Yirmbal - The Rainbow Serpent

In one of the rock art sites we visit on tour is a beautiful painting of Yirmbal, the Rainbow Serpent. In fact there are two paintings here, and you can see a second, older serpent below the more prominent one. 

This is a very special place for us, as for the Nugal-warra the Rainbow Serpent is the symbol of the Creator. This is because it brings together the two vital elements which sustain life on earth: water and light. The shape of the serpent is the same as a flowing river as it meanders its way through the landscape carrying life-giving water; and a rainbow is what happens when this water comes together with light. 

In Aboriginal legend, the Rainbow Serpent lives at a waterfall, as shown by the rainbow you always see there. For this reason Aboriginal people regard waterfalls as sacred places which should be treated with great respect.

The Nugal-warra people also have a special place which is a spiritual reminder to us - a bit like a temple or a church. This is Gubal da Gathay, or Connor's Knob, which we can see from many miles away. This was believed to have been formed when the Rainbow Serpent curled up and went to sleep at the top of the hill; and when it awoke and left, the shape of the sleeping snake remained.

You can see the rock painting of the Rainbow Serpent on both our Great Emu and Rainbow Serpent Tours.

More rock art stories... 
Yirmbal - The Creation Story
Warra & the Circle of Life
Guurrbi & Ngamu the Guurrbi Man



Andi of My Beautiful Adventures said...

What an interesting story!!!

Cathryn said...

Ah - this is a sacred site I'd feel honoured to see, a story I'd love to hear in more detail.