Yarning Circle

Stories in the Stars

First Nations Peoples of Australia were and are careful observers of the stars, as the sky is home to ancestors and spirits, and the birthplace of many legends and traditions. The Bandjin people of Hinchinbrook Island and Lucinda Point in QLD tell the story of the Dhui Dhui (the shovel nose ray) to explain the shape of the Southern Cross constellation: 

Two boys were out fishing in a canoe near Dunk Island (Coonangalbah) but had been told not to go near the sand spit as there was a fierce shovelnose ray that lived nearby. They ignored the warnings and began to fish there, but the ray bit through their line and towed them away. After dragging them round the ocean the Dhui Dhui towed the boys and their canoe into the Hinchinbrook channel, where they disappeared into the horizon. As the people looked towards the south where they had last seen the boys, the Southern Cross rose in the sky, making the shape of the Dhui Dhui, followed by two pointer stars.

Other stories

Choose a constellation that you can see clearly in your local area at night and write a short legend on how it got there.            

Going further: Research other legends or stories inspired by the stars from other cultures around the world. Can you spot any similarities to the legends told by Indigenous peoples around the world? Use this website to get started. 

Stories in the Stars

Stories in the stars

Stores in the Stars