Jeedara and the Creation of Mirning Country

This is our Mirning Jeedara story, which comes from the Milky Way, down into the sea and then into the land. This story has been handed down from generations of our Mirning ancestors: from Koolbari and Tabilya to Grandfather Mickey Free to Uncle Albert Lawrie and Aunty Hazel Lawrie and is shared with the permission of Uncle Bunna Lawrie and Aunty Dorcas Miller.

Dreamtime stories are more than just stories, they are our history lessons, they are our survival stories, they are our language and our maps of our country. We told our history in landmarks and stories to preserve our way of life. We told the stories in Mirning language and it is full of hidden meanings to ensure our lore, custom and culture continues to be preserved and protected. It is also etched in whale stone arrangements and in imprints in the land, sea and caves. Song lines are a map, a story and a museum and through here musical stones were left behind by Jeedara on his journey.

Long ago, in the Dhoogoor, Dreamtime, the great creator spirit Dhoogoorrna created our land and sea; spreading animals, plants, sea creatures and birds across Ngargangurie, the Nullarbor Plains. Dhoogoorma created Jeedara, the great white whale, to protect the ocean and teach the other animals the ways of the creator.

Jeedara came from the yirrerie, the Milky Way. Jeedara swam with djulea, the penguin and wanchilya, the dolphin as they told Jeedara about Yargaryilya, the Seven Sisters, from the yirrerie, the Milky Way, who had bought gifts from Dhoogoorrna.

Dulea and wanchilya pushed Jeedara through the shallows, pushing huge rocks aside, marking his underbelly. As he travelled, he left giant imprints in the land and sea, sacred places to celebrate the Dhoogoor!

The Seven Sisters sang out to Jeedara, though he would not listen. They were his girlfriends and were up in the air looking for Jeedara. He was ashamed because the seven of them were looking for him. So he hid himself in the rocks at Clare Bay, leaving his tail for all to see.

Jeedara got angry and followed them to a place now known as Scott Bay. Jeedara was angry with the Seven Sisters and created all the djalyi, seafoam at Scott Bay.

The Seven Sisters were also angry with him, because he was not listening to them. Jeedara travelled to a place called Mexican Hat. That is where the eldest of the Seven Sisters hit him on the head and made a lump on his head. Today that is why they call it the Mexican Hat.

The Seven Sisters could not win, so they went and left him. Jeedara decided to go to Koombra. There he met two dolphins and they guided him to the Head of the Bight, where there are the Twin Rocks today. This is the women’s part of the story and from there it is the men’s story.

By Miranangu, Head of the Bight, the Seven Sisters hit him, making two blow holes. Garlar, the sacred fire burst from his blowholes marking the land, burning djulea’s feathers and leaving his mark on plants, animals and our ancestors. The yalgoo, blood ran from his wounds becoming the blood of our ancestors and creating the sacred red and yellow ochres.

Djulea was also burnt by the fire, marking him as the Emperor penguin with red and yellow on his feathers. Jeedara told djulea “Do not worry, I give you this so that you can stay warm when you travel to the cold places.” Djulea travelled with the Southern Right whales and decided to stay in the cold lands, also known as the Antarctic.

Showing his great power, Jeedara sprayed the Seven Sisters with djalyi, foaming from his mouth, spout and gigantic jaws. The djalyi fell to the ground becoming djaljirr, flint for making tools and sacred white ochre.

The Seven Sisters were under his spell and gave birth to the Mirning People, to take care of the land and sea for Dhoogoorrna, Yargaryilya and Jeedara.

Jeedara taught us that we must protect our womouum, our home and our belonging, the Ngargangurie, Nullarbor Plains and coastal country and billiaum, sea to look after our brothers and sisters the whales and all marine animals.

Jeedara lashed about with his powerful body and tail, pushing up debris to form the ngargjarnguri, Bunda Cliffs. When he saw his two friends, the black dingo and the white dingo, running alongside him, he pushed up the cliffs and continued west creating the great cliffs.

Jeedara blew the yerrimbai, a magic rainbow to create the great arc of Mirning country. The rainbow light spread out to mark all of Mirning country, land and sea and his creation. Jeedara continued the work of Dhoogoorrna; pushing up the Bunda cliffs, swimming deep into the caves, blowing holes through the cliffs. When Jeedara returned east, this formed the migration path for whales today.

Following the Dhoogoor was a great time of plenty and peace. For tens of thousands of years the Mirning have celebrated this creation story at Miranangu, the Head of the Bight and kept our Mirning law and custom strong.

Jeedara left his legacy and legends, his imprints in the land and sea; making the rainbow arch in the Great Australian Bight, where the whale sanctuary and nursery now is. Every whale coming to Mirning country blows rainbows, acknowledging where they were born. This is why the Southern Right whales return here to give birth. We are still protecting our brothers and sisters the whales.

The story is also shared in this film clip made to protect our Sea Country in the Great Australian Bight.