Many traditional cultures continue to pass on knowledge through storytelling. Through these stories children learn the origins of plants and animals, the formation of significant landmarks and customs of behavior.
For the Butchulla people the special storyteller is referred to as Moonie Jarl. In the 1960s, the Moonie Jarl acknowledged that their stories belonged to all Australian children and recognised the need to share them beyond their own tribe.
In 1964, The Legends of Moonie Jarl, the first Australian Aboriginal children’s book, was published. It was also the first Aboriginal children’s book in schools at that time. 50 years on the stories continue to be shared among the Butchulla people. Stories that they would like again shared by all Australian children. Our Foundation is thrilled to help make this possible by re-publishing the book. We will officially launch the book in December this year, with a community launch this week.
"In this book, you will learn about how the wallaby got its pouch, how the boomerang was invented, and how the little fire bird came to have that bright scarlet spot on its back. The stories tell why the curlew cries like a woman at night, and how the swam stretched its neck, and why the bat or flying fox hangs upside down. You will also learn some secrets of Aboriginal Magic which you can try for yourself.”
Author Moonie Jarl (Wilf Reeves)
The Legends of Moonie Jarl is truly unique as it tells of these legends specific to the Butchulla people and area of Fraser Island and Fraser Coast. What makes it even more special are the detailed illustrations that depict the traditional art works, which were once weaved into baskets, stained into shields or drawn in the sand.
Fraser Coast Councillor George Seymour (left) and Glen Miller proudly show the first and second editions of The Legends of Moonie Jarl. Glen holds the original (1964) while George holds the latest version being launched on Friday in the Olga Miller Memorial garden.
HOW TO ORDER YOUR COPY
With the permission and invitation of the Butchulla people, you can share these legends, see how stories are told through Aboriginal artwork and learn lessons significant to the Butchulla. You can order The Legends of Moonie Jarl from Pan Macmillan or by downloading the order form here.