As told by Camoola, Head of the Burragorang in 1802
There was once a beautiful young woman named Krubi who had made for herself a cloak of the red skin of the rock wallaby ornamented with the redder crests of the gang-gang cockatoo. Dressed in her scarlet cloak she would take up a post in the cleft of high a sandstone ridge. Here she would watch every evening for the return of the men and to catch a first glimpse of the young man she loved.
Her young man was only newly initiated into manhood and had not learnt the art of war. The slim figure in red silhouetted against the sky was the sight the young man looked for every evening as he returned home.
A neighbouring people had been seen recently in Burragorang land and it was decided that the Burragorang must make a stand and drive them out. A great corroboree was planned for and Krubi's young man was to be taught about war. Krubi's spirit sank with foreboding.
On the day of the battle Krubi stood alone, with her red cloak wrapped around her, on the sandstone cleft. From her station she could hear the cries of the battle and flashes of spears and throwing sticks in mid-flight. Occasional glimpses too of the men between the tall trees and tangled scrubs.
She waited anxiously for the return of her man and late in the afternoon she saw the scattered band of warriors returning. But nowhere could she see the slim dark figure of her beloved looking up at her.
Krubi stayed there on the ridge for seven days waiting. Her tears flowed and several flowers started to spring from the rivulets they formed, rippling down the ridge. Then Krubi left her place and walked down to the abandoned camp.
Here the ashes were cold and seven days old, so she returned to the sandstone ridge. She now felt such inconsolable grief that she willed herself to die, her body blending slowly into the weathered sandstone.
And rising from the spot came the first waratah. The stalk hard, straight, and without blemish, like the young man Krubi had pined for, the leaves serrated and pointed like his spear. And the beautiful flower itself is the most radiant red, like the red of Krubi's cloak & the scarlet of blood. The Burragorang named the flower waratah ('beautiful') and cherished it because of its beauty and its history.
See the Gallery for a corresponding series of images for this story: Black Opal Gallery
Lynette F. Watters 1997-2005
To contact me, my email address is "lunetta777" followed by "@bigpond.com", less the quotation marks (of course)