This story tells of the ancestral creator being Ngurunderi as he travels through the country. Milerum provided this version of the story to Norman Tindale of the SA Museum. It was published in The Advertiser 16 May, 1936. A few minor changes have been made to update the published text provided here.
Ngurunderi was the all powerful ancestor of the Tanganekald people of the Coorong. He made the country in which they live. This legendary being arrived in South Australia by travelling down the Murray River. He was engaged in chasing a large Murray cod fish. He threw his spear at it many times: each time it escaped him, and rushing forward, made the Murray River. In escaping from its pursuer it turned hither and thither, this causing the numerous bends in the Murray. At last the giant fish arrived at Lake Alexandrina, where it floundered about in the shallows. Ngurunderi and his two wives and sons arrived in hot pursuit to find that another old warrior called Nepeli was there before them. Joining forces they went out, speared the giant fish, and killed it. The place where they killed it is now a sandbank in the lake. Then they cut the fish up into small pieces throwing them into the water. Each piece came to life and swam away, some as codfish, some as catfish, mullet, etc.
Finally, there remained only the bones of the giant cod. Ngurunderi cut these up and threw them down. They turned into the useless thukkeri, or bony bream, despair of anyone who has tried to eat it. Ngurunderi drew his canoes up on to the land: they remain today as two large canoe-shaped sandhills at Ashville, on the road to the Coorong.
Journey of Ngurunderi
Ngurunderi left his wives near Lake Albert, and went on an exploration tour of the Coorong with his two sons. Near Kingston he encountered a savage old fellow named Paramperi (at the place where the granite rocks stand beside the road, 16 kilometres north of Kingston). His sons had travelled on ahead of him. The savage fellow disputed with him, demanding that he turn north again, and go back whence he came. So Ngurunderi speared Paramperi. He fell down, apparently dead. Ngurunderi thereupon turned towards the north, and attempted to go away. He walked strenuously for hours. He looked back, and to his amazement saw he was only a little way on his journey. 'My country is not coming any closer,' he exclaimed, and realised that Paramperi was alive and holding him back by magic. He retraced his steps, and struck Paramperi with a club, and then, to make sure, burned his body in a big fire. He returned to the north, travelling along the Coorong, discovering many watering places. At several places he walked on the rocks, leaving gigantic foot impressions in the limestone. At other places he stuck spears into the ground, and went away, forgetting them. Thus the spears remained as tall spearwood trees up to the present day. At other places he scraped his weapons, made of banksia wood, and other trees sprang up, and remain there today. At last he arrived at Goolwa, and walked to Port Elliot, hunting all the time for the tracks of his two wives. At Port Elliot he rested before walking to Chiton Rocks.
At this place he found traces of his wives, for they had sat on the rocks and plucked out their hair. It lay about on the reef, just as the kelp does today, for the kelp is indeed the hair of the two wives of Ngurunderi. He hurried on to Rosetta Head, where he slept for a while. Rising hurriedly, he forgot, and left his large club, or plongi, behind him. It lies there today, the large swollen head being the Rosetta Head itself. He walked down the coast to near Cape Jervis. Looking out to sea he saw his two wives wading out in the water, pushing rafts before them, making a journey across the ocean to Kangaroo Island. He was angry, because they were escaping, and churned the water, which came up and drowned them. So it happens today that the two sisters, his wives, have turned into those two islands, the Pages, which lie to the south of Backstairs Passage, while two reefs off the shore of the islands are the rafts of his two wives.
'Native' Route to Heaven
Ngurunderi had many adventures. Finally he stepped over the water to Kangaroo Island where he rested before travelling to the western end of it. He threw his spear into the water, and pulled up two other small islands. He then dived into the water and climbed up into the heavens, where he lives today. Ngurunderi led the way to the 'native' heaven and all Tanganekald and other Ngarrindjeri people, when they die, follow the same route along the Coorong, and from Encounter Bay along to Cape Jervis and Kangaroo Island. If you walk along the coast you may sometimes hear the spirits chattering and talking as they wend their way along Ngurunderi's invisible road. Thus it happened that the coast east of Cape Jervis was avoided by the Ngarrindjeri. The sons of Ngurunderi had equally strange adventures. One of them went down towards Mount Gambier. A 'big devil' called Mirka came out of the Blue Lake and chased the youth right back along the Coorong coast and across the Mount Lofty Ranges to Willunga. Ngurunderi saw the 'devil' approaching, attacked and wounded him at the Ochre Cove. The blood ran out and stained the rocks. If you do not believe it, go to the coast a mile south of Moana Beach and there you will find a large outcrop of the red ochre which was formed by the congealing of the blood of the Mount Gambier devil man. The wounded man ran away back to his country. The blood dripped from his wounds wherever he camped! There is a waterhole in the Coorong where it exits and the local people are alarmed when they see the blood there. The 'devil' fled back to Mount Gambier and went down into a great hole in the ground. This hole is the famous sink hole in the gardens at the back of the Mount Gambier Town Hall, which is thus the hiding place of Mirka.