Aboriginal anthropology student, Rex Graham, struggles to uncover new research necessary for his graduate thesis—Cultural, philosophical, spiritual, creative and intellectual characteristics of pre-European Aboriginal Societies. His first submission covered a vast expanse of required information, and he is unable to pinpoint additional research to complete the required article, so he to returns to the meeting tree, Gran Yan, hoping to gain inspiration.
More stories unfold while he sleeps under the sacred tree. When he tries to document his experience, his memories have gone. On his birthday he is presented with a second collection of historical art that inspires him to complete his dissertation in detail.
Set in a time circle, book two covers the period when the Booran tribe first returned to their homeland following a long absence. On their arrival, the first-born child, Mullawanda proves to be a genius. His fascination with aerial dynamics, coupled with an adventurous spirit, inspire him to create a gliding apparatus. While testing it, he is caught up in a tornado, and carried to a distant river-land territory, where he meets an advanced tribe, and forms a close friendship with a young warrior who saves his life. The two soul-mates adventures follow parallels, while mysteries from book one, Native Companions, are solved at tribal gatherings.
Adventure, drama, romance and story-time education are highlights of the well-researched book about an unwritten history.
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About the Author
Further to an extensive nursing career, Jennifer embarked on studies in traditional medicine with which she is still involved.
As a registered Traditional Western and Chinese Medicine practitioner, the author has done considerable research into early indigenous cultures. While enjoying creative writing and drawing, she decided to combine the two art forms and incorporate them in a traditional, pre-European setting. The author is particularly fascinated by the ability of Australian indigenous bush-men to access a higher sense, or instinct. Their survival skills in remote regions of Australia where early pioneers often perished are emphasized in her writing.
As a semi-retired health practitioner, she resides with her husband on the North Queensland Coast. Jenni divides her time between writing, sketching and her health practice. Along with her husband she has spent countless hours establishing a bird friendly environment by cultivating native plants and an eco-friendly environment.
Read an Excerpt
Shadows of the Past
As darkness envelopes the forest, trillions of celestial lights fill the heavens. A full moon boldly appears in the eastern sky, commencing its nocturnal westerly journey. The silence is interrupted by an annual event, a chorus of mating cicadas: millions of thumb-sized beetles produce voluminous acoustics of indescribable harmony. Several small squirrel-possums glide through the canopy, their bat-winged limbs extending in kite formation.
'Why didn't a humanoid species evolve like that?' The thought appears as a flash-back in time, causing a weird, déjà vu sinking sensation.
Reflecting on his previous pilgrimage to Yaraan Grove, Rex recalls how fulfilling the experience proved to be. An obsession with his ancestral history left so many questions unanswered. As a result, the young anthropology student is forced to ignore science and engage himself in bush magic, where he can spend his sleeping hours communicating with his grandmother's spirit, convinced she dwells within the tree he refers to as 'Gran Yan'.
Rex is now moving forward towards a degree in research sciences. Science is not a word he likes to use when referring to his prospective career. The very thought of having to prove everything as subject matter, qualitative and quantitative research, appears dull, sterile, lifeless and cold. Empirical research is considered insignificant without scientific evidence. Rex's aboriginality cannot allow him to adopt such scepticism.
His maternal ancestors were ruled by spiritualism, and he is proud of how successfully they had managed the land and all its wildlife, with no thoughts of greed, war or personal gain.
So far, he had been able to practise enough wisdom and discretion to avoid being labelled a new-age hippie. However, he secretly felt that he exactly fitted the description, without the need for long hair, tattoos, free love or dope. He shuddered to think what that would do to his delicate state of mental health.
After reflecting on his purpose for re-visiting this sacred site, Rex is reminded of his appetite and quick to devour the piping hot stew before draining the remains of his tea. Both of his parents understand their son's spiritual connection with this particular stretch of wilderness.
Rex spreads his swag in the location Granelda positioned herself when she shared fragmented remnants of her history: a legacy of artist and story-teller, Great-Grandfather Billoola Booran. By some strange coincidence, the last time he had slept under Gran Yan's canopy: on waking, he was enlightened by a magical story of a bygone era that he had compiled into his second dissertation of the year, earning him a high distinction.
He hopes to stay awake and experience the hypnotic magic of his previous pilgrimage. Maybe it was all a dream. Was he merely recalling childhood memories of stories his grandmother had shared with him under this tree? Dismissing scepticism as negativity, he focuses on his quest for solutions to the missing links in history that would enable him to complete his dissertation, a major component of his doctorate degree.
More importantly, his desire to solve mysteries about his ancestors had become obsessional after discovering the engraved Booran amulet in the desert. Recognising it as part of his heritage, the conscientious student had photographed the ancient artefact exactly where it lay unobtrusively in the creek-bed before slipping it into his pocket unnoticed. He felt justified in breaching regulations concerning aboriginal artefacts, as he planned to hold it in safe-keeping. His people were hopeful of gaining native title over their land and planned to build a museum at Yaraan Grove.
Gran Yan's stories raised further questions in Rex's mind. She had talked about Brolga and Kaii escaping from their people after causing a bush-fire. When they rescued the tribal elder's son, Kuliba, they were fortunate to avoid spear punishment. However, while hiding in the bushland, the two escapees discovered important cave paintings. Rex thought about Billoola Yaraan's paintings and their connection to Gran Yan's stories. There was a painting of a platypus with a desert scene inscribed in its body. The Baalijan tribe were believed to have disappeared during the drought, yet Gran Yan mentioned nomadic survivors.
Did some survivors travel to the desert? The cave drawing portrayed people escaping towards the ocean while the large fish etching appeared to be centred on an island. Images from cave paintings often haunted him during the night. When he closed his eyes, they would f lash before his eyes in technicolour, causing him to blink in an attempt to erase them. Sometimes he wondered if the ghost of his great-great Grandfather was messaging him to search for more answers to the mystery paintings.
Further mysteries presented when Rex was invited to inspect a sacred site at Beringa National Park. The Booran totem was inscribed on a rock wall: a human with wings was etched above the pelican. 'Why do I feel an eerie sensation when the idea of humans with wings comes to mind? Maybe I'll learn more from Gran Yan's dreaming during the night', Rex rationalises, hopeful of staying awake to witness the experience. He dares to fantasize about a tree sharing history with the surrounding bush, suppressing fears for his sanity. He practised great discretion around his friends, avoiding any discussions about aboriginal legends. His fear of a change of diagnosis from Asperger's syndrome to bi-polar illness or worse, terrified the youth. Unperturbed that his persona placed him mildly on the autism spectrum; he considered the diagnosis to be a social label rather than a psychological illness. In fact he was in many ways much happier with being a trifle different. Surprisingly, his psychological profile had proved a distinct advantage in certain sections of the curriculum.
Having almost total recall, he enjoys anthropological research into traditional indigenous languages and cultural behaviors. His fascinations with indigenous history was the driving force that motivated him to pursue a career in anthropology. With an academic IQ score of 120, it was not difficult for him to enroll in the local university campus. He was fortunate that the prospectus for anthropology incorporated indigenous language and culture including archaeology research.
Rex shudders at the thought of having to go through life as a programmed robot with a dreary nine-to-five job, spending most of his time travelling to and from work: long term goals to pay off his house mortgage before retiring and of course, there are the children to educate and program as robots; a wife to divorce during a mid-life crisis when they finally decide to escape their boring lives together. His parents were still happily married, but country people are often different. Anyway, how could a historian remain in a stable relationship while involved in a fulfilling career: working in remote regions for most of his life?
The image of a gorgeous woman suddenly f lashes through his mind, increasing his heart-rate. He recognizes the face as Audrey, the smart young lady who first caught his eye in this exact location. He didn't meet her at the time: his grandmother's memorial service was not an appropriate time for flirting with a pretty girl. Realistically, he was too shy to introduce himself at the time, but when their paths crossed more recently, she proved to be friendly and approachable. Unfortunately; she happened to be a clinical psychologist: naturally that ruled her out. She would have a field day with him if they got to know each other any better.
Rex plans to return to the Beringa Rivers and camp in the grounds. Well she was the manager's daughter, so he would need to know when she was absent from the location if he were to avoid seeing her. Feeling sweaty after a day of constant walking and hill climbing, the mod cons of civilization draw his attention to the key he carries to the men's ablutions block, his father's reward for caretaking the isolated facilities. The dark waters of the lake, with its tangle of submerged vegetation, does not lend itself to night-bathing. Gathering his toiletries, he wanders off for a torch-light shower.
Feeling refreshed after showering, Rex anticipates wakeful communications tonight, unlike the previous visit to his grandmother's resting site. Climbing into his swag and using his back-pack for support, he gazes at Gran Yan's image while thinking about the twists and turns in the previous legends she had shared. The story was like a time circle journey through the lives and adventures of seven generations of Booran people.
His thoughts wander back to Mullawaa the eagle and Wiliwanda as a keeng-keeng. Where on earth did the mythical fable come from? Surprising that his grandmother never shared that story with him as a child. It must have surely been an imaginary legend invented by that priest Ooraawoo to entertain the guests at corroborees. Gran Yan made the story so life-like that Rex almost believed it happened. Fortunately, he had taken care to omit supernatural events from his assignment.
As he reflects on the tribal names and their linages, Rex finds himself thinking out loud. 'Mullawaa informed Wiliwanda that the first-born child was named Mullawanda in honor of the great eagle and the legendary Wiliwanda. I hope you can share that story with the forest tonight, Gran Yan.' Feeling fortunate that no one is present to hear him, a flock of kookaburras cackle loudly, causing Rex to almost double-up with laughter. 'Well, at least the birds won't have me certified,' he shouts out loud. Laying back to watch the moon rise while gazing up at the constellation of Sagittarius, he envisages Wiliwanda eternally admiring Venusa, the evening star.
The magical atmosphere diverts his thoughts about nonsensical behavioural disorders and social mores. Drawn back into his own world, he focuses on the big player, the life force of natural history. Allowing himself to embrace the spirit of the bush, he becomes lost in the magical atmosphere. Gran Yan gazes past him as though unaware of his presence as the forest comes to life before his eyes.
A rustle of leaves breaks the silence, and a half-grown gumbi-gumbi tree communicates for the first time. 'Gran Yan, I really enjoyed your tales about the Booran clan and Wiliwanda's visit as a keeng-keeng. However, you have never mentioned Mullawanda's life, although you did say he grew up to become an important member of the clan. I suspect you may know more about his history, since you once told us he was born and raised here at Yaraan Grove.'
'You are a very astute thinker for your size, young gumbi gumbi. May your healing properties be shared with today's society. Did you know that the indigenous people transported your seeds here after collecting them on their journey back from central desert? In response to your question, I suspect those squirrel-possums gliding overhead prompted your enquiry about Mullawanda's adventures. The fascinating tale is stored in my trunk, but it will be a long night of narrating, so please, no more questions. Now that the camping regulations are stricter I have more opportunities to reminisce about the past, but I believe the holiday season begins in the morning.'
Kookaburras cackle loudly followed by an eerie silence as Gran Yan prepares for her story-telling. Her tales come from near and far, each dreamtime mystery raising more questions about the past.CHAPTER 2
'Eight generations prior to Mullawanda's birth, Senior Elder Wili, along with spiritual elder, Wirinun Wanda, agreed to follow the f light path of their Booran totem, and lead their people to new territory in the north-west of their traditional land. They trusted the migrating waterbirds to take them to a land of many rivers and plentiful fish and hunting game.
Yaraan Grove had suffered from a severe drought for nearly seven years and the Booran clan was struggling to survive. They believed Bunbalama, their rain goddess, had been instructed by Baiame to avoid their territory, due to their ruthless damage to the forest with their boat-building. Their neighbours, the Mullian Tribe, had followed their eagle totem to the southwest coast in pursuit of fresh water and food.
Yaraan Grove was decimated by drought and fires, and Gran Yan was fortunate to have withstood the ravages of nature. The Booran people had managed their territory for many generations, avoiding the ravages of wildfires and managing the land with burn-offs during the right conditions, thus avoiding uncontrollable devastation. Due to the dry conditions, frequent wurley-winds, and dry lightning, it became impossible for the capable land carers to avoid the disaster that decimated this magnificent lakeside country.
During the seven-year drought, thousands of pelicans that inhabited the waterways were starving. Fish were dying in the stagnant lake when they departed as enormous f locks. Trusting the instincts of the wildlife, native people always followed their direction. When the fish-eating water birds departed the lake in a north-westerly direction, the people trusted their survival skills. The Booran people followed their totem bird's flight path to distant, unfamiliar territory. Legends told of freak rain and flooding once in every lifetime. Dreamtime legends described a vast inland sea providing ample food for some time.
During the Booran clan's absence from Yarraan Grove, the rain returned, filling the lake with safe drinking water and freshwater springs resurfaced from beneath the ground. The forest was regenerating and wildlife returned, along with the pelicans and other waterbirds, which happily fed from the lake and bred on the banks. Many years passed before the desert dwelling Booran clan's descendents interpreted unusual phenomena as messages from the spiritual master Baiame, to return to their homeland territory. Gran Yan's leaves swished, and her branches creaked with joy when she first heard Arakoon's powerful voice echo across the lake before seeing her people returning in groups.
The trackers were the first to arrive and with no time to rest, immediately commenced setting up camp: building hearths and lighting camp fires, constructing shelters for the women and children, harpooning fish from the lake and hunting plentiful game. By the time the last of the travellers arrived at their lakeside camp, food was roasting over a large fire. It took the people some time to recover from their long journey, and apart from their short hunting trips, they spent most of their time sleeping and eating.
Bardo was kept busy looking after the health of the women, while her husband, Dumer, the wirigan, attended to the warriors and children ailments and injuries. The clan had travelled for countless moon cycles and seasons, walking all the way from the north-western central desert land, where they had struggled to survive in a difficult environment. Gran Yan listened as they related their journey to visitors from surrounding territories, and she realised what an amazing achievement the long and arduous journey had proven, with no casualties after crossing a vast mountain range and various river systems.
Arakoon's wife, Mandu, was heavily pregnant when she finally arrived here, accompanied by Bardo, and exhausted after such a long journey. As a result, Mandu's labour was most delayed and dragged on for days. Gran Yan recalled that Bardo was unable to deliver the child without the assistance of her gifted partner, Dumer, who saved the infant in good time.
When Mullawanda entered the world, he was not the prettiest piccaninny Gran Yan has ever seen, with his puffy red face. Of course, he soon recovered and became a fine-looking infant. Arakoon and Mandu named the child Mullawanda after the great eagle that guided them safely home from the desert; he was the first child to be born at Yaraan Grove following the return of the Booran clan to their homeland.
At the time, Werrika was the clan's senior elder, a very kind and remarkable warrior, and his wife, Jedda, was also a trusted supporter of the people. Their son, Eerin, was nearly two years old when they arrived here. His naming had taken place prior to the clan's departure on their journey home. Appropriately named after the wise owl, he proved to have all the wisdom in the world and grew up to become an amazing wirinun priest, taking over the role from Ouyarh, who was in poor health for many years after such an arduous journey from the desert.
As a youth, Mullawanda was not a leader of people and was always a very free spirit. As a child, he would often pretend he was a great bird of the sky, just like his totem sign, Mullawanda, named after the great eagle, Mullawaa. The imaginative child spent many hours studying the birds in flight before becoming enlightened by an unusual experience.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Along the Waterways"
Copyright © 2018 Jenni Barnett.
Excerpted by permission of Xlibris.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Book 1: Journey Forward, Looking Back 1
Chapter 1 Yaraan Grove 3
Chapter 2 Moonlight Memories 8
Chapter 3 Cultural Recollections 13
Chapter 4 Branching Memories 16
Chapter 5 Survival Test 21
Chapter 6 Power of the Elements 24
Chapter 7 Midnight Escape 33
Chapter 8 Young Heroes 42
Chapter 9 Midnight Twitter 51
Chapter 10 Midnight Dreaming 54
Chapter 11 Important Preparations 58
Chapter 12 The Corroboree 61
Book 2: Dreamtime Walkabout 65
Chapter 1 Dreamtime Corroboree: Booran Ancestors’ Journey to
Unknown Territory 67
Chapter 2 Oorawoo’s Dreamtime Story: The Final Desert
Chapter 3 Journey South-East to Yaraan Grove 81
Chapter 4 Crossing the Range 86
Book 3: Gran Yan, The Tree of Amazing Memories 93
Chapter 1 Desert Journeys 95
Chapter 2 Awakenings 100
Chapter 3 Journey Forward 112
Chapter 4 Changing Scenery 120
Chapter 5 New Friends 123
Chapter 6 Tribal Welcoming 128
Chapter 7 River Land Life 132
Chapter 8 Journey North-West 136
Book 4: Gathering of the Clans 141
Chapter 1 New Friends from Distant Territories 143
Chapter 2 Victory Celebrations 150
Chapter 3 Return Journey to the River Land 158
Chapter 4 Beringa Clan Gathering 165
Book 5: Transition 171
Chapter 1 Wiliwanda’s New Awakening 173
Chapter 2 Transformation 175
Chapter 3 Discovering his Wings 180
Chapter 4 The last of the Mullians 182
Chapter 5 The Golden Waters 189
Chapter 6 Time Journey 192
Chapter 7 The Third Dimension 197
Chapter 8 Jenta’s Story of the Kokata Epic 205
Chapter 9 Wiliwanda Continues on His Time Journey 211
Book 6: Dreamtime Circle 217
Chapter 1 Booran Tribe of Yaraan Grove 219
Chapter 2 Search for Secrets: the Mullian People 225
Chapter 3 Mount Wyungare 230
Chapter 4 Golden Visions 234
Chapter 5 Journey Home 238
About the Author 257