The Indigenous Story of Mt Gulaga – NSW
As described Cheryl Davison – a leading artist from the South Coast. Her mother’s family are Walbanga people from Eurobodalla and the Ngarigo people in the Snowy Mountains region. Her family is also connected to the Wallaga Lake Aboriginal community
“Mt Gulaga mountain is a very significant Aboriginal site. This is a story that was told to me by my family and my grandfather, Reggie Walker. My grandfather was a fisherman, he’d row his boat right out to sea and he’d tell us “When you’re out there it just looks like a lady, laying down.”
The story goes that Guluga was walking east collecting bush tuckers with her two sons, Najanuga and Barranguba. Barranguba said to his mother, “I want to move away and set up my own camp.” She said “Well you can just move out there into the ocean with the fish and the whales and the dolphins, not too far away you can set up your camp because I still need to keep an eye on you”. And so he went out into the ocean and lay down and turned into the island.
When Najanuga saw this he said “Well I want to move away and have my own camp as well.” But she said “No, you’re too young, you just stay here at my feet so you’re within arms’ reach of me and I can look after you.” So he just sits there at her feet and she’s the mountain, and she’s pregnant, having a baby.
Now the landscape itself of the mountain, around this area which is the Central Tilba, Tilba Tilba area, that’s traditionally all birthing place for the South Coast women.
The possum cloud there is actually her possum skin cloak, and when it’s cold the cloud comes over Gulaga like a big possum skin cloak, so I always put the possum in that painting. This is where I’m from.
These stories are from my ancestors, and they’re probably thousands of years old. They’ve just been handed down from generation to generation, and I’m pretty lucky to know the story and be able to pass it on to my daughter, Tamsin, and hopefully my grandkids.”