In dreaming terms, the first Gunaikurnai came down from the mountains in Victoria’s northwest carrying his canoe on his head.
He was Borun, the pelican. He crossed over the river at what is now Sale, and walked on alone to Tarra Warackel (Port Albert) in the west.
As he walked, he heard a constant tapping sound but could not identify it. When he reached the deep water of the inlets, Borun put down his canoe and, much to his surprise, there was a woman in it. She was Tuk, the musk duck.
He was very happy to see her and she became his wife and the mother of the Gunaikurnai people - they are the parents of the five Gunaikurnai clans.
Den of Nargun
The cave where the Nargun lived, called the Den of Nargun, is found on Woolshed Creek, a small tributary of the Mitchell River in the Mitchell River National Park, about one kilometre upstream from where the creek joins the river.
After heavy rainfall, the opening of the cave may be hidden by a waterfall. The den was once rimmed with stalactites, but unfortunately these have been broken off as souvenirs by visitors over the years.
The area is a site of high Aboriginal cultural significance, and is located on the Batuluk Aboriginal Cultural Trail.
Stories were told around Aboriginal campfires about how the half stone, half human Nargun would abduct children who visited the rock pool.
It was said the Nargun could not be harmed with boomerangs or spears, as they would be reflected back to the thrower.
The Den of Nargun was considered a special place for women of the Gunai tribe and was used for women’s initiation and learning ceremonies.
Below is the official spelling of the clans endorsed by the Gunaikurnai Elders’ Council, and a brief description of each clan area:
Brabralung people in Central Gippsland. Mitchell, Nicholson, and Tambo rivers; south to about Bairnsdale and Bruthen.
Brataualung people in South Gippsland. From Cape Liptrap and Tarwin Meadows east to the mouth of Merriman Creek; inland to near Mirboo; at Port Albert and Wilsons Promontory.
Brayakaulung people around the current site of Sale. Providence Ponds, Avon and Latrobe rivers; west of Lake Wellington to Mt. Saw Saw and Mt. Howitt
Krauatungalung people near the Snowy River. Cape Everard (Point Hicks) to Lakes Entrance; on Cann, Brodribb, Buchan, and Snowy rivers; inland to about Black Mountain
Tatungalung people near Lakes Entrance on the coast. Along Ninety Mile Beach and about Lakes Victoria and Wellington from Lakes Entrance southwest to mouth of Merriman Creek, also on Raymond Island in Lake King.