Many disaster stories have been passed down through history. In this post, we look at some Australian Aborigine stories.
The Luritja people, native to the remote deserts of central Australia, once told a story about an impact disaster:
“A fire devil coming down from the Sun, crashing into Earth and killing everything in the vicinity.”
The Gunditjmara people describe a tsunami:
“A gigantic wave coming very far inland and killing everybody except those who were upon the mountaintops.”
In The Legend of The Great Flood, a drought is described in the time before the flood:
“In the dream-time, a terrible drought swept across the land. The leaves of the trees turned brown and fell from the branches, the flowers drooped their heads and died, and the green grass withered as though the spirit from the barren mountain had breathed upon it with a breath of fire. When the hot wind blew, the dead reeds rattled in the river bed, and the burning sands shimmered like a silver lagoon.
All the water had left the rippling creeks, and deep, still water holes. In the clear blue sky, the sun was a mass of molten gold; the clouds no longer drifted across the hills, and the only darkness that fell across the land was the shadow of night and death.”
In a story about Lake Euramoo, an earthquake is described:
“The broken taboo angered the rainbow serpent Yamany, the dominant spirit of the area … As a result, ‘the camping-place began to change, the earth under the camp roaring like thunder. The wind started to blow down as if a cyclone were coming. The camping-place began to twist and crack. While this was happening, there was in the sky a red cloud, of a hue never seen before. The people tried to run from side to side but were swallowed by a crack which opened in the ground’…”
The Gugu Badhun Aboriginal people tell a story of an enormous volcanic eruption.
“Once upon a time, a huge explosion rocked the land, and a massive crater appeared in the ground. A cloud of malicious dust filled the air, and when people wandered into it, they disappeared forever. The air was so hot that along the waterfronts, the ground appeared to be on fire.”
And finally, this Aboriginal story tells of a time when the sea was lower.
“In the beginning, as far back as we remember, our home islands were not islands at all as they are today. They were part of a peninsula that jutted out from the mainland, and we roamed freely throughout the land without having to get in a boat like we do today. Then Garnguur, the seagull woman, took her raft and dragged it back and forth across the neck of the peninsula, letting the sea pour in and making our homes into islands.”
These stories were once thought to be myths, but science is proving them to be true. Humans have been living with disasters since the beginning of time, and we will continue to live with them.
Learn to live with nature, and you will survive; fight it, and you will lose.