This week is NAIDOC Week, a time for all Australians to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
NAIDOC Week also a terrific occasion to explore and reflect on the rich traditions and stories of the Gunaikurnai people of East Gippsland.
And so this week we’ll be sharing some of the stories of significant places and events in the Gunaikurnai culture.
Thanks to our friends at the Krowathunkooloong Keeping Place in Dalmahoy Street, Bairnsdale for the information shared here.
The story of the Legend Rock
The Legend Rock, an important part of Gunaikurnai mythology, lies in shallow water by the shore of Bancroft Bay, opposite the Metung Yacht Club in Tatungooloong Country.
One day, some fisherman who had hauled in many fish with their nets, ate their catch around their campfire.
The women, guardians of the social law, saw that the men had eaten more than enough but had not fed their dogs.
As a punishment for their greed the fishermen were turned to stone.
This story is one of many Gunaikurnai stories that were told and retold to show that greed would bring punishment.
The Legend Rocks hold great spiritual value to the Gunaikurnai people and the story serves as a great legend for its people to remember the laws of the land.
There were originally three rocks in the formation at Metung. Unfortunately two were destroyed during road construction along the shore of Bancroft Bay in the 1960s.
The last rock was preserved when community members and Gippsland & East Gippsland Aboriginal Cooperative had an injunction issued.
The Legend Rock continues to be protected under the Heritage Act of Victoria.
Learn more about the Krowathunkooloong Keeping Place and the culture and history of the Gunaikurnai people at batalukculturaltrail.com.au/
And you can learn more about NAIDOC Week and find local events near you at www.naidoc.org.au