The Legend & Song Storytellers



What is history and what is legend – these are the questions for which we seek answers.

Aboriginal legendary stories are accounts of folk ancestral heroes and spiritual teachings told in song, dance and oral verse. Told by both men and women, they are presented at campfires; to clan family members; to young children; and to those being initiated into higher degrees of spiritual teaching. To some Europeans, they are nothing more than childlike stories of curiosity – their interpretations often under-estimated. Some have hidden codes of teaching revealed only to those permitted to understand the sacred inner secrets of their spiritual life, social structures, cultural significances, oral and artistic expression dutifully passed from generation to generation – their only means of perpetuating a history through entrusted “History Teachers” or “Keepers of Legends” in the absence of any written language.

In doing so over the centuries, interpretations varied as each “teller” added his or her translation (just reminders of all European histories). A legend told at one end of ancestral lands will differ from that told at the opposite. Concepts however remain the same with demarcations between truth and fiction becoming a point of detention. Without any clear and genuine guidance, we, as Europeans coming to understand the intricacies of all Aboriginal culture, are therefore resigned to accept the end interpreted history as told to us by modern “storytellers” at face value whether they be right or wrongful versions.

For the Aborigine, legends and songs was their way of life – a soul and spiritual connection to the land telling of their purpose in the cycle of life and harmonious relationships through ancestral teachings, spirit world heroes and legendary creatures – characters of whom are presented as living examples of past existences. To many Europeans (including many modern-day Aboriginal descendents), these secret dualities and characters remain a mystery. All experience difficulties in understanding because modern civilisation has diverted them from their original lifestyles. The ancient secrets have become lost – those with the knowledge of the innermost teachings have long gone to their Sky World without passing on their many centuries of knowledge. Today, old legends are regarded as just stories. How wrong they are in their perceptions!

In today’s commercial world we see many forms of “Aboriginal” legend – some are genuine – others are modern “concoctions” – compositions having no real meaning to old definitive and cultural beliefs. They have become widely accepted as “truthful stories” much to historical concern. These “versions” often (and sadly) offer a much-distorted insight into the old cultures. Adding to the confusion, they are perpetuated by modern self-appointed storyteller “Elders”. Of greater concern is that any old “genuine” storyteller accreditations; dates, and the places of telling are never shown to verify their authenticity.

Serious researchers into what remains of the clan histories of the Mary River valley over the past 20 years, now have a unique, rare collection of unedited genuine Ka’bi legends and songs – a collection now believed to be the oldest ever recorded for the Ka’bi peoples of the Gympie-Mary River Valley-Cooloola Coast region and their neighbouring clan associates in South East Queensland. To maintain authenticity, this collection has been researched, assembled, presented, and accredited to the known recorded original storytellers (c.1851-1938) in their near-original English-Ka’bi-Wak’ka interpretations from early anthropological records by early station holders in the region. The entire collection is now available to those who love Aboriginal storytelling ideals and their hidden philosophies.

The recorded storytellers of the Ka’bi clans in the Mary River valley are shown as follows:

- The Ka’bi Storytellers -
“The last of a Ka’bi dynasty of warriors in the Mary River Valley region”

* Denotes repaired original photographic depiction c.1900
** Denotes computer enhanced photographs of known persons taken from damaged glass slides c.1880
*** Denotes presumed computer enhanced representations from water damaged glass slides (date unknown)


Nga’tjarali **
(Male Leader of
the Ka’bi Kgai’ya
associated clans)
18?? – 1885



Kgol-kgorun’gani **
(Female Leader of
the Ka’bi Kgai’ya
associated clans)
18?? – 1885


Dhakkan’guini *
Ka’bi Kgai’ya
c.1846 – 1938


Dhara’kgau’wani ? ***
Ka’bi Kgi’kgami
18?? – 1859

Jali’jali’mare ? ***
Ka’bi Kgu’li
18?? - 1859

Kgilan’kgula’wa ? ***
Ka’bi Kgai’ya
18?? - 1859
The Family of Storytellers:
  • Dhakkan’guini, the last warrior of the Ka’bi Kgai’ya clan (c.1846-1938)
  • His wife Wollan’winni of the Ka’bi Kgu’li clan (1867-1902)
  • His father Nga’tjarali of the Ka’bi Kgai’ya clan (?-1885)
  • His mother Kgol-Kgorun’gani of the Ka’bi Kgi’kgami clan (?-1885)
  • His sister Dhiwana’wani of the Ka’bi Kgai’ya clan (c.1847-1885)
  • His brother Dhi’burgan’i of the Ka’bi Kgai’ya clan (c.1851-1885)
  • Jali’jali’mare of the Ka’bi Kgu’li clan (?-1859) - Brother of Wollan’winni
  • Wum’bali of the Ka’bi Kgu’thari clan (c.1840-1868) - Husband of Dhiwana’wani
  • Monarun’gani of the Ka’bi Kgi’kgami clan (1853-1871) - Wife of Dhi’burgan’i
  • Kgilan’kgulawa of the Ka’bi Kgai’ya clan (?-1859) - Brother of Ngat’jarali
  • Dhara’kgauwan’i of the Ka’bi Kgi’kgami clan (?-1859) - Brother of Kgol-Kgorun’gani
  • Yindiri’ni of the Ka’bi Kgai’ya clan (?-1885) - Women’s Spiritual Sorcerer
  • Nga’tjuwee of the Ka’bi Kgai’ya clan (?-1885) - Men’s Spiritual Sorcerer
  • Munna’wani of the Ka’bi Kgi’kgami clan (?-1885) - Male Leader of the Kgi’kgami
  • Ura’dangi of the Ka’bi Kgi’gami clan (?-1884) - Wife of Munna’wani
  • Wai’yara of the Wak’ka Bin’u-Binur clan (?-1904) - Wife of Waru’bimba (Wk) (??-1911)
  • Waru’bimba of the Wak’ka Bin’u-Bin’ur clan (?-1911) - Male Leader of the Bin’u-Bin’ur
  • Bpai’dai’tjali of the Ka’bi Kgi’kgami clan (?-1885) - Men’s Spiritual Sorcerer
  • Mumbei’tjala of the Ka’bi Kgu’li clan (?-1885) - Male Leader of the Kgu’li
  • Mu’warranee of the Ka’bi Kgu’thari clan (?-1879) - Male Leader of the Kgu’thari
  • Woon’ganina of the Ka’bi Kgu’thari clan (?-1885) - Wife of Mu’warranee
  • Girraman’jira of the Ka’bi Dhi’lumi coastal clan (?-1864) - Men’s Spiritual Sorcerer
  • Nyi’banji’mara of the Ka’bi Kgu’thari clan (?-1882) - Men’s Spiritual Sorcerer
  • Kgawoon’ganee of the Ka’bi Kgu’li clan (?-?) - One of the old Male Sorcerers*
  • Nu’rraweena of the Ka’bi Kgut’dhirri clan (?-?) - One of the old Male Sorcerers*
  • Kabba’nee of the Ka’bi Kgi’kgami clan (?-?) - One of the old Male Sorcerers*
  • Burra’yanni of the Ka’bi Kgai’ya clan (?-?) - One of the old Male Sorcerers*
  • Bowalum’tji of the Ka’bi Dha’kgulu coastal clan (?-1884) - Male Leader of the Dha’kgulu
  • Kwowal’yerra of the Ka’bi Dha’kgulu coastal clan (?-1884) - Men’s Spiritual Sorcerer
  • Jau’arnoo’gurri of the Ka’bi Kgu’li clan (?-1882) - Men’s Spiritual Sorcerer
  • Dai’jarlee of the Ka’bi Dhu’pirri coastal clan (?-1884) - Male Leader of the Dhu’pirri
  • Karbun’yamirri of the Ka’bi Dhim’bari coastal clan (?-?) - Male Leader of the Dhim’bari*

(* These were very old men at the time - deaths not recorded – they went away and did not return.)

The legacy of these Ka’bi Clan storytellers now held in trust includes nearly 60 Legends, Songs and Chants that have been categorised into four groups – Special Places – Gods of the Sky World – Spirit Creatures – General Songs, Chants and Mantras. It is one of a kind.

The following reproduction is a sacred chant of a true Ka’bi descendent. Only he or she will know the sacred ancestral spirits and places that must be said (where shown) in claiming rightful “guardianships over their lands”. To perform the chant with wrongful titles we are to understand will incur the wrath of the ancestral spirits of the clan lands in question:

“Dha'una kani-kan'igana yi'ki kal'angi - Ngara!
Dha'guna jun'jaringa - Ngara!
*......... *......... *......... *......... *.........
Ngin'dai mun'dha nyen'ani
Ban'dha'-an ngal'in-ngur bai'ya-bal'uman dhan-a'bu-nga kurraman
Kguan'gulamo ngai'go **........ Ngu’punathin
Ngam-kal'im mundha'mathi **.......... yau'ar-nuva kari'-nga wua-iu
**.......... Ka'di-angula'mo da'jiva-yali'man
Ngin-bu'la mu'ru-yen'amana yang'ga-kga'langa
**.......... Kguan'gulamo kga'inga-muruna-yen'aman ngai'ngur-yu'ruin'kin
Mu'runa-yenama'thi ngai yang'ga kgalan'gulam-bula
Jun'jarin-nga dha'guna yau'-imba ngulam'bula
Wan'dhuraman bpi'yabaman'da wun'dumana-jun'jarin
Jun'jari-wundu'man **.......... bpi'yabaman'da wan'dhuraman
Ka'alba dom'ka-jun'jari'nga kal'ang-ngur
Dhom'kga ngai'du mun'dha nul'la wan'dhuramana yang'galin”

* The five sacred spirits and ** the five sacred places that must be said according to tradition.

For a more precise documentary on all the material displayed on this website, the information is available on request by serious researchers - See contact addresses and further information details on the “General Information” page of this website.


Home         Next Page         Further Information

Copyright 2004 - All rights reserved