• Nimbin Museum

    Nimbin Museum


A long time ago (guriabu), there lived a njimbun, a “little fellow” among the Minjangbal clans of Southern Queensland. One day his mother’s brother asked him to go looking for honey with him in the mountains. They searched all day without any success, until what is known today as Mt. Earnest, they came to a cave.

Now the uncle secretly disliked his nephew and wanted to get rid of him, so he said to the njimbun:“Maybe I am too big to get in there, you had better go in and see if there are any gubbai (honey bees).” The cave was dark and njimbun was reluctant to venture too far in, but his uncle kept on saying:“Yena bogar, bogar-bogar. (Go farther, farther still)” until the little fellow was out of sight. He then seized great armfuls of dead leaves and dry sticks and built a huge fire at the mouth of the cave. On the fire he piled green leaves so that even the njimbun were not incinerated he would be suffocated with smoke.

The njimbun, however, found a crevice leading the outer air at the back of the cave, and being a very little fellow, he was able to squeeze through and hide himself in the scrub nearby.Presently his uncle felt pangs of remorse for what he had done and sat under a tree lamenting. When the fire had burned down, he went into the cave to find the body of his nephew. The njimbun seized his opportunity and quickly stoked the fire up again, piling more and more fuel on it. His uncle was, of course, far too big to squeeze through the crevice and at the back of the cave and was incinerated.

The mountain on which this occurred is known to the Bandjalang as Bogar-bogarni, the “place of farther still.”
*Arthur Groom (”One Mountain After Another,” Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1949, p. 35) records another version of this legend and states that Mt. Barney was the place where it occurred.
Thanks to Chris, who sent this story to ‘the Custodians of the Nimbin Museum’.“I thought you might be interested in this Bandjalang Legend recorded by Malcolm Calley in the Journal of Mankind in February, 1958. I think the Nimbin Museum is the best local museum of Eastern Australia”, said Chris of Mortdale, N.S.W. in 2008. On the copy of the BOGARBOGARNI text was a hand written note with the peace sign, a heart and a smile.
The Nimbin Museum is looking forward to hearing more from Chris and all those interested in sending words, pictures and video of relevant Nimbin material.

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