The Legend of Gympie
|The Legend of Gympie (or alternatively
"The Legend of the Yellow Stone") was first recorded nearly 150 years ago
(c.1858) through contact with the ancient Kabi Kgai'ya, Kabi Kgu'li and
Kabi Kgu'thari clans of the central Mary River Valley region centred on Gympie City
in S. E. Queensland long before full European settlement of the area took place. At the
time, remote station settlements had already begun to make inroads upon the age-old native
cultures and explorers of opportunity roamed the area.
This legendary story was originally recorded in the native language according to ancient clan law with the permission of the Nga'tja-guru (Spiritual Teachers/Clever Ones/Elder Men). It is possibly the oldest Aboriginal legend fully documented in Queensland perhaps Australia. The Nga'tja (Storytellers) of the three major clans explained the complete story during a three day (3-5 February 1858) Yau'ar-war'rai (song and dance gathering) at the junction of the waterholes of Kgim'pbi (now called Pie and Eel Creeks) where they join the Mary River north of Gympie City today. The site was also a special initiation Dhur (celebration ring) location.
Fully interpreted at a later period from the Kabi language into an English version by an aboriginal historian with the full assistance of his long time Aboriginal companion and close friend Dhakkanguini (the last surviving member of the feared Ka'bi Kgaiya warrior peoples of the Gympie region of south-east Queensland), the legend is full of mystery with references to unknown and unrecorded events, and Dreamtime heroes of an ancient time past. It is unlike the Aboriginal legends we are presented with commercially today. It is an invaluable record.
It is also one of a kind because very few records of the language, customs and legends of the Mary River and Gympie region Ka'bi clans exist today because no major effort was ever made to record the ancient culture in those early pioneering days. Those that do exist are fragmented and often wrongly misconstrued - recorded for the sole use and purposes of early missionaries and government officials living outside the original clan territories of the traditional Ka'bi peoples.
The last of the modern-day-claimed unconfirmed members of an Upper Mary River-Kenilworth clan - Joe, Lucy, Doris, Mary Ann, Evelyn and Cliff Monkland (name adoption c.1905) were apparently relocated with a Jenny and Billy Lillis and Val Davey to Cherbourg. All but Evelyn and Cliff Monkland believed died c.1910-20. Willie and Emma Dunn (the last recorded Gympie Clan members) died of old age at Gympie (c.1923-25) leaving no descendants. The last of the old Noosa clans died at Cherbourg without descendents in the very early 1900s according to Sunshine Coast historian Nancy Cato.
The last Ka'bi Kgaiya warrior of the Widgee
region and only surviving Nga'tja-guru (teacher) of that once-feared Mary River clan
(Dhakkanguini) spent his final years at Gayndah (c.1914-1938) in the Burnett
District north west of Gympie as a close member of an early pioneers family.
Dhakkanguinis wife and three sons (Kabi Kguli-Kgaiya
origins) met untimely deaths in 1902, 1892, 1890 and 1881.
The complex story goes on to tell of how the evil Kgippandingi
destroyed his brother Yuludara as he conquered the lands and the peoples; how they both
rose up into the sky where there was a great battle in the sky which had devastating
results upon the Earth and the peoples there.
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