Museum of Brisbane

Aboriginal legend of the Lightning’s Playground by Uncle Paul Tripcony

Situated on Mulgumpin1, Moreton Island, are two Sandhills.  The Big Sandhill was known to the Aboriginal tribe who called themselves Ngugi2 as Gheebelum3 and the Little Sandhill was named Coonungai 4. When both Sandhills were mentioned together the two names signified the Legend known as “The Lightning’s Playground.”

The origin of this Legend was the profound veneration accorded to their Ancestral Land and the gift of Poetic Fancy that inspired the Aboriginal race in appreciation of the Beauty of their Dreamtime legends.

Australia has experienced during the course of her history many bitter drought seasons which are associated with dry electric storms and devastating heat waves. During this period, heavy banks of cloud are formed, reverberating peals of thunder are heard as though to trend the firmament asunder. Nature is mobilising her resources in accordance with Her Laws so that she may bestow her bounties and impose her Disciplines and from the powerful vortex of this elemental force of nature are discharged and hurled the destructive and shattering detonation of the concentrated fury, a combination of creative and destroying faculties of Life, Death and Regeneration.

In preparation for the transformation about the disclosed and presented to our experience Sea laden breezes, wafted from the Pacific and Moreton Bay, deposit their rich burden of moisture on Coonungai and on Gheebelum and having received the gift of morning dew they attained their highest aspirations.  Copious seasonable rains promised an assured supply of Life giving water and underground subterranean springs welling to the surface showed to His glance the pathway to the Lightning’s Playground.

When the storm clouds converged around the Brisbane district and extended the area of their activity to Moreton Bay form the centre of the Tempest, there is precipitated a volley of Fireball Projectiles associated with a detonating report and with Cosmic energy, directs its course to the crest of Gheebelum, impelled on its course from the point of discharge and the velocity attained by the  mass of Creative substance embodied in the propulsion and dissemination of the powerful forces contained in Liberated Light.

This revelation of the potency of the Translucent Luminary presented by Nature’s gifts, evokes the re-enactment of the Drama of the Eternal Dreamtime when children were conceived by the father in his mind during a Lightning Sacramental Fire flash, whence they were enclosed in the Mother’s body to complete the Life Cycle. The Shining Mirror like surface of Gheebelum attracts the affections and attentions of the evolving Majestic Celestial Incandescent Creator of Light and Life and in her Loveliness presents her bosom in Sublime Passion to his embrace.

This conflagration of Hallowed fire ricochet from Gheebelum to Coonungai to minister to by the Order of Destiny the restrained Passion of Her whose utter Glowing but Etherealised form was translated to corporeal existence in the reposing body of Coonungai, perfumed.

The effect of the Heat of the contact with Lightning on the Glistening silvery damp sand is such that a liquefying action takes place and an instant welding of Sand water from the flame of a Lightning Stroke results in producing Lace-like Patterns resembling Branched Coral and Fern Leaf and similar imitations of natural objects and tracery forms and flower-like or floral and such, as would a Handi-Craftsman compose for his Repertoire treasury Storehouse at Command.

And it was this Movement of Thunder , Lightning, Fire, Sand and Water which caused the Aborigines to Observe, to Discuss and Invent the Legend of the Lightning’s Playground of Gheebelum and Coonungai on the island of Moreton (Mulgumpin).

1 Also known as Moolgumpin or Moorgumpin

2 Also Nooghies

3 Also Gheebellum or Jebellum

4 Also Coonoongai

Excerpt from History Life and Times of Robert Anderson Gheebelum, Ngugi, Mulgumpin.  Community and personal history of a Ngugi Elder or Mulgumpin in Quandamooka, South East Queensland, Australia. 2003. Uniikup Productions.