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How the Murray River Was Made

Murray River

Long before the Murray River became a broad torrent of refreshing, life-giving water, an earthquake shook the barren land and formed a long trench or chasm. Occasional rain storms swept across the land, and a tiny stream flowed down the newly-formed rent.

Then came another tremor which caused the hills to shake and the land to dance as though a corroboree was being held far under the earth. Rocks and soil heaved, and from the very bowels of the earth an enormous fish shouldered its way to the surface. It was borne on the crest of a wave of water.

The sun sparkled on the silver torrent which boiled and eddied in the trench, following the trail of the fish which swam down the stream. It was far too large for the narrow bed. It dug its head into the earth and scooped it up on either side, widening its path with strokes of its powerful tail. The water filled the hollows made by the head and tail of the fish, and behind it the broad stream flowed gently with many turns and bends as the agitated water subsided.

So the bulldozer of ancient days excavated the bed of the Murray River and filled it with water as far as Lake Alexandrina. There, it was arrested by the hand of Nepelle, the Great Ruler of the heavens. He picked the fish up and cut it into small pieces which he threw back into the river, where they remain as the ponde (Murray cod), pomeri (mudfish), tarki (perch), tkeri (a flat, silvery fish), kundegulde (butterfish), tinuwarre (bream), and mallowe (Murray Mouth salmon).


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