SHELLY BEACH SNIPPETS No. 108 March, 2019.
Patricia Newell-Dunkley Photographs by Reginald J. Dunkley
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Greetings from down under as we move into autumn, although the weather is still very warm with lots of tropical storms mainly in Queensland. However this is a really good time to visit the beautiful Blue Mountains and Leura, N.S.W. with the changing colours of the trees and bushland.
The Blue Mountains is a magical place at any time of year, but special in autumn when it seems to glow. This glorious region is densely populated by oil bearing eucalyptus trees. The atmosphere is filled with finely dispersed droplets of oil, which, in combination with dust particles and water vapour, scatter shorter wave-length rays of light which are predominantly blue in colour, giving it their name.
The Blue Mountains are on the World Heritage List, and a two hour drive from Sydney.
The Three Sisters is the Blue Mountains most spectacular landmark. Located at Echo Point Katoomba, this iconic attraction lures millions of visitors every year. They are essentially an unusual rock formation representing three sisters who according to aboriginal legend were turned into stone.
The character of the Three Sisters changes throughout the day and over the seasons as the sunlight brings out the various colours. They are floodlit each evening and appear even more spectacular against the black background of the night skies.
There are two legends.
The aboriginal dream-time legend has it that three sisters, ‘Meehni’, ‘Wimlah’ and ‘Gunnedoo’ lived in the Jamison Valley as members of the Katoomba Tribe.
These lovely young ladies had fallen love with three brothers from the Nepean Tribe, but tribal law forbade them to marry. The brothers took it upon themselves to use force and capture the sisters causing a major tribal battle.
As the lives of the three sisters were seriously in danger, a witch doctor from the Katoomba tribe decided to turn them into stone for protection. During the battle he was killed. As only he could reverse the spell, the sisters remain in their magnificent rock formation a reminder of this battle for generations to come.
The three sisters ‘Meehni’, ‘Wimlah’ and ‘Gunnedoo’, had a father who was a witch doctor. His name was Tyawan.
Long ago there was a Bunyip who lived in a deep hole and was feared by all.
Passing the hole was very dangerous so whenever Tyawan passed the hole in search of food, he left his daughters safely on the cliff behind a rocky wall.
One fateful day, Tyawan waved goodbye to his daughters and descended down the cliff steps, in the valley.
Meanwhile at the top of the cliff, Meenhi was frightened by a large centipede which suddenly appeared before her. She took a stone and threw it at the centipede. The stone continued on its journey and rolled over the cliff, crashing into the valley below which angered the Bunyip.
The rocky wall behind the sisters began to split open and they were left stranded on a thin ledge at the top of the cliff. All the birds, animals and fairies stopped still as the Bunyip emerged to see the terrified girls.
As the Bunyip began to approach the girls, to protect them from harm, their father used his magic bone to turn them into stone. Angered by this, the Bunyip then began to chase Tyawan. Becoming trapped Tyawan changed himself into a magnificent Lyre Bird, but in the process dropped his magic bone. Tyawan and his three daughters were now safe from the Bunyip.
Once the Bunyip disappeared, Tyawan returned in search of his magic bone but alas it was never found.
The Lyre bird has been searching for this magic bone ever since. Remaining in rock formation, the three sisters stand silently overlooking the valley hoping that one day he will find the bone and turn them back to their former selves.
When visiting the three sisters, if you listen carefully you may be able to hear the Lyre bird, Tyawan, as he continues his quest for his lost magic bone.
The Bunyip is a large mythical creature from Australian Aboriginal mythology.