top of page

Yorta Yorta: Ina Yillian - the creation of the Dungala, translated by Aunty Zeta Thomson

Ina yillian nbanga gungaia tu-tu-la tun-gudya ganggawa woka. Womeriga Biami nha-wal Gumukan Winyan mulamuk coolaman. Biami ngarri Gumuka birra birra ngana nyan-uk mayila. Paabia wurwich winyarrin nunyir birra broongama ngana woka paabia baka-narrak.

Gumuka winyaril yawal burraya yorta naan mayila. Djinagaga paabia marralatjum yawal thurramdjuba galka winyarrin nunyir woka. Conamurra thulla Gumuka yawal burroya yoorunguk yurratha, bayeet yeeta imigo mayila dora gaka. Biami garaba Gumuka Winya yorta naan. Biami yarganidia dora Gane. Gane ngani wy-yeen nukul woka. Gane woda-amoo Biami yargandia bookoot woka. Nhawal dhamnal ganatj gangawa woka. Womeriga Biami lotjpatj dora birayarwool Gumuka-narrak Winya-narrak yanagai Gane broongama nyanuk.

Gumuka bawu turneja punrira nurruga moogoo winyarrin nunyir bait-tun woka. Kalimna boorja choondonga kyema deekula woota yedabila. Biamil yargandia wooata munura mugingula gorkarra, gangangoor gangangoor wurumaty uta gorkarra gangawa uta Dangala, Yorta Yorta woongle moolaawa malawa uniar.

In the time of creation there was a calm over the vast, mist-covered land. Biami the Creator Spirit saw the old woman, Gumuk Winga, with her empty coolaman. She looked very hungry. Biami then told the old woman to go and search for some yams. So she then picked up her digging stick and set out across the land with her dog.

The old woman walked and walked a long way away and could not see any yams. As time went on she became very weary, walking slowly with her digging stick dragging along the earth. Day turned to night, she walked far under the moonlit sky, singing softly and hoping for some yams to appear.Biami waited for the old woman but could not see her anywhere. Biami called out to Gane, the great rainbow Snake, who was laying asleep beneath the earth. When Gane heard Biami calling out to him, he lifted his head and made his way to the surface of the earth. He lay there looking out over the dry land when Biami asked him to go and find the old woman and bring her back safely.

Gane then set off following the marks in the earth left by the old woman’s digging stick. His great body moved across the land pushing the earth into hills and valleys, leaving deep crevices in the earth. Beautiful colours from his body spread throughout, covering trees, plants, birds, butterflies and all other creatures.

Then Biami called out in a loud voice, and thunder cracked as lightning flashed across the sky and rain fell. It rained for days, filling up the deep crevices in the earth that were made from the rainbow snake’s body. Then the rain stopped and the mist cleared and the river Dungala was formed. This is the name used by the Yorta Yorta people. Others know it as the Murray River.


Story Credits


Ina Yillian Story translated by Djetcha Zeta Thomson – Yorta Yorta Murray River Photo: Jean-Marc La Roque: Andrea


Creative Victoria

Terms of use

Contact Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages


The writers, photographers and the State of Victoria

Permission to post with acknowledgments from Aunty Zeta Thomson

1,042 views0 comments


bottom of page