The Vengeful Storm The Legacy of Gwineeboo and Goomai

Kangaroo with stars - Gwineeboos and the Redbreasts

Retribution and Transformation A Tale from the Creek

Venture into the depths of Aboriginal lore with “The Gwineeboos and the Redbreasts” a story of betrayal, justice, and cosmic transformation. This story unfolds by a creek, where Gwineeboo and Goomai, the water rat, cleverly capture a kangaroo only to face deceit from hunters Quarrian and Gidgereegah. As tensions escalate over rightful claims and broken promises, the women’s response invokes the elemental forces of nature, leading to an unforgettable conclusion. This tale intricately weaves human emotions with natural phenomena, illustrating the profound moral and spiritual beliefs of Aboriginal culture and the immutable law of retribution.

Australian Legendary Tales

Anthology of 31 folklore stories from the Noongahburrah tribe of New South Wales

  • Will educate and fascinate readers across a broad spectrum of ages.
  • Cultural heritage of Indigenous Australians from the late 19th century.

Purchase your eBook copy of Australian Legendary Tales and start exploring these enchanting stories wherever you are. Buy now and begin your journey through Australia’s rich indigenous heritage.

The Gwineeboos and the Redbreasts

Gwineeboo and Goomai, the water rat, were gathering mussels in the creek when a kangaroo suddenly leaped into the water beside them. Realizing it was fleeing from hunters, Gwineeboo swiftly struck the kangaroo with her yam stick, killing it as it became entangled in the weeds. The women hid the carcass, fearing the hunters would claim it.

As they returned to their camp with the mussels, the hunters, Quarrian and Gidgereegah, approached, having tracked the kangaroo to the creek. The women denied seeing the animal and invited the men to share their mussel meal. During the dinner, Gwineeboo’s young son kept crying, “Gwineeboo, Gwineeboo. I want kangaroo.”

Quarrian, growing suspicious, accused the women of hiding the kangaroo. Gwineeboo dismissed the child’s pleas, but Goomai, angry at the boy for arousing suspicion, struck him so hard that his mouth bled, staining his breast red. Gwineeboo, furious, hit Goomai, and a fight erupted.

Amid the chaos, Quarrian and Gidgereegah slipped away, planning to return and catch the women off guard. Once the men had gone, the women hurried to retrieve the kangaroo. Just as they were preparing to cook it, the hunters returned, claiming the kangaroo as their own. They took the meat and cooked it, refusing to share with the women or the crying child.

Gwineeboo and Goomai, along with the boy, retreated to a large dardurr (bark humpy) and began chanting a song to summon a storm and punish their enemies. They sang, “Moogaray, Moogaray, May, May, Eehu, Eehu, Doongarah,” which meant, “Come hailstones; come wind; come rain; come lightning.”

As the chant intensified, the weather turned violent. Hailstones larger than duck eggs fell, stripping leaves from the trees and bruising the bark. Desperate, Gidgereegah and Quarrian sought shelter in the women’s dardurr, but Gwineeboo refused, mocking them for their cruelty.

The men pleaded, promising to hunt kangaroos for the women, but the women remained unmoved. The storm grew fiercer, and the women’s chanting grew louder. The young men, facing certain death, were transformed into birds and then into stars in the sky.

To this day, Gidgereegah and Quarrian can be seen in the heavens, with the kangaroo between them, forever bearing the names they held on Earth – a testament to the consequences of their selfishness and the power of Gwineeboo and Goomai’s vengeance.

Adapted from Australian Legendary Tales. Buy the eBook