Moorditj visit Lake Clifton

By Rise
04 November 2022
2 years ago, our Moorditj group went down south to Lake Clifton to see the thrombolites. This year the members got the opportunity to go again and they had an absolute blast.

At the lake, there was a sign, telling an Aboriginal story of how the waterways and Lake Clifton were created. Our Moorditj clients took a photo next to the sign and wanted to share the story with everyone at Rise:

To the Nyugar people of the region, Lake Clifton is a very special place as it is significant in culture and history, with stories passed down from generation to generation. It is a place for the yoka (women) as it tells of the creation of the lake and thrombolites by the Waugal (a mythological serpent that helped to shape the land).

From the local Aboriginal elders and families, we learn how the rivers and estuaries were formed, how the inlet and lakes were made and how it all came together for their people. They called on the Waugal to save them, and she answered them.

This is their story.

"In the Nyitting (beginning) the Aboriginal people who lived in this region had no fresh water and the land was dry and hard. They needed the fresh water to set up their mia mias (camps) so they could live in harmony with the boodja (land). 

The Elders went down to the sea and they prayed to their creator for the water to come fresh. Their creator came out of the wardarn (ocean) in the form of a snake and she was the Waugal. She pushed through the sand and dunes, along her path creating the inlet at Mandja.

Waugal slithered back and forth and carved out a hollow which formed the Djilda (Peel-Harvey Estuary) and here she laid her eggs. She curled her body around her eggs and protected them. In time, some of the eggs hatched and young began to appear. Then they scattered carving out the major bilya (rivers); Yoordinggap (Harvey); Bilya Maadjit (Murray); and Waangamaap (Serpentine).

The little ones, they were fat and they kept going east, up the hills, forming rivers and swamps. They came to be tired and starved as they didn't stop to eat. The grooves they cut became thinner as they were further from their birth place. When their end came, they died and went underground, forming subterranean springs on their way back to their heaven, the wardarn (ocean). Left behind them were water supplied, fresh and plentiful and water was restored to the land once more. 

But the Waugal, she went in search of her young, she went underground and came up at Noorook Yalgorap (Lake Clifton) and Lake Preston. She kept going, looking for them, all the way to Leschenault Estuary at Australind. She never found her babies, instead she burrowed down in the Djilda and where her mouth was, a spring of fresh water comes and it is a place where fish gather and Nyungars can catch them and Waugal, she is still there waiting for her young to return."

The Aboriginal people always live by the rules of the Waugal and hold her in highest reverence for she created the waterways that are their lifeblood.

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