Monday, August 24, 2009

Gymea Lily in Moore Park beside motorway


The Poche Centre for Indigenous Health at the University of Sydney offers an interesting story about this indigenous NSW plant.

The Creation story of the Gymea lily tells of a tribal warrior, Bullana. During a violent storm, Bullana and his people were trapped in a cave by a landslide. As the fittest and strongest, only Bullana was able to escape through a narrow crevice. He was determined to do all in his power to keep his people alive.

He would hunt, fish and bring water to his tribe trapped in the cave, day after day. The physical effort and weight of responsibility were enormous. Exhaustion caused him to fall into the ravine where he broke many bones, but he persisted, trying to crawl to hunt and fish and sustain his people.

In the end the effort was too much, and those in the cave were dying. Bullana finally collapsed in his beloved valley, amongst the trees and plants. His hand reached out and grasped a small plant, and as his spirit left his body, the plant grew masses of long broad leaves and the great white flowers at the centre became red with his blood.

Like many Creation stories it is an ultimately tragic tale, but it tells of strength, courage and perseverance in the face of adversity, which are essential in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

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