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Dreamtime Aboriginal Stories: Culture & Creation

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

In this lesson, we will examine how the Aboriginal Dreamtime stories shape the culture of indigenous Australians. Further, we will summarize the creation stories.

Culture and Definitions

What do you believe about the creation of man and the reasons for natural phenomena? Science and religion have provided us with answers to some existential questions, such as 'Who am I?' and 'Why am I here?' The Aboriginal, or indigenous Australians, describe their beliefs about these questions through Dreamtime stories. Dreamtime is the relationship between ancestral spirits, land/animals, and people that result in the laws of existence. Dreaming stories are passed down from generation to generation through song, dance, artwork, and storytelling. Let's examine the Aboriginal Dreamtime stories about creation.

Aboriginal art~
Aboriginal Art

Guthi-guthi and the Creation of Ngiyaampaa Country

Guthi-guthi is the spirit in the sky that represents the Aboriginal ancestors. Long ago, he came down from the sky to create the land for the people. First, he puts the borders in place, sets up sacred sights, and creates the birthing places for all future Dreamings.

From his stance atop Gunderbooka Mountain and Mount Grenfell, he sees that water is needed so that vegetation will grow, so he calls to Weowie, the water serpent who is trapped in Mount Minara. Weowie is unable to hear Guthi-guthi. Guthi-guthi becomes frustrated about the lack of response, so he bangs on the mountain and roars like thunder until the mountain splits in two. Weowie escapes, leaving streams and waterholes behind before returning to the mountain to live.

Cod and his friend, Mudlark, dragged the water sources all the way to the sea to create the Darling River. Two tribes, Eaglehawk and Crow, are placed on the land. The Ngiyaampaa and Barkandji people are their descendants.

Eaglehawk and Crow

However, the story doesn't end there. The Eaglehawk and Crow are warring tribes. This story explains why. Long ago, when it was Eaglehawk's turn to hunt, he asked his neighbor, Crow, to care for his child. Crow has no interest in caring for a crying baby and tries to refuse, but Eaglehawk will not take 'no' for an answer. The child is left with Crow with the promise that Eaglehawk will share whatever he brings back.

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