The Legends of Moonie Jarl is a collection of twelve traditional stories of the Badtjala people from Fraser Island and the adjacent mainland around Hervey Bay in Queensland. The Moonie Jarl of the title refers to the Badtjala elder responsible for passing traditional knowledge through generations of Badtjala people. These stories were told to Aboriginal children on Fraser Island, off the Queensland coast, and the adjacent mainland, home of the Butchulla/Badtjala people. ‘
These stories are retold and illustrated by siblings Wilf Reeves (Moonie Jarl) and Olga Miller (Wandi). The twelve stories illustrate the origins of birds, animals and plants. Like ‘pourquoi’ stories in European languages, such tales enticingly explain traditional beliefs. When the story-teller or ‘Moonie Jarl’ of the tribe told children stories he drew symbols in the coloured sands of the area – reproduced here in nine story-maps supported by explanatory keys.
Written and illustrated by siblings, Wilf Reeves and Olga Miller, 'Legends of Moonie Jarl' is a landmark work in Australian literary history. It is the very first book of Aboriginal stories, authored by Aboriginal people. Wilf Reeves and Olga Miller were both born in Maryborough and grew up in the area. This seminal book was reprinted in 2015 by the Indigenous Literary Foundation and was their first publication.