A giant cod fish swam ahead of Ngurunderi, widening the river with sweeps of its tail and making swamps and cliffs. Ngurunderi chased the fish, trying to spear it....


The Murray River - A Ngarrindjeri Landscape

In 1940 an elderly Ngarrindjeri man named Albert Karloan spent time with Museum anthropologists, telling them of his people's history and of his country along the Murray River. Some of the places he described are shown here.

Lower Murray regionThe Lower Murray, showing some of the features described by Albert Karloan, and the areas inhabited by the main Ngarrindjeri groups. Karloan belonged to the Yaraldi people. After N.B. Tindale.

Albert Karloan, 1940

Albert Karloan demonstrating a traditional string game to the Anthropologist Ronald Berndt in 1940. Photographer : Ronald Berndt

Green stone axe The River monster of murungun

Pomberuk (Murray Bridge) - A crossing place.
The town of Murray Bridge stands near Pomberuk, at the northern limit of Ngarrindjeri country.
Aborigines used this place as a river crossing long before European settlers built an iron bridge there in 1876.

An Aboriginal camp at Murray Bridge during the 1880's, showing the newly completed bridge in the background. E.J. Schmaal Collection, Mortlock Library (B 18271).

Tagalang (Tailem Bend) - A trading centre.
Aboriginal people from the north and south came to Tagalang to trade and hold ceremonies.
Spears, shields, axes, red ochre, fishing nets and fur cloaks were all exchanged here.

 

Pitjerungerung (Tailem Bend pine forest) - Timber and glue.
Ngarrindjeri people made fishing spears and punting poles from trees in this forest. They also used the pine resin as a glue and as gum for their babies to chew on while teething.
Pine resin was used to fix the head of this greenstone axe. European string and cloth form the binding. Collector : Unknown. (A29360).
Murungun (Mason's Hill) - Home of the river monster.
In the Dreaming, Ngurunderi camped near Murungun. The Ngarrindjeri still believe that a water monster or "bunyip" called Mulgewongk lives in the river here.
A picture of the Mulgewongk or water monster of the river and lakes, drawn in October 1997 by Jenny Stengle, aged 10 from Raukkan Primary School. Most stories describe the Mulgewongk as about the size of a man, covered in thick hair or rushes. South Australian Museum (AA675).