one of the prerequisites for legally being a human being was to have an identified religion….So, Euston and Charlotte, along with many other Senior Elders agreed to start speaking & singing about their ‘religion’…they spoke their truth…Bootheram- LORE…and many other Senior Elders from their respective ancestral countries joined them right across the country…..collectively they campaigned for more than a decade [it’s an awesome story]….In 1967 after mounting pressure from the Australia public the crown rescinded the flora and fauna classification and human rights were granted……the collective force of a positive campaign to speak their ancient truth produced a positive outcome….morphic field resonance…..Bootheram
The Myth of the Mountain by Eustan Williams
….”Look at that mountain standing up, see how it goes straight up on it’s sides. No man can climb that mountain. Look at it’s head, through the mist, covered with trees. I worked as a chainman to Phinney MacPherson, the surveyor, right along this range and, when we come to Jalgumbun, he says to me, “Now Eustan, let me see them steps you say are cut out in this mountain”. And I pointed out them steps. He stood there, writing in his notebook the story of the mountain that I told him………………That mountain Jalgumbun was once a tree”.
.”A man went after honey in that tree. He climbed up with the vine-rope round himself and round the tree. And as he climbed he cut footholds with his stone axe. And his wives were waiting in the forest down below.
“Where are you?”, they called out. And he called back, “I’m chopping out the honey”. At last he called out, “”Here it is” and rolled the piece of wood with all the honey in it down to the butt and big roots of the tree. They sat down in that camp and ate that honey and travelled then away along the range.
That night there was no moon. The women looked out into the night and whispered to each other “oh look what is that ‘something’ over there”….”oh its like a shadow, see, that ‘something’ over there is blocking out the stars”.
And in the morning when they woke they saw the mountain that was never there before. Jalgumbun, standing up against the sky.
Well there’s a tree called Jalgumbun that grows here in the ranges. It has real soft skin. The fellas from the mill at Urbenville come with their axes, tractors and their gear, and fell and lop them trees and drag them out from the ranges of their native home….”………
Beautiful stuff Bootheram….It has many layers….and the strength of these beautiful people to keep their traditional lore and custom aflame is an inspiration…..and their is so much more…..if you are interested subscribe to my newsletter….Hoo roo
The Githabul and its marriage clan the Ngarakbal have an ancient history which is told through their Butheram (stories) and yaribirri (songs) that connect people with their country through pathways and song lines.
This is a lovely story about the flame of traditional culture reigniting in a strong positive manner despite the invasion and dispersal attempts of the colonisation processes