Traditional Owners


Babinda Stories by MURRAI (Annie Wonga)



The Boulders Legend

This is a creation story as told by Murrai – Annie Wonga from Bunna Binda

A long time ago, the Wanyurr Majay lived and camped along the creek and valley below Choorechillum (Mount Bartle Frere). The valley was surrounded by thehills and jungles.

Waroonoo, an elder of our tribe, was married to a young maiden called Oolana. One day, not long after the marriage, a wandering tribe entered the valley and our tribe welcomed them and asked if they would like to stay a while.

In that tribe was a very handsome young man called Dyga. On seeing him, Oolana fell in love with him and he fell in love with her too, but what could he do because Oolana was married to Waroonoo and Dyga was from a different tribe.

After some time, Oolana and Dyga decided t run away upstream. They had been gone for quite a while. The two tribes began to miss Oolana and Dyga, so began searching for them upstream. It wasn’t long before the two tribes found them camping by the stream. The wandering tribe took hold of Dyga and took him away.

Our tribe held Oolana firmly, but she broke free and threw herself into the water that had been calm and peaceful. Suddenly the water erupted into a swirling torrent of white foaming water and the ground burst open throwing huge boulders into the air marking the very place of her drowning.

Today the water is calm and peaceful again, but Oolana’s spirit still remains and she calls for her lover’s return. So beware young men, she may call you to her foaming depths.


This is a creation story of Jubbun (The Eel) and Tom’s Rock as told by Murrai – Annie Wonga from Bunna Binda

Now back in the Dreamtime, Aboriginal people had some power, as they could change into anything they wanted, but they had to be very careful as they could easily change into stone just like the man who came down from the mountain. This man had been walking for some time when he said:-

“This jungle is getting very thick.

I must try and find the creek

Because I’m sure I’d be able to travel much faster in the water.”

So he walked and walked until he came to the creek and cried out:-

“At last, I’ve found it!”

So he entered the creek and turned himself into an eel. Now the Jubbun had been swimming for some time, so he came out of the water and changed himself again and he waled along the bank of the creek for a while. On entering the water once again the Jubbun swam until he came to the mouth of the creek. Now the mouth of the creek flows into the Russell River. So he came out of the water for the last time and as he looked around he said:-

“I really don’t know where I am, but I shall continue on my way.”

The Jubbun swam all the way down the river until finally he came to the mouth of the river. He thought he would go a little further so swam around Russell Heads, but he swam a little way along the coast towards the south, the Jubbun thought the water tasted quite different.

“Perhaps I should get out of the water and see where I am.”

But on uttering these words he immediately turned to stone because the Jubbun is a fresh water fish and he had entered the salt water. That is why he is still here today looking out across the ocean, never to return to the fresh water creek again. Today, eels never venture from the creek because they can swim and feed in the fresh water. The creek will never run dry because the Jubun passed this way on his journey to the sea and to his resting place.

The Jubbun is revealed when looking from a specific place.

Stand north of the rock, 50 metres out from the beach in the water,

At a 22 ½  degree angle, or a little closer.

I do not know the origin of the name “Tom’s Rock”,

But we call it the Jubbun meaning the eel.




This is a creation story of Ghindaga and the Cassowary Rock as told by Murrai – Annie Wonga from Bunna Binda

One day a man came from the valley and walked into the fores.

He had only walked a short distance when he said:-

“I can’t walk through all this without being caught up in the bushes. Perhaps, I might be able to walk through the forest if I was big and strong.”

So he turned himself into a cassowary.

Now he was able to walk and push his way through the forest.

He walked some distance when he came to the Russell River.

“Now, how will I get to the other side of the river? Well, seeing since I’m strong, I should be able to swim across the river.”

Once on the other side, he continued his journey until he came to the mouth of the river. So he tried to cross the river once again, but on entering the water, he realised that the water was far too deep.

So he returned to the bank of the river again, and as he came out of the water, said:-

“I will rest here always.’

He then turned into stone.

To see Ghindaga (Cassowary Rock) in Bunna Binda (Baibnda), face up the Russell River with your back to the ocean. Look a few metres from the bank on the ocean side of the jetty, approximately 30 metres from the rock at the 22 ½ degree angle.

Ghinda is not seen today by those speeding up and down in motor boats in the middle of the river as it is impossible to see Ghindaga from this point in the middle of the river.

Aboriginal people could see, as they were always working close to the shore.