The story of the whale dreaming is told by Ray Ingrey as it was taught to him.
Our old people talked about a land in the distant east, ngarawan, a long time ago, it was once occupied by our very old people. The land was no good for hunting and it was decided that they look for better hunting grounds. The people knew that their small canoes wouldn’t make it and there was only one vessel big enough to take them all safely across the sea
Whale, who was a large person had the only vessel that could make the journey, but he was greedy and wouldn’t share with anyone. The people kept watching whale and his vessel in hope that he may leave it for just enough time for everyone to get in it and start their journey. But whale never left his big vessel. The people held a secret meeting and it was decided that starfish, being a great friend of whales would distract him enough for everyone to get in and row away. The next morning starfish said to whale “come over here and let me go through your hair and get all the lice for you”.
Whale was annoyed by the lice in his hair so he tied his big canoe to a rock nearby and laid down to allow starfish to go through his hair. Starfish signalled to the other people to start getting in whale’s vessel. As starfish was scratching near whale’s ears so he couldn’t hear the boat being taken, whale asked “starfish is my barangga ok?” which starfish replied, using two pieces of wood nearby, “yes can you hear, I am tapping on it”. This continued and as whale’s vessel was nearly out of sight whale lifted his head and realizing he had been betrayed by his friend, went into a great rage and had fought starfish. The fight lasted a little while with starfish striking whale with one of the sticks he was using to tap together, piercing it into the top of whale’s head.
Whale fought and beat starfish until he couldn’t move anymore. Because of that battle starfish fell to the bottom of the sea and turned into the starfish we know today. Whale jumped into the sea and started to take pursuit of his vessel. As he was swimming he started turning into the humpback whale and still furious at starfish he spurted blood, then water, from the hole that starfish made. The pursuit lasted days and days and towards the end when everyone started to get tired and was too exhausted to row, Koala continued to row, showing off his big arms. As he kept rowing his arms got stronger and he started to get grey fur everywhere on his body.
Eventually they saw new land and whale was close behind, and in his excitement the crane started to dance and grew feathers and a beak. As his long legs started to appear he put holes in the bottom of whale’s vessel, bringing water into it. As they reached land, and the people now animals hopped out of the vessel, koala pushed it out into the sea and it turned upside down and turned into a large island off Lake Illawarra called ‘gangmangang’.
Koala, was so exhausted he crawled up into a tree where he slept, hanging onto the trees with his large arms. Crane continues to dance when he gets excited. Whale and his ancestors continue to look for his canoe, spurting water from the hole starfish made, swimming up and down our coastline and within our country. We can tell where whale and his ancestors have been by the islands in our country (harbours and bays) stretching from Sydney Harbour and down the coast to the Shoalhaven.