Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 


One of the Aboriginal ancestral women was Waramurungundju, among the Gunwinggu of western Arnhem land. She is sometimes called the 'Mother'. She had a number of other names. She came from across the sea in the direction of Indonesia at the very beginning of the world. On making landfall, she made children and told them where they were to live and the language they should speak. While she was there she made much of the countryside, including natural features, and plants and animals. Some examples are bees to produce wild honey in one place and a banyan tree in another. In 1 version of her story she decided to circumcise the children she had created. Her first attempts were unsuccessful, the children dying. The people living in that area didn't practice circumcision. She eventually perfected her technique and the people she left in those places still carry on the practice. In some versions of her story she travelled inland from the coast to finally disappear somewhere between the coast and Yirrkalla. She is sometimes associated with a man, Wuragag, who travelled with her from the direction of 'Macassar', but at Melville Island he continued on alone to western Arnhem Land. In time he met another woman. After many adventures and many wives, he turned into a high rocky hill, called Wuragag (Tor Rock), that dominates the plain to the north of Oenpelli. His spirit was believed to remain in that hill.

Sources & Further reading

R.M. & C.H.Berndt, The world of the First Australians, 1964, Ure Smith, Sydney

Author: M. H. Monroe
Last Updated 14/11/2014 
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