"All the World's a Stage We Pass Through" R. Ayana

Monday 2 July 2007

Guboo: Renewing the Dreaming Part 2

Renewing the Dreaming Part 2

This is the second part of my conversation with the late Guboo Ted Thomas, an Elder of the Yuin Aboriginal tribe at one of his celebrated Dreaming Camps in the mountains of south-eastern Australia… 

R. Ayana: How do Aboriginal people regard Yetis – or Yowies, if you prefer? 

Guboo:  Now the Yowie. For three years running I’ve seen him – I just saw him over there. I was walking with three white girls and the old fella was walking up behind me. 

            I had the feeling someone was following me along the top of the bank. Every time I’d look back I’d see nothing and then as I was walking I just looked up and spotted him treading from one stone to the other. “Oh.” I said to myself. “It’s you.”

            He knew I was there and I knew he was there because I felt him and so I stopped and turned back. Now that’s just three times I’ve seen him in the Budawangs, up here in the mountains. He was seen here – just up the road here – the Yowie was seen. But he won’t come near the tents. He won’t come near you. And he’s a hairy man, a bit balding on the chest. His head comes bending over more than ours and he has a big nose. And he still exists in the mountains in Australia.[At a subsequent Dreaming Camp a year later several guests witnessed a Yowie enter the large central tent. Their stories and descriptions all tallied when I interviewed them separately – Ed] 

R.A.: How tall is he? 

Guboo: He’s about five foot six [inches]. 

R.A.: What’s the shape of the top of his head,

Guboo: Well the top of his head is sharpish – not like ours. 

R.A.: It comes to a point?  

Guboo: Yes, to a point. I’ve seen him for three years running, up in the mountains. Now there’s a bloke up in Katoomba called Rex Gilroy – he’s the ‘Yowie catcher’. He reckons he’s going to get him. He’ll never ever get him! He’s not in the race because [the Yowie’s] like me; a little while back two fellas came and I knew they were coming a long way off and I waited for them. The Yowie knows all the men and sends thoughts by telepathy. And the Yowie – he sees you coming. He knows you’re coming. He laughs sometimes of a night time – just like a kookaburra.

            Now someone said to me the other day they were walking in the bush and they fell asleep. The girls were up there at Pigeon House [Mountain] and they were so sleepy they wanted to have a rest and go to sleep when they were coming down and they lost their way – they took the wrong track. They went off into the bush and that’s where they felt it – some of the girls here – and it was him.

            He’s like that – you get sleepy, tired. You want to be tired, lay down… 


R.A.: Why? 

Guboo: Well, I don’t know. He does that. There’s probably something he wanted to have a look at or take or whatever. [The girls said that when they woke some small items of jewellery and a hairbrush were missing – Ed] 

           We were coming from Bega over the mountain one full moon and he started to sing out and the old fella [Guboo’s grandfather] heard him singing out way up there. You know, the kookaburra doesn’t sing out at night. There were three or four young boys and I, and one fella was so sleepy he wanted to go to sleep, wanted to camp. Grandfather said, “Come on,” and put the boy underneath his arm. He said, “Goolaga’s making him like that.” 

R.A.: Where does he come from? 

Guboo: They’re here, they’re here all the time. They call him Yowie – we call him Goolaga. Yes, he’s here. Now there are forgotten people here and there and he’s one of them. They are also short little fellows – like midgets. 

R.A.: What are they like? 

Guboo: They’re a brownish colour and they don’t wear boots, they go barefoot. Now, if you ever go to Durras, on the north end of Durras Beach you’ll see their cave. Now, sixty-six years ago [in 1922 – Ed] when I walked up to Sydney from down home it took six months because we stopped in one place for a fortnight and we took our time all the way up to Sydney [over 300 miles]. We’d live on the beach on fish and we were better off, we just took our time and walked all the way up. So we walked in front of the cave and saw all their little tracks – like little baby tracks – in and out of the cave. We went into the cave and one of them started to giggle and we all ran out again. That was their cave, they lived in there.We used to live right near the river in a little house. There were a lot of stones and of a night-time you’d hear them. They’d make a sound like a puppy and you’d hear the water splashing as they were trying to catch eels – well, they’re greasy as they go up the creek, and they try to catch them and they slip out of their hands and they hit the rocks and the water’s splashing. We knew what it was but we didn’t go out to see them.

[Standing with Guboo at Blue Gum Flat the next night, we saw the little people catching fish by hand at a ford in the fast-flowing river. They were like small, smooth-skinned humans. Other small people – sometimes called brownjacks – that live elsewhere on this continent are like miniature Goolaga, hairy with pointed headsand varying dispositions – Ed] 

R.A.: Who was it? 

Guboo: The little Goowawas. 

R.A.: Goowawas? 

Guboo: Well, they’re there, the Goowawas. Now, there’s another, a group of women – what we call Maleema. They have long hair right down to here. Pretty women. They live in the mountains. 

R.A.: Are they very small, too? 

Guboo: No, they’re big. The size of me. They’re beautiful and they have long hair. They come to the Nowra Show sometimes and no-one notices them. And they’re the ones with the seeing and they’re still surviving in the south. 

R.A.: They’re brown, too? 

Guboo: Yes, the same colour as myself. 

R.A.: You said Rex didn’t have a chance, he wasn’t in the race… 

Guboo: He isn’t in the race because they know he’s coming, that’s why. When I meditate, I see, and I know exactly when someone is coming – and I know that if I concentrate I can see that fella – in a vision I can see him coming. We knew that Captain Cook was coming thousands of miles away, and all he saw was when we were walking up the beach toward Sydney. We knew he was coming a long time ago.

            You can’t sneak up on me in the bush – I know when you’re coming. I can feel you coming.  So the Yowie – I never interfere with him because he’s part of the world, part of our life; he probably, I’d say, might be the beginning. You know, this is one of the oldest counties in the world as far as I’m concerned. 

R.A.: The beginning of all of us, the Yowie? 

Guboo: Yes, yes. 

The Rainbow Serpent 

R.A.: What about Bunyips? 

Guboo: Bunyip’s a different one. Bunyips are like the Rainbow Serpent. One came up at Wallaga, about two hundred years ago, when white man came. 

R.A.: A Bunyip cam up Wallaga Lake? 

Guboo: Not the Bunyip, the Rainbow Serpent. Underneath where I live, straight out toward Canberra, there’s what they call a big lake, Lake George. You know it goes dry – all the water goes. Well it goes down these holes. Now we’re related to the Aurukun people in the Gulf of Carpentaria and that’s where they talk about the Rainbow Serpent. So underneath that waterhole there’s a big waterway running all the time and that’s where he comes through all that, underneath. 

R.A.: From the Gulf of Carpentaria? [to the north of Australia, thousands of miles distant] 

Guboo: Yes. Right through to Canberra. Now you look in the distance, (Guboo points into the mountains), you see Yaringabilly Caves and that’s a part of the same waterway and then further up you get the Jenolan Caves.  They’re all linked into the one main channel.               

       When I was in the United States a couple of years ago, a spiritual man said to me, “Guboo, our eyes are on Australia, the centre’s going to go under.” The centre’s going to go down. 

            I can really see why, now. Roxby Downs is a big mining place – so that they’re taking millions and millions of gallons of water out. And they’re pumping it out of the centre of Australia to clean the uranium. And you know what they’re leaving? They’re leaving a shelf, and the water’s gone down a long way. And that’s why I believe the centre’s going to go under – because they’re taking all the water out. Taking the pressure off. 

R.A.: The Rainbow Serpent comes down the mountains? 

Guboo: Yes. It’s the Rainbow Serpent that comes out in the in the stone up in Mount Dromedary, backing onto where I live, and you see it at about twenty-five feet high. It’s a big stone and it comes up and curls right down to the ground. It’s just one massive stone going up, his neck and his head. And his eyes are on it {see part 1]. So everything on that mountain is part of our culture, like our Bible – what we believe.

            So that’s it – and thank you for coming around. 

R.A.: Thank you, Guboo.  

-         R.A.


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