Why Country Speaks

You follow the main track to the end of the path and turn onto the small trail that takes you through the bush to Lyttleton Street with Fletcher Street on your right.

Suddenly, a voice booms through the trees, “Excellent choice! The story of Land is about listening and being true to Knowledge.”

You recognise this is Harley’s voice but can’t spot him anywhere. As you stand here enclosed by the bushland, your ears prick up and your eyes start to tingle. Strange! You get an urge to ask Country to tell you the story of Barramul and the land.

“Waa? Waa?

Bunjil? Bunjil?

Why are you arguing?

“Stay where you are,” snarls Bunjil, looking fiercely to the lowlands.

“And you stay where you are,” bellows Waa, glaring to the highlands.

There’s a black cloud on one side of the world squawking like a flock of Gurruk (the magpies).

There’s a white cloud on the other side of the world screeching like a flock of Djinap (the cockatoos).

Across the landscape, rocks are hurled. Mountains are erupting, throwing out fire and brimstone.

The world teems with animal life in the water, on the land and in the sky. A friendly bat, guards the lonely, the sad and the sleepy, whispering quiet directions to lost souls and outcasts about how to get home by moonlight. Bunjil and Waa do not notice as they are still embattled over who is better and more powerful.

They play a game with rocks. Who can throw the furthest rock? Hot rocks are strewn across the land, marking the soil. The land is a black lake, the burning rocks a Lake of Stars. Both birds fly to this Star Lake, clenching a rock between their beak. With an almighty squawk, they hurl their fiery rocks into the sky.

Who has won the battle? You get a sense both the Crow and Eagle are equal in their Greatness. Tired of peering into the sky to see whose rock has gone the furthest, they forget their fight and must listen to the instructions of bat to guide them home.

Meanwhile, Waa’s rock arches long into the night sky, flares and fizzles with a bang. A dying ember from Waa’s rock quietly ignites other rocks, shooting higher into the night.

Bunjil’s rock grows bigger as it hurtles higher, burning brighter as it climbs. Bunjil is part of the star Altair, brightest star in the constellation of Aquila, the eagle’s eye.

And wheeling majestically above the star Altair is Barramul, the flying emu.

Down below on solid ground it is hard to see but something strange is happening. The Earth shifts and reforms. The Lake rearranges itself into the shape of the stars, a picture of the sky.


“Country speaks to remind us how to Care for Country and for one another. A lot is going on in the world right now, what can we learn about this time? Barramul’s story tells us we have special guides to help and that it’s not all about winning. If we listen to the teachings in Country, we can see the good in one another. Respect our Knowledge Holders, Knowledge that comes from Country.”

You hear Harley but can’t see him even though your eyes are no longer tingling. Maybe this is part of the mystery. Being able to listen to Country. You realise the more stories you hear of the land and the Djaara people, the more you’re remembering, and the bigger you feel. You feel more whole than you ever felt before. You come out of this part of the land uplifted. In fact, you’re soaring. You have a sense that your whole body is listening to Country now. You have changed as a being, filled with the spirit of this place.

Now Country is telling you to leave a sign that can lead others to this story. You place an arrow on the ground with some fallen broken twigs and leaves. Something tells you not to disturb any rocks as you do this as you know there’s an endangered Pink-tailed Worm-lizard in these parklands that use small rocks as their home. How do you know this, you wonder? You hope your arrow encourages other people to leave an arrow too so they become curious about learning the half-told stories.

As you have this thought, Uncle Rick brushes past you and shuffles along the trail to join Harley wandering ahead. They both motion to you.

“There’s a ceremony up at the monument. It’s going to be something special and we’d love for you to join us!”

You hurry after Uncle Rick and Harley along the path to the Burke and Wills statue on Mostyn and Wills Streets. You’re now surrounded on both sides by trees, curious about this last part of the mystery as you carefully cross the road at Lyttleton Street and head for the monument.

Go to Monument.