Our Story - Kilkayi

The story for Kilkayi Trust (Gija)
Daiwul Ngarranggarni—Barramundi Dreaming Story

A barramundi is being chased by a group of old women and swims into a cave near the area now known as Barramundi Gap.

As she enters the cave the women prepare to catch her with nets made from rolled Spinifex grass (a traditional Gija fishing method known as Kilkayi).

The barramundi realizes she is trapped in the shallow, muddy waters of the cave entrance and tries to escape by swimming to the other end, towards Nunbung (Wesley Spring). But she cannot find a way out and returns to the entrance of the cave, where the old women are waiting with their nets.

She swims towards the women and jumps over them shedding her scales as she jumps and leaving them behind in the shallow water. The scales become the diamonds of all colours that are found there today. The barramundi then jumps through the gap in the rocks, landing in the deep, clean water of Kowinji.

As the barramundi dives she turns into a white stone. Three of the old women who have chased the fish to Kowinji peer into the water to look for her and they too turn to stone, forever becoming a part of the landscape. Today there are three stone formations overlooking the creek. According to the Gija people, barramundi are not found in the area today because of the presence of the Ngarranggarni barramundi in this place.

Gija Story & Artwork by
Madigan Thomas
Image courtesy of Warmun Art Centre