By Patricia Newell-Dunkley.


According to Aboriginal belief, all life as it is today –  Human, Animal, Bird and Fish is part of one vast unchanging network of relationships which can be traced to the great spirit ancestors of the Dreamtime.


Far off in Dreamtime, there were only people, no animals or birds, no trees or bushes, no hills or mountains.

The country was flat.  Goorialia, the great Rainbow Serpent, stirred and set off to look for his own tribe.  He travelled across Australia from South to North.  He reached Cape York where he stopped and made a big red mountain called Naralullgan. He listened to the wind and heard only voices speaking strange languages.

aboriginal3This is not my country, the people here speak a different tongue. I must look for my own people.  Goorialla left Naralullgan and his huge body made a deep gorge where he came down.  He travelled North for many days and his tracks made the creeks and rivers as he journeyed North.  Goorialla made two more mountains, one of the Naradunga was long made of granite, and the other had sharp peaks and five caves and was called, Minalinha. One day Goorialla heard singing and said, “Those are my people, they are holding a big Bora.”  At the meeting place of the two rivers, Goorialla found his own people singing and dancing. He watched for a long time, and then he came out and was welcomed by his people.  He showed the men how to dress properly and taught them to dance.  A big storm was gathering, so all the people built humpies for shelter.

aboriginal2Two young men, the bil-bil or Rainbow Lorikeet brothers came looking for shelter but no one had any room.  They asked their grandmother, the Star Woman but she had too many dogs and couldn’t help them.  The Bil-bil brothers went to Goorialla who was snoring in his humpy but he had no room.  The rain got heavier and the boys went back to Goorialla and called out that the rain was heavy.  Goorialla said, “All right come in now.”  The Bil-bil brothers ran into Goorialla’s mouth and he swallowed them.  Then he began to worry about what the people would say when they found the boys missing. He decided to travel North to Bora-bunaru, the only great natural mountain in the land.  Next morning the people found that the boys were gone and saw the tracks of Goorialla and knew that he had swallowed them.

You may never see these lakes or mountains, but after the rain you will see his spirit in the sky, which is the rainbow.  This is the reason why he is called Goorialla the Rainbow Serpent.


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About Patricia Newell-Dunkley

I am an artist writer, born in Sussex, Shoreham-on-Sea and educated at Ealing Modern School in London. I studied amongst other subjects English Literature and Art which sowed the seeds for what would become a lifelong passion. It was not until 1970, after moving to Australia, that I began to satisfy my artistic desire when I first started Porcelain on-glaze painting using mineral oxides paint, a style which would become my forte. Within six months I had bought a kiln, and I embarked on an extensive series of courses over the following years in Grounding, Gold and Silver Gilding, Lustres, Raised Paste and Pen work. In 1980 I began to offer my art through a number of major Sydney outlets. Initially the Fine Art Department of the Myers City Store, followed by David Jones, Grace Brothers, The International Airport, Micawbers Antiques, Bourke’s Hilton Hotel, Roseville Gallery and Toowoon Bay Gallery. Over the years my painting styles have expanded to include Oil, Pastel, and Watercolours. I am a member of the Society of Authors and also a member of the Society of Women Writers and Journalists UK. My writing includes articles and poems published in This England, Evergreen, and The Radio ABC Pot Pourri of Poems, as well as short stories. “The Complete Guide to Painting and Decorating Porcelain,” “Wallis the Woman I Love,” a narrative poem, “Letters of a Travelling Lady,” and six romantic novels.