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Cheryl Davison, Walbunja/Ngarigo

CHERYL DAVISON: Now, all of this had happened, Ngyardi was oblivious to it ... because she was just off doing her thing and then, as it started getting dark, she came back and was looking for her husband and couldn’t find him anywhere. So she started singing out his name, ‘Toonku! Toonku!’ Couldn’t find him anywhere and when she looked out past Baranguba, Najanuga, she’s seeing coming up from the landscape this great big round moon, and in the moon was the face of Toon ku.

So she started following the moon, trying to grab him down, her husband, and pull him back down to earth, but he kept rising higher and higher into the sky, and so she climbed Gulaga Mountain to get closer and closer to her husband and she’d just got to the top and almost within reach of him, but he just kept rising higher into the sky. She couldn’t grab her husband back down to earth, and so she just laid down on the top of Gulaga Mountain and she cried and she cried and she cried, and all the tears that flowed out of her eyes and down the side of the mountain turned into the rivers and streams that she’d actually dug out with her digging stick that day, and went out and filled up the oceans, and that’s why the ocean is salty today, because it’s Ngyardi’s tears. That’s the creation story. That thing that she left on Gulaga Mountain was her heart, which is the waratah. So now the waratah is Ngyardi’s heart that she left on the mountain.

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