The Three Brothers

The Three Brothers

These boys, Kowunduh and Yarbirri are part of the next generation of proud indigenous men. For them, even their names will always take them back to their culture and the significant ancestors they were named after.

In pre-colonial times, Bundjalung country encompassed some of the richest hunting and fishing grounds  anywhere on the continent. According to the oral traditions of the Bundjalung, these areas were first  settled by the Three Brothers and their descendants.

THE STORY OF THE THREE BROTHERS:

In the very beginning, Three Brothers Mamoonth, Yarbirri and Birrung together with their wives and mother travelled from far across the sea, arriving on the Australian coast at the mouth of the Clarence River. Their boat, however, was blown out to sea in a storm, so the brothers decided to build new canoes in order to return to their homeland.

They completed building the canoes but could find no sign of their mother who had gone to look for food, so they set off without her. On returning to find she had been left behind, their mother climbed to the top of the hill at Goanna Headland near Evans Head and cursed them for abandoning her. She called to the ocean in anger. The water rose creating the first waves on the North Coast and the wild seas forced the brothers back to land at Bullinah (known as Ballina). Once the seas had abated one of the brothers returned south to find their mother. They settled near Bullinah, developed families and a thriving community.

 

Eventually the brothers decided they had to populate the land, so one went north, another west and the third to the south, forming the three branches of the Bundjalung people. It was through these brothers that this area was populated, and that the laws were passed on.

According to Bundjalung Legend, The Founding Three Brothers made one of their famous landings at what is now Lennox Head said to be near today a group of black rocks on the beach. When one of the brothers Yarbirri, thrust a spear into the sand, fresh water ran (lake Ainsworth) and  it is said when the tide is low you can still see a rusty stain. After their landing at Lennox Head, the Three Brothers moved north towards Brunswick Heads, where they created the first bora ground. Thousands of years later, a bora ground remains at Lennox Head, protected by the National Parks and Wildlife Service and is open to the public.




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