There’s a bay they call Jonas’ Bay, because Jonas was the first white fella to spot it. Others call it Gilbert’s Bay. Mr Gilbert’s the bloke that planted the poplar trees. Some call it Mary Bay, because Mary raised the kids whose names are written on the paper that says the bay’s theirs.
Some call it Cattlemen’s Bay, because of all the cattle. When the greenies came along they wanted to call it Lapwing Bay, because of all the lapwings. Some call it Shelly Bay because of all the shells. I call it Burra-Budgial. In white-man talk that means “the great sea-turtle.”
The white men think volcanism, sedimentation, plate tectonics and erosion put this bay here. They say the evidence backs it up. I say the laws of physics were an afterthought, and forty thousand years ago there was no time, no laws, no thermodynamics, nothing. Atoms didn’t build up the things you see around. The only things that existed, existed in the dreaming.
The world was plastic, like a piece of raw clay. Dreams were reality because there weren’t no “laws of physics” to follow. It’s when the clay started to harden that the dreams were imprinted on it. The world only took on the form of the last dream that was happenin’ before the clay hardened. When the clay finally hardened for good, the dreams couldn’t happen no more. Burra-Budgial, the great sea turtle, dug out this bay to lay her eggs, and then she swam out to sea before the dreamtime came to an end.
I’ve been wandering this land since, inhabiting different bodies, but looking through the same old eyes. The white folk call it “oral history” because they just don’t understand. They think I tell my kids a story and they remember and tell their kids. They don’t get that I live through my kids, and when my body dies, I keep on living. I let ‘em think what they want, because they’ll be long gone in another forty millennia, but I’ll still be here walkin’ about, remembering old Burra-Budgial.