The Adventure Begins
“Welcome to Dja Dja Wurrung Country. I’m Harley Douglas, descendent of the Djaara people. You’re here to solve a mystery, one that has something to do with the stories you’ll hear today. Stories of Country, stories of my ancestors, of our totems. Enjoy the scenery, take your time and please respect our heritage for others to enjoy. Your adventure starts now!”
You look around. You’re surrounded by trees and you see a trail leading into a park. How did you get here? Why are you here? You look down at your hand. You’re holding a phone. A light flashes. There’s a message. You tap the screen, and a voice explodes from the speakers.
“Something strange is happening across country. People are forgetting. At first it was just small things: what their favourite colour was, why they had to go outside. But now people can’t remember big things: who the people are in their photo albums, where they live, even what their name is.”
You remember your name. But when you go to say it, you realise it’s gone. How can you not remember your own name? In fact, you struggle to remember where you came from at all.
“People are only half themselves and they are lashing out, fights, suspicion, bad decisions! We need to figure out why before we forget who we are. What are the mysterious spirits and creatures appearing across the land? What have we forgotten that must be remembered? I know you’ve helped solve mysteries before, so meet me at the Fletcher Street entrance in Kalimna Park, along the dirt track leading into the park. Uh-oh! Gotta go.”
Have you solved mysteries before? You can’t remember. But there’s no time to think as you see a tall man with dark hair striding toward you. He is talking to you and you recognise the same voice you heard on the phone. It’s Harley! You both walk together up the path.
“So glad you could make it. I really need your help solving this mystery. Thanks for meeting me. You’re walking through the land of birds on emu country, Land of Barramul, land of many birds. You’ll hear about our moiety, Bunjil, the wedge-tailed eagle – and Waa, the crow.
The story of Bunjil is important to the Djaara people and we should follow Bunjil’s way. It’s not a coincidence that Bunjil is here.”
As you walk with Harley up the hill, you wonder why it’s wise to follow Bunjil’s way but before you can ask Harley you realise to your shock that he has turned to a giant eagle perched in a tree above him. This must be Bunjil! It has enormous claws like swords, and appears to be presiding over this part of the forest, protecting it. You watch as the eagle scans the land from its high perch. Then you realise it is peering at you in a way that makes you feel rather nervous.
“Uhhhh…Did you hear that?
Watch out! Bunjil’s chasing us!
Listen, you’ll need to imagine you are tiny. Almost impossible to see. No bigger than an ant. If you imagine, it will happen! You got me? Good.
Now, can you hear me with your small ears, your miniature wimbul?
Ssshhh. Let’s stay quiet. Move silently up the track.”
You hurry after Harley not wanting to be left behind when you are so small!! You feel a little frightened thinking about Bunjil, the way that eagle stared at you with its massive claws. You’re also in a state of shock, thinking about what Harley said to imagine you’re small and now you are tiny! And to think you were being chased by a giant eagle… What did Bunjil want?
“Have we lost Bunjil? Good, take a breath, drink in the clean fresh air. It’s a beautiful part of the walk and you want to admire the landscape.
There are rockwells along this track. Large rock formations with holes that can hold water. Djaara ancestors forged these holes for many other purposes such as food preparation and ceremony. Do you know this story? It’s part of our living history. Be careful; don’t destroy the habitat. The Old People say we need to care for Country. Speak to Country and the Country will speak back.”
Harley’s talk of a living history strikes a chord in you, a possible thread hangs just out of reach and you feel it’s linked to the Bunjil you’ve lost but you’re also trying to follow. This seems confusing to you. So try to hide from Bunjil but ‘follow his ways’ was what Harley said.
Looking around you, you see trees either side of the track and, down below on your right, a dirt road. You stay on the track you’re on as you walk up the hill, seeking for clues to the mystery. You notice that Harley has disappeared from sight around a bend in the track and you double your efforts to catch up.
Go to Rockwells.