Aboriginal Legends

The Aborigines were the original inhabitants of Australia and the surrounding islands. No one knows when they first arrived estimates range between 40,000 and 125,000 years ago.

Their tales, sometimes know as 'Dreamtime Stories', are nearly always associated with the land, often explaining the reasons for natural features, like rock formations, or how the animals came to be.

Our collection is taken from 'Some Myths and Legends of the Australian Aborigines', by W. J. Thomas, published in 1923.

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Thumbnail For How Fire Was Stolen From The Red-Crested Cockatoo
The story of how man first owned fire, thanks to Tatkanna the Robin who stole it from Mar the cockatoo and ended up with a red breast!
Thumbnail For How The Kangaroo Got A Long Tail And The Wombat A Flat Forehead
Long ago when Mirram the kangaroo and Warreen the wombat who were still men they had a disagreement during a storm, making them the way they are today.
Thumbnail For How The Native Bear Lost His Tail
Once the bear and kangaroo were the best of friends, but one day the bear showed his true nature which meant the kangaroo cut off his tail as a punishment.
Thumbnail For How Stars Were Made
The story of Rolla-Mano, the old man of the sea who one day went fishing and met two beautiful women. His pursuit of them ended up creating the stars.
Thumbnail For How The Sun Was Made
The sun did not always shine on earth. One day an emu egg was thrown to the sky. Ngoudenout, a cloud man saw it so loved by all that he gave it forever.
Thumbnail For A Legend Of The Great Flood
In the dream-time there was a terrible drought. The animals discovered it was caused by a giant frog and planned to make him laugh and release the water.
Thumbnail For The Seven Sisters And The Faithful Lovers
A story from the dream-time when the stars we now call Pleiades, or the Seven Sisters, were seven beautiful ice maidens who were loved by the Berai Berai.
Thumbnail For Thugine, The Rainbow And The Wandering Boys
The story of Thugine a serpent who lives in the sea and makes the rainbow. One day he captured two wandering boys and turned then into two black rocks.
Thumbnail For Why The Crow Is Black
A crow and a hawk went hunting agreeing to share their spoils. The crow did not keep the bargain and the hawk took revenge which is why the crow is black.
Thumbnail For Why The Emu Has Short Wings And The Native Companion A Harsh Voice
Emu once had long wings, but gave them up to vanity and a wish to dance. The native companion played the cruel trick but lost her beautiful voice for ever.
Thumbnail For Why The Fish Hawk Was Driven To The Sea
Fish-hawk went fishing in a waterhole and lost his catch to a pheasant. Teaching him a lesson he stole the pheasant's spears, but this meant both suffered.
Thumbnail For Why Flying Foxes Hang From Trees
The tale of Flying Fox and the Striped-tail Lizard who were friends, apologies this appears to be a fragmented story.
Thumbnail For Why The Whale Spouts
Long ago all the animals now living in Australia were men and lived far away. This is the story of their voyage and how some became the way they are today.

Sources And Further Reading

Sacred Texts Some Myths and Legends of the Australian Aborigines by W. J. Thomas [1923]