This is a Dreaming story told by the Gandangarra people who live by the Wollondilly River. The land from Katoomba south to Goulburn, N.S.W. is all Gandangarra country.
Gur'-yung-ga’-lung was the creation time when the creative ancestors of the Gandangarra people, the Burringilling, lived. Gurangatch, part fish, part reptile, was one of the Burringilling. The story depicts Gurangatch lying in one of his favourite camping places when Mirragan, 'the tiger cat', (quoll) who loved fishing for the largest fishes, tries to catch him. Through their epic chase across country various land formations are created, tearing a course for the Wollondilly River, and going underground to the Wombeyan Caves. Mirragan ignores his wife’s pleas to stop chasing Gurangatch, and the pursuit creates the valleys of the Southern Highlands, Kedoombar (Katoomba), Binnoomar (Jenolan Caves) and the Blue Mountains. When Gurangatch hides in a deep waterhole, Joolundoo, Mirragan asks his friends to hunt him. Eventually Billagoola, the shag, retrieves a piece of Gurangatch which Mirragan and his friends devour before returning home.
Adapted from R.H. Mathews, Some Mythology of the Gandangarra Tribe, NSW, in Zeitschrift fur Ethnologie, Vol 40, 1908. Mathews was a surveyor with a strong interest in anthropology, whose knowledge of topography is evident in this retelling. Enactment of Native Title legislation has created new interest in his work. His writings are now routinely cited in Native Title claims put forward by Aboriginal claimants.
Series: Australian Legends