The Three Brothers

The Three Brothers were creators of great importance to the Wangkumara People. They were particularly clever and their tribal religion was deeply associated with them. Their wisdom was far beyond that of ordinary men and the eldest brother was the best of them all. Ever since they were very very young they were gradually taught how to behave as men and learnt the religious secrets and soon became initiated.

For a long time they lived amongst their People and did many good deeds because of their kindness and wisdom. They hunted for those who were old or helpless and gave assistance to children and young adults. They were recognised as superior and sacred men who had been sent to set a standard of behaviour their influence was one of kindness and purity. At all times the example set by the Three Brothers had to be followed that was the lore.

Unfortunately the Three Brothers succumbed to human temptation and started swimming across the river and mixing with the others from another tribe which was a serious crime. This association of young men with unknown girls of marriageable age was misbehaviour.

Punishment was made and it was said that the Three Brothers could not live if they deviated from wise and perfect behaviour and were to die on a hill overlooking Tibooburra [which means 'the place of stones']. Dry leaves were placed on the ground, branches were piled high around the Brothers and when set alight smoke rose and they could no longer be seen. As the smoke drifted away where the Three Brothers had stood were now three tall stones. The Eldest Brother [the wisest] now had a head of gold. During life, the younger Brothers acted as guards and in death they continued to do so. The stone bodies glowed in both the sunshine and moonlight and their good deeds were remembered.

The presence of the Three Brothers drew attention to the necessity to obey marriage lores and acted as a constant reminder that young men must not deviate from Tribal Rules.

Michael J Connolly
Munda-gutta Kulliwari
Dreamtime Kullilla-Art