• LOCATION 10 | Virtual Solar System Drive: From Narrabri to Siding Spring with Fred Watson

    Gamiliraay traditions

    As we drive along this road, towards the Warrumbungle Ranges, which means crooked mountain in the traditional language, you might want to imagine what it was like a few hundred years ago.

    It may look like wild, scrubby land now, but the Gomeroi people cultivated the land. Like farmers today, they grew yams and other root vegetables, as well as a sterculia grain, with which they made bread. Insect larvae, frogs, and eggs of several different animals were also gathered by women, whilst birds, kangaroos, emus, possums, echidnas, and bandicoots were hunted by the men.

    The Gomeroi people considered Baiame, as their ancestor or patron god. Who came down from the sky to the land, and created rivers, mountains, and forests that you see now.

    He gave the people laws, traditions, songs, and culture, and created the first initiation site, where boys were initiated into manhood. This was known as a bora.

    When he had finished, he returned to the sky, and people called him the Sky Hero or Sky Father, where he married Birrahgnooloo (Birran-gnulu), who is identified as an emu. Together they had a son Turramūlan.

    It was forbidden to mention the name of Baiame publicly, women were not allowed to see drawings, nor approach the boras.

    In star-lore the Greek constellation of Orion the hunter was known to the Gomeroi as Berriberri. He set out to capture the Pleiades, Miai-miai, cornered them in a tree and transformed them into yellow and white cockatoos. But his attempts to seize them was blocked by Turramūlan.

    The seventh of Miai-miai, gurri gurri, was shy and less beautiful and was transformed into the least visible of the 7 stars in the Pleiades.

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Virtual Solar System Drive: From Narrabri to Siding Spring with Fred Watson