Joodganah (Bower Bird)


Jack Jnr Macale Loodgebuddunge

Way back in the dreamtime animals and humans lived together in harmony sharing the land, helping each other out and they did a lot of things together.

Wadawhyie, the blue falcon, was close to the children and the people. Joodganah, who was known as the stealing bird, and sometimes he got jealous of Wadawhyie because he was very popular and most loved by the people. One day when Wadawhyie was swimming in the springs with the children Joodganah was getting angry and jealous, so he decided to hide the water from the Bunuba people.

One morning everyone got up and to their surprise all the water was gone in the springs, rivers and billabongs, it was all gone. Everyone was asking what had happened. So the Elders of the Bunuba people gave the job to Wadawhyie to find out what happened to the water. He flew everywhere and he could see the rivers and the billabongs all dried up. He searched everywhere, he checked north, south, east and west and nothing. But there was one place he didn’t look, that was the cave that belongs to Joodganah. That place is called Jidgingarda. This place is known to Bunuba people as a women’s sacred site and no men are allowed to go there. This place is part of my Grandfather’s ceremonial song which was passed on to him by the Rayi (the little people).

I remember Grandfather saying this was my mother’s dreaming place. Personally, I believe that it is true because as on many occasions I have experienced some personal breakdowns with my journey in life and that dream often comes to me when I am dreaming or when I am about to get up from a sleep. The next day in real life I always get visited from Bower Birds, my mother’s dreaming, and I know that that day is going to be a good day.

This site is where Wadawhyie found that Joodganah hid all of the water from the Bunuba people. Wadawhyie quickly flew back to the Elders and told them where all the water, so the Elders told Wadawhyie to do something straight away. They gave him this special stick and they told him to fly so high in the sky and once he was high enough, they told him to release the stick and guide it towards where Joodganah lived.

As the stick entered Joodganah cave water came gushing out and quickly rushed back filling up all the billabongs, springs, rivers and all the empty sites where Joodganah had taken the water from. Bunuba people were happy the water came back and filled everything up again.

After that had happened this is one of the places in the world which the rarest yellow diamonds come from. Bunuba people say the yellow diamonds are the eggs of Joodganah that were destroyed when Wadawhyie dropped the stick and freed the water. Today there is a mine called Kimberley Diamonds that mines the yellow diamonds.