Dreamtime Stories 2

Mankala and the Kunparra

This story is called “Mankala and the Kunparra” which means in the Kalkadoon language “Black Bream and the Shield”.

Long, long ago the tortoise was a fish with fins and gills and he swam in the rivers and waterholes in kalkadoon country. He was a very slow swimming fish and he was an easy target for the Kalkadoon hunters who would spear him. One day while swimming in a waterhole he came across a Kalkadoon fish trap that had a large beautiful black bream trapped inside and he knew that the black bream would soon be eaten for dinner by the Kalkadoon hunters.

Mankala the black bream saw the tortoise and said “I am the last of my kind and I must give birth to my young so my kind will survive can you help me escape this fish trap”. Tortoise replied if I try to help you then I too may be caught in this trap and eaten, I am a very slow swimmer and am not strong enough to break the trap. Mankala said to the tortoise if you promise to help me I will tell you how to trick the hunters and then you can help me. Mankala told tortoise to swim near the waters edge so the hunters could see him and then as fast as he could to swim back to the bottom of the waterhole. Tortoise swam to the edge of the waterhole and when the Kalkadoon hunters saw him they quickly grabbed their spears and were about to throw them when they both began to argue over who saw tortoise first and who should have him for dinner. The hunters kept arguing and started to fight and then one of the hunters grabbed the others shield and threw it into the waterhole where it sank to the bottom. Mankala told tortoise to quickly swim into the shield and tie it onto his back using the reeds from the waterhole and then to use the side of the shield to cut through the fish trap so she could escape.

Tortoise tied on the shield and then cut through the fish trap setting Mankala free and when the hunters saw what tortoise was doing they stopped arguing and threw their spears at tortoise but the spears just bounced off tortoises new shield. One of the hunters then jumped into the waterhole and started to pull on tortoises head to try and get him out of the shield but using all of his strength the hunter could not budge tortoise and tortoise swam as fast as he could to the bottom of the waterhole. Mankala said to tortoise because you so selflessly helped to save me you now have protection from the Kalkadoon hunters spears and because now your neck has been stretched by the hunter you can now just peek above the water instead of showing your whole body.

Tortoise now swims happily in his waterhole with his new shield for protection and always sticks his head above the water first to see if any hunters are around.



Rantani Kalu

This story is called “Rantani Kalu” which means in the Kalkadoon language “Duck mole”.

Long, long ago the animals of Australia were created by the creation spirit who put all the pieces of the animals together. When the creation spirit had finished his work he sat back and admired all the beauty he had created in the animals and while looking at his work he thought to make one more animal that would be very different from all of the others. This new animal would need to be treated as an equal but he would make it very different to show the animals they had to be accepting of one another no matter what they looked like. The creation spirit thought and thought of what new animal to make and finally decided to make an animal that was made from Rantani the duck that would have webbed feet, a bill and could swim underwater and then he added Kalu the mole so the fur would keep it warm but it would not see underwater and could only feel with his bill.

This new animal is called the platypus and it is accepted as an equal by all the animals as just being different looking.   




This story is called kurityityin which means The Magpie Lark in the Kalkadoon language.

This story is as old as time itself and is a creation story from the beginning of time. Long, long ago Kurityityin flew to the top of a hill and started to kick up the red dust over and over again dancing and calling to all the animals to rise up out of the ground and go forth and eat the grass and leaves and to live life on the land. All the animals rose and emerged from the ground to start life.



Pirlapirla Utinat Ntia Marria

This story is called Pirlapirla Utingat Ntia Marria which means in the Kalkadoon language Baby Emu and the Stone Axe.

Long, long ago in Kalkadoon country an emu was born that was very different to all the other emu’s, her neck was a deep blue and red and she was the most beautiful emu ever born. Her parents loved their new baby very much and they both admired the beautiful striking colours that made her so different to all the other emu’s. Baby emu only ever played with herself or with her parents because she looked so different none of the other emu’s would play or even talk to her.

One day baby emu was playing by herself while her parents were out gathering food for their dinner, the parents were so busy that they did not notice the Kalkadoon hunters that were slowly creeping closer and closer until it was too late and the last thing the parents heard was the sound of the spears before they hit their target. Baby emu returned to camp but there was no sign of her parents anywhere and so she waited and waited and waited. After several days she decided to go and look for her parents and ask the other emu’s if they had seen them. She travelled all over Kalkadoon country from South to North and East to West asking all the other emu’s if they had seen her parents but she got the same response from everyone she asked, they would just turn their backs on baby emu and ignore her because of the colour of her skin. Baby emu felt so alone and betrayed by her own kind because she looked different to them. While still looking for her parents one morning she heard a soft hooting sound coming from behind some thick spinifex grass and as she slowly went to investigate she thought to herself could this be my parents. As she got closer she was startled to see a Kalkadoon hunter jump up from behind the grass and throw a stone axe at her which hit its target and baby emu fell to the ground.

The creator spirit after seeing the way baby emu was treated spoke to her in a dream and said “baby emu I am disgusted and saddened by the way you were treated by your own kind because you looked a little different to everyone else, because of this I will give you new life and a new family”.  In return for this new life and family you must leave Kalkadoon country and never return and you must always remember how you were treated and always treat your brothers and sisters with the same respect that you wish for yourself. Baby emu agreed and then awoke jumping to her feet, she ran towards the Kalkadoon hunter knocking him over with the stone axe that was still stuck in her head. She continued to run for many days until finally she reached the safety of the rainforest.

To this day baby emu has never forgotten the way she was treated and treats all of her family with respect and love and she is now known as the cassowary. She uses the stone axe on her head to defend her family from those that would harm them and she never leaves the safety of her rainforest home.



Ntia Utinat Kutu Dreaming

This painting is called “Ntia Utinat Kutu Dreaming” in the Kalkadoon language which means “Stone Emu Egg Dreaming”.

This painting is my interpretation of “Ntia Utinat Kutu Dreaming” a story told to me by an elder about the stone emu nest.

Long, long ago in the dreamtime there were 2 emu’s that passed through Kalkadoon country travelling North, they both caused trouble with everything they did and were continually fighting with each other all along the way. After days of travel and fighting the 2 emu’s came upon a beautiful water spring where they both watered and refreshed and decided to build a nest nearby. Once finished the emus fought over the nest and the female emu then layed 2 eggs, once she had done this the emu nest and 2 eggs were then turned to stone and the female emu was banished to the skies as punishment for fighting.

Every Autumn when the milky way passes over Kalkadoon country and the emu in the sky is at its brightest it signals to the Kalkadoon people that it is now time to collect the emu eggs for food, never taking all the eggs but only a few so the emu can repopulate the lands.

The stone emu nest and 2 stone eggs are still lying in Mount Isa today in exactly in the same place they were long long ago, this is a very sacred and special place to the Kalkadoon people.

Let all who see this painting and read this story know that Kalkadoon history and culture is timeless and as old as time itself.


Inyalngu, Milyuka Kuu Ritjinguthinha

This painting is called “Inyalngu, Milyuka Kuu Ritjinguthinha” which means “Fresh, Salt Water Dreaming” in the Kalkadoon language.

This story is as old as time itself and is a creation story from the beginning of time. Long, long ago Kurityityin flew to the top of a hill and started to kick up the red dust over and over again calling to all the animals to rise up out of the ground and go forth and eat the grass and leaves and to live life on the land, all the animals rose from the dust and emerged from the ground to start life and it was then that they spread throughout the country.

In the beginning in Kalkadoon country there was no water, there was no rain and no waterholes for the animals to drink from and they became thirsty for water as the grass and leaves could not quench their thirst. Some of the animals did not know what to do and they went back to the top of the hill from where they came and began to dig and dig and dig. After much digging and frustration they had made an enormous hole in the ground from the mountain and still having no water they began to fight with each other with ilipari the lizard biting all who came near to him.

Kurityityin was disgusted to see the animals fighting over and over again after giving them life and it was then that she spoke to Yaruwala kuntarra the rainbow serpent and told of the animals bickering and fighting and especially that of ilipari. Yaruwla Kuntarra was so upset to hear about the animals fighting that she began to cry and cry filling the enormous hole in the ground with rain. She continued to cry until the newly formed waterhole began to overflow and then run with the first river, which swept all of the quarrelling animals downstream and out to the sea and Yaruwala Kuntarra then turned the land animals into sea creatures.

Yaruwala Kuntarra then spoke to the sea life and told them that this was their new home and they needed to learn to live together with respect and love and to treat each other as equals. She then told ilipari that because he was the reason that the animals started to fight that he must remember his past over and over again as the barramundi. To this day when the flood waters come ilipari must again swim downstream over and over again from the fresh water to the sea as the barramundi, all the other sea animals now live together with respect for each other and in harmony.


Watjali Maka

This painting is called “Watjali Maka” in the Kalkadoon language which means “The First Fire” in the Kalkadoon language.

This story is as old as time itself and is a story from the beginning of time. Long, long ago some of the Kalkadoon people were gathered on the open plains setting up camp for the night, after a very successful days hunting the men were laying the many slain kangaroo’s in a pile. The women were pounding up lily roots, gathering grass and making all the usual preparations for the nights feast.

Without warning a violent huge thunderstorm broke immediately above the campsite with the thundering lightning setting fire to the dry loose grass of the open plains. As it blazed fiercely across the camp and the plains it scorched and roasted some of the slain kangaroo’s and when the Kalkadoon people ate these semi roasted portions they all agreed that the roasted meat was far tastier than eating the meat raw.

The elders of the group quickly summoned a young woman to follow the fire that was still burning across the plains and bring it back with her. Soon after the woman came back to the camp holding a large blazing firestick and then made a campfire using the dry wood from around the camp. The elders were so pleased with her success of capturing the first fire that they made her the sole person responsible for never losing the fire or letting the fire go out.

One night in the wet season the camp was overcome by a torrent of water and the fire was extinguished and lost to the Kalkadoon people and when the elders awoke in the morning they were horrified to learn of their fate. They banished the woman to the open plains never to return until she could find the lost fire again and bring it back to the Kalkadoons.

For many long years the woman wandered through Kalkadoon country in solitude until one day when she was walking next to a river she lost her temper after falling over and broke two sticks off different tree’s and in a rage she then began rubbing them violently together. To her surprise the friction of the sticks rubbing together produced fire and with this new knowledge she returned to camp and shared her precious discovery with the Kalkadoon people who to this day have not lost their fire.


Nyuuyan Watjinaan

This painting is called “Nyuuyan Watjinaan” which means “Greedy Echidna” in the Kalkadoon language.

Long, long ago all the animals lived as friends in one large camp in Kalkadoon country and each day they would all go out and collect bush tucker and then bring it back to camp to share with all the animals that night.

Each animal would bring back food that only they could get, the rock wallaby would collect the lemongrass leaves from high in the rocks, the turtle would collect the Lilly seed pods and roots from the lagoon, the birds would collect the Bloodwood apples from high up in the tree’s, the possums would collect the bush banana’s and the emu would collect the nuts from the sandalwood tree.

One day Watjinaan the echidna was feeling lazy and decided that he would not go out to collect food but would instead stay at the camp hidden from all of the other animals behind a bush. The animals came back to camp to drop off their bush tucker before heading back out to collect more and each time they did this Watjinaan the echidna would eat the food and then hide again behind the bush.

When the birds came back to camp and dropped off the bloodwood apples Watjinaan again snuck out and ate them all up only this time he was so fat and heavy that he couldn’t move and just lay there. All the animals returned to camp that evening only to find that all of their food had been eaten and they all saw Watjinaan bloated and just laying there and so they asked “why would you eat all our food” and Watjinaan replied “I couldn’t help myself and besides I thought I deserved it more than you”.

All the animals agreed that because of Watjinaans greed he was to be banished from the camp never to return, he would live a life of solitude by himself, so they asked Watjinaan to leave peacefully or there would be consequences, but he just laughed. All the animals then flew into a rage and started throwing sticks at Watjinaan with some piercing his skin and sticking out of his back, Watjinaan was in pain but could only slowly walk away from the camp.

To this day Watjinaan the greedy echidna lives a solitary life by himself still with the sticks in his back and only comes out at night time when the other animals are not around.