Walhallow Public School

Long, long ago, two tribes made their homes not far from a river. But the riverbed was almost completely dry. The dusty earth had cracks in it that were so deep. The tribe from the East and the tribe from the South fought over the land near the river. They would meet at the river every day at sunset when the sky would fill with an array of colour. Every day at sunset, the tribes would fight and argue. Fight and argue.

‘Yiili, Yiili ngaya ginyi’ Angry, I got angry, the tribes would shout. Words like spears were flung out at each other.

The fighting continued day after day, week after week. The fury between the tribes was rapidly growing stronger and stronger. The Eastern tribe made a plan to stop this once and for all. They were going to spear the other tribe with the sharpest spears. But the Southern tribe also had a plan. They were going to hide in the bushes and target their enemies with the biggest boomerangs. All the men were prepared.

The Eastern tribe waited, their hearts pounding. The sun had almost disappeared. The Southern tribe remained hidden from sight. When the time was right, they sprung out and charged towards the Eastern tribe. The Southern tribe used their spears and blood drenched the ground. There was silence. Only a tiny sound was heard. ‘Squeak’. They had hit a baby dhinawan, emu. ‘Gamil, gagil, gagil’! No, no good, shouted the men. Regret filled the air and tears flooded the men’s eyes.

The tribes ran back to their camps to tell the women. ‘Gamil maaru’ badly, carelessly, screamed the women. Clouds covered the moonlight, and the wind began to stir. Thunder rumbled in the distance. The earth was furious. ‘Baawaa, Gunii, Baagii’ Sister, Mother, Grandmother. ‘Come here,’ the women cried, as the storm was building.

There was only one thing to do. Both tribes went back to the river at dawn. They gathered at the meeting place and paid their respects to the dhinawan. The men gathered and the women held hands. They wanted to stick together, they wanted to help. The two tribes stood with eyes closed. BOOM! The earth shook beneath their feet. The men and women opened their eyes. The dried up river was now filled with crystal clear waters and the grass was green and lush. The smell of wildflowers filled the air.

The storm had cleared. But the baby dhinawan had disappeared. The two tribes were in shock. A woman huddled with everyone and spoke, with a wise, firm voice, “We must share this land near the river, our tribes must unite. Look what we have done, we have killed a dhinawan, a future generation. We must never make this mistake again.

“We must look past our differences and rejoice for we only have each other.” Everyone agreed and the two tribes then lived together in harmony.

Artist Statement

My story is about the importance of coming together to unite. When we do not work together, mayhem starts to grow. The two tribes in my story, represent our differences and the tribes learnt that we must appreciate and show understanding of our differences. The only way to true reconciliation is through healing, to help each other and work together by bringing brilliant ideas together. In my story I incorporated my home river, the Mooki, and the traditional language of the land I live on, Gamilaraay language. I used the words I learnt at school. My story aims to teach how we should all work together and have peace and reconciliation.

Reconciliation Means…

Reconciliation is about all people coming together, no matter what we look like. I think reconciliation can be achieved if we all work together and learn about culture.

Written By: Emily Smith Colgan

Teachers Click Here

Many of these resources and activities have been developed in consultation with NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) to ensure that the program meets NSW curriculum outcomes for Stages 3, 4 & 5.