The Gugu Badhun people have been retelling the story of a huge explosion that rocked the Australian landscape for 230 generations. After new evidence, experts believe the 7,000-year-old epic is true.
The epic tells the story of a large explosion that created a massive crater in the ground. The explosion or eruption filled the air with a thick dust, the air turned hot, and fire ran along the river.
The legend first documented in the 1970s is believed to be the story of the Kinrara volcano erupting.
Australia isn’t a volcanically active nation anymore, but early Australia was explosive. The Kinrara volcano in Queensland shows off its burns with 55 km lava flows visible across the ground.
The volcano, Kinrara rocked Australia 9 million years ago and was responsible for more than 400 eruptions. One of Australia’s youngest volcanos, Kinrara is believed to be the volcano mentioned in the 7,000-year-old Indigenous story.
The Indigenous story and timeline hold fast in light of new evidence. Kinrara’s eruption would’ve been large: suffocating ash plumes, lava flows and a big explosion would’ve shocked the landscape.
“These stories are plausible descriptions of a volcanic eruption – the Kinrara volcano has a very prominent crater, which produced volcanic ash and lava fountains,” Dr Benjamin Cohen, of the University of Glasgow and SUERC, explains.
[This] adds to a growing list of geological events that appear to be recounted in Australian Aboriginal traditions, including sea level rise around 10,000 years ago and other volcanic eruptions elsewhere on the continent.
Volcanic eruptions have been documented in cave paintings and storytelling all over the world. In Chauvet prehistoric cave-dwellers painted elaborate pictures of a 36,000-year-old eruption in beautiful and intricate cave paintings (read more about caves here)
Image: Indigenous cave paintings Source: Shutterstock
The Australian eruption is just one of many stories handed down from generation to generation. And like the paintings in Chauvet is beautifully intricate in its detail and extremely precious. It offers us a glimpse of life in a time where fire ran along rivers, and serpents carved the landscape.
Things we can only dream about today.