In term 2 Jason Kelly, Koorie Education Schools Officer told his interpretation from the Mutthi Mutthi of the dreaming. Jason presented his marvelous artwork and told dreamtime stories that were illustrated by his artwork. The artwork is on display from July 4th- July 18th at St Francis Church, Parstoral Centre ‘Eynard Room’ 326 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne.
The video package of the Dreamtime Stories is available on Fuse
Each fortnight a different story was told and a matching artwork presented that had been created by Jason Kelly.
Session 1 May 2nd – How the Murray River and the fish were made and message sticks – their use and story.
Session 2 May 16th – The seven sisters (stars ,sky story) Orion (stars)
Session 3 May 30th – The Eaglehawk and Crow
Session 4 June 13th – Eaglehawk , Crow and the Brown tree creeper
Session 5 June 27th – How river and lagoon mussels were created and how they relate to Moity’s.
EAGLE AND CROW (WILLEKIL AND WANGI)
The Crow (Wangi) was a bad fellow, he was always chasing after women. He would sneak around and sneak after them. He would steal a woman and then run away and then steal another woman. He was always looking around frightened in case someone might catch him.
Wangi lived down on the Murray somewhere between what is now Tooleybuc and Koraleigh; the Eagle (Willekil) lived at Yanga. One day when Willekil was out hunting down on the Wakool river (near where the Kyalite hotel now stands), he spotted Wangi sneaking around heading north towards what is now Balranald.
Willekil knew Wangi was up to no good and was again looking for a woman to steal. Willekil challenged Wangi spearing him with his stabbing spear.
Thinking Wangi was dead Willekil pilled a heap of sticks and firewood on top of Wangi and set it alight. Before Willekil could light the fire Wangi dug a grave like hole in the ground creating a pocket under the fire which saved him from being burnt. When Wangi could no longer feel the heat from the fire, the ashes and coals, he climbed through all the ashes peering out to make sure Willekil was gone. Wangi was now all black from the charcoal and ashes and his eyes white. He jumped into the Wakool river thinking Willekil had gone. But Willekil had seen him and drowned him in the river. However, Wangi somehow later returned still all black with white eyes, from what he had been through.
THE MAKING OF FIRE (WANAPI)
Long ago there was no fire; only the water rat (Murembin) had fire. Murembin would dig out his home in the river bank and he would make an underground passage to his home and make a fire there.
One day a spark escaped from Murembin’s fire and smouldered on the dry reeds of the Cumbungi above. The Brown Hawk (Gergera) who was looking for Murembin caught his tail on the spark of the dry Cumbungi reed and spread fire over everywhere he flew.
The fire was huge and burnt all the grass and the trees. Some birds which had escaped the fire did not know of the hot ashes and the coals that were left on the ground and hurt their feet. You can see the evidence of this today; as those birds now have webbed feet.
Mutthi Mutthi people used the coals left to cook their meat and once they had tasted cooked meat it also instilled in them the knowledge of how to make their own fire, whenever they wanted.
The Mindai was a long snake. Mutthi Mutthi people knew of two Mindai. One belonging to Gilbara moity and the other Magwarra moity. Mindai had a mane growing from the back of its neck. The Gilbara Mindai was savage and bad. The Magwarra Mindai was tame and not a danger to Mutthi Mutthi people.
The Mindai lived in the ground. Gilbara Mindai on fine days would get in and out through the water-hole and sit waiting on the ground hiding or sitting in a spring waiting. It would sit in the water-hole and the water would rise up suddenly. It would come out of the water and grab a man by means of its spirit power, which would paralyse a person. Mindai has the power in its eyes to paralyse a man; after which it would swallow you and eat you. If you didn’t catch its eye, you would get away in time and you were alright.
The Mindai would then be satisfied for a while. With its stomach full it felt good. Mutthi Mutthi people were scared of the Mindai.
One day for the first time the Mindai saw a Bullock which had come to the water-hole. The Bullock had a drink of water. Mindai did not know what this animal was, but caught it and ate it.
This was bad for the Mindai, as the Bullock was too big for the Mindai to digest, and so as a result the Mindai died. A white fella saw the dead Mindai. He had to use his whole Bullock team to drag the Mindai out of the water and it was then that he could see that the Mindai was 80 foot long. That’s how the bad Mindai finished.
Magwarra Mindai was alright and he may still be there.
Long ago the moon (Mitien) used to be a very bad greedy fellow.
He would rob people and steal their meat. One day he was climbing a tree to look for grubs (Dakum) ; he was trying to get higher and higher when two clever men came upon him. Mitien said to the men, “Go away all this Dakum is mine you cannot have any.” The clever men saw there was a big rock next to the tree and said to Mitien, “Climb onto that big rock ; you will be able to see better and climb higher from there.”
He climbed onto that rock and when he did so the clever men used their magic to make the rock disappear high up into the sky to where it remains today.
Moity is the Latin word for two halves.
Mutthi Mutthi as all Aboriginal groups believed to understand the universe properly you could not marry someone of the same Moity , you had to marry an equal opposite so as to gain a complete understanding of the universe.These two halves in Mutthi Mutthi are known as Gilbara and Magwarra .The story of the mussels relates to a time before Gilbara and Magwarra became lore.
During the time the Eagle (Willekil) and Crow (Wangi) were fighting four men from two opposing sides fought each other constantly; mixing themselve’s up in Willekil and Wangi’s fight.
Eventually after a long time Willekil and Wangi said, “You men will fight no more.” Willekil picked out two opposing men and said, “You two will now come together and forever remain as one. You will live in the river.”
Wangi also said, “You other two will also now come together as one and will forever remain that way also; you will live in the lagoon.”
That is how the freshwater mussels came about and why they are formed by two halves (Moity’s).
The bigger mussels were ordered by Willekil to live in the river and the smaller mussels were ordered by Wangi to live in the lagoons. Since that time the Gilbara and Magwarra moity’s governed how marriage was allowed.
Long ago the Willy Wagtail (Tirri Tirri) was similar in size to the Crow (Wangi)
Wangi had three daughters; Tirri Tirri wanted to marry one of Wangi’s daughters. Knowing Tirri Tirri was mischievous Wangi never liked Tirri Tirri and refused Tirri Tirri’s request. Tirri Tirri was relentless constantly annoying Wangi with his persistent requests for marriage.
Tirri Tirri is a wrestler who jumps about and so challenged Wangi to a fight, if he won he could marry one of Wangi’s daughters and if he lost he would never ask again. Wangi agreed to the challenge and instructed Tirri Tirri to make a clearing in the scrub where the fight would take place. Tirri Tirri gladly did so and placed a spike at the edge of the clearing under a bush. Tirri Tirri knew he could use his wrestling skills to push Wangi onto the spike.
The fight took place with Wangi’s three daughters looking on and Tirri Tirri did exactly what he hoped; forcing Wangi onto the spike which went thru his hip.
Wangi let out a scream when he was speared thru the hip from the cheating Tirri Tirri. The fight was over Tirri Tirri was found to be a cheat and he could never be allowed to marry any of Wangi’s daughters. As punishment Tirri Tirri shrank becoming much smaller than Wangi.
Wangi still carries the injury today to his hip, when you look at Wangi walking you will see he still carries that limp fro, the spike going thru his hip.
The Eagle (Willekil) lived at Yanga Lake, he had his family there and was always wary of the Crow (Wangi).
Wangi was always sneaking around trying to steal woman.
One day Wangi stole one of Willekil’s daughters, Willekil was angry and took a Mutthi Mutthi child as a replacement; keeping the child high up at the top of a giant tree by the lake.
People searched and searched for the child day and night weeping.
The Brown Tree Creeper (Bin Bin) saw what had happened and when Willekil was away hunting he climbed up the giant tree and took the child down and returned her to her mother and father. The parents did not know who brought the child back as Bin Bin snuck the child back to camp while they were out looking.
Whilst rescuing the child Bin Bin dropped his fire stick inside the hollow of the giant tree. He did not know where he lost it and the tree caught fire from the inside, burning until it fell into Yanga lake. The tree was so big it divided the lake which is why Yanga looks like it is two lakes.
Mutthi Mutthi people were so happy for the child’s return and eventually found out Bin Bin was the one who saved her and then realised that he dropped his fire stick which caused the tree to fall into Yanga.
You can walk across Yanga still today when the water is low on the ridge formed by the tree splitting the lake.
(If you look up into the night sky you can see Orion’s belt. Orion’s constellation from Mutthi Mutthi perspective is made up of five people. Tadakwil in the middle and his two wives which form Orion’s belt. Guyawil the red star and Ganan ganan the star that changes position.)
Mutthi Mutthi were very wary of Ganan ganan. At night when people were asleep he would take them up into the sky and was believed responsible for many disappearances. He does not stay in one place and is always changing his position.
Tadakwil came here a very long time ago he was born with only one arm. He came and stole two women so he could keep as his wives, he dwells in between them in the sky.
One night the two wives noticed a man with red skin called Guyawil alone at his camp and said to each other “come on let’s pretend to be emu’s and go down and capture him”.
The two women came down and made a noise like emu’s, Guyawil heard them and picked up his spear hoping to kill one of the emu’s to take back to his people to eat. The woman captured Guyawil and took him up sky. He had disappeared; many people searched for Guyawill but could not find him and did not know if he would ever return.
Eventually they saw him up in the sky recognising him by his red skin. It was then they realised that the two woman had taken him and he now remains there as a star in the sky.
A very long time ago there were seven sisters. The sisters used to play a game with one of their digging sticks. One would throw it and they would each chase it; throwing it further and further away chasing it each time.
The sisters came from the east, one day the sisters played their game throwing the stick to the west having it leap along the ground and following the setting sun, throwing it further and further west until finally the sun had gone.
The sisters were caught by the night as they disappeared into the west and were forever trapped in the darkness and taken up into the sky where they remain today.
Here are pictures of the message stick that Jason Kelly made and his country he always carries with him.
How the Murray River and fish were made.
We acknowledge that some of these stories are not exclusive to the Mutthi Mutthi and may be shared with other tribes.
THE MURRAY COD (Pandjil)
Long ago a clever man made the huge Murray Cod (Pandjil). Pandjil was also very clever, and he made the rivers.
The Murray river (Jurraree Dindi) , Wakool river(Wakool Dindi) and the Murrumbidgee river (Kane Dindi). Pandjil made the Murray river first starting at the top end.
Later the clever man caught Pandjil in Mutthi Mutthi country and cut him up into small pieces ; throwing those pieces back into the river, naming them and singing out as he threw each piece, Yellow Belly (Lingul) ,Boney Brim (Kakwil) , Pandum (small Cod), Tjpil (Crayfish) etc. That is how all the other fish were made.
Add your artwork to the padlet below by taking a photo and then uploading it by clicking on the pink circle with the + This is done easily on the iPad as it goes to your photo gallery. If using a computer or laptop you will need to get the photos onto the laptop or computer and then select the + and it will allow you to browse to find the pic to upload.