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Didane the Koala (folklore)

Back in the Dreamtime, the rugged Carnarvon area was a very hot, dry place. There were no trees or bushes, and no grass.

When the first people arrived, the country seemed new and strange, with narrow gorges and the towering sandstone cliffs of Boodyadella, the main dividing range. The people came to love these craggy ranges, but were sad that no trees or grass grew.

Some animals were already living in the ranges–Ngaargoo the grey kangaroo, Waarunn the wallaby and Didane the koala. They, too, were sad about the dry treeless land.

The tribal elders met to discuss the problem. They wanted to bring trees and plants to this beautiful country. But how? One wise elder suggested they try to get seeds from the trees growing in the sky. Perhaps a strong boomerang thrower could hit the trees and knock down the seeds.

The warriors of the tribe were called together, and the elders told them of their plan. All the warriors wanted to help. Each thought he would be the one to knock down the seeds.

The whole tribe gathered round. One by one, the warriors moved to the centre of the group and threw their boomerangs as hard as they could.

As the people watched in silence, the boomerangs swirled upwards into the sky, but then fell back earth.

After the last boomerang fell, the worried elders sat down again and talked about the problem. One wise old man with a white beard suggested they ask Didane the koala for help. With his broad chest and powerful arms the koala must be a good boomerang thrower.

Didane agreed to try. His friends Ngaargoo and Waarunn came with him to the place where the tribe had gathered. Didade brought his largest war boomerang. Silence fell on the group as he prepared to throw it.

With a tremendous swing Didane hurled his huge boomerang up into the sky. Its swishing sound faded away as it passed through the clouds and out of sight. All eyes were fixed on the sky as they waited for the boomerang to return.

They waited a long time. The boomerang seemed lost forever. Some of the women began to weep. They knew that if Didane’s powerful boomerang could not reach the trees there would be no hope for their land.

Suddenly a shower of seeds began to fall. Seeds of every kind, large and small, rained down on the hot, dry earth.

With shouts of joy the people began to dance around Didane. The was now a hear. Soon the rain came, cooling the land and filling the rivers. The seeds knocked from the sky by Didane’s boomerang began to grow in the fertile soil.

Jackson, Stephen. Koala : Origins of an Icon. Belmont: Allen & Unwin, 2008.

Source: Walsh, G.L. (1985), <i>Didane the Koala,</i> Brisbane University of Queensland Press, pp. 2-36.

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