Not only are Crocodiles ecologically important, they are also culturally significant to Australia’s Indigenous People, who have shared their homes with Salties for tens of thousands of years.
Dreamtime stories portray an Indigenous knowledge and understanding of the world, which includes cautionary tales involving animals, one such story is that of Gunadar the Crocodile.
Gunadar needed a wife to look after his eggs for him so he went looking along the shore one day where the women bathed their children.
He took one of the girls back to his lair and told her he would bring her back one fish everyday as long as she took care of his eggs. The girl started to miss her family so she escaped the lair and told the men in her village that Gunadar the crocodile stole her.
When Gunadar realized she was gone, he followed her footsteps back to the village and when he arrived there the men speared him and killed him as revenge for stealing the girl.
The girl started to miss Gunadar and thought that he must have loved her a lot to follow her back to the village. She went back to look after the eggs in the lair and when they hatched she told them that “man killed your father so every time you see a man I want you to eat him”.
This particular story was told to warn children about the dangers of swimming with crocodiles but also holds a greater tale of respect for animals and the land they inhabit, one we can perhaps all learn from.