Billiam Wandana – Nuyts Reef

The reefs formed from the debris that Jeedara pushed up in anger and power; continuing the Creation journey from Biddy Ngandan Wal, Mexican Hat, to Miranangu, Head of the Bight. The story goes that submerged is a big whale imprint, though this is now hidden in the sea.

In Creation times, there was a white Jilgamarda, porcupine or echinda. His name was Baiangoo and he was a companion of Jeedara when he came from the stars. The reef used to be little hills on our Country before it was submerged and this is one of the places of Baiangoo when he walked along the continental shelf. Further West, beyond White Well is a place called Gilgagabi, which comes from Jilga-gabi, porcupine water. Baiangoo, the white porcupine, created all the prickles from Fowlers Bay to Yilgamba, Head of the Bight, White Well and to Gilgagabi hut. The hut is a small house built by Uncle Albert ‘Bulla’ Lawrie, who was a son to Mickey Free Lawrie and father to Aunty Dorcas Miller.

Baiangoo travelled far and swiftly like the Mirning and has been seen at Point Culver in the West and stories have been passed down of Mirning Elders even witnessing him swimming to Manarn, Twin Rocks and in Fowlers Bay with his friends the djooli, penguins. He is said to travel like the Mirning pilgrimage; checking and visiting family and old friends.

One of the best friends to Baiangoo is said to be Koondarra, the big green turtle, who also comes and goes, travelling through our Sea Country. He is said to have been seen at Billiam Wandana, Nuyts Reef, with his friend Koondarra.

The songline of Koondarra, the green turtle, comes from Wililambi, Point Culver and is said to connect around through the sea to the West to as far North as Geraldton. He is believed to live to be over a hundred years old, though we always take care not to disturb him or his songline, which continues East to the islands.

Balgarda, the seal, made his home in the nearby sea and land to his brother, Wardu, the wombat along the coast by Yerlada, Fowlers Bay. Many seals live in and around Billiam Wandana, Nuyts Reef. The Nullarbor has the largest population of Wardu, southern hairy-nosed wombats in Australia, which is classified as near threatened on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Balgada features in the film Sea Lions Life by a Whisker, documenting the world’s most endangered Sea Lions who have their home in the Bight and into Western Australia and are found nowhere else on Earth. Before our whales, it was our seals who were hunted to near extinction in early colonisation. They are still today vulnerable and recovering in numbers, like us Yerkala Mirning people, who at one point the government declared extinct.

World Heritage protection for the Nullarbor and Great Australian Bight in SA – Let’s create one of the greatest conservation estates in the World!