Jadurru Indigenous Art

The First Sunrise

The First Sunrise by Indigenous Artist Jimmy Deen

The First Sunrise

Long ago in ‘Dreamtime’ the earth was dark. There was no light, it was cold and very black. Huge grey clouds kept the light and warmth out and were so low that the animals had to crawl around.

The Emu hobbled low to the ground, the Kangaroo couldn’t hop, and the birds couldn’t fly higher than several feet in the air. Only the Snakes were happy because they lived close to the ground. The animals lived by crawling around the damp dark earth, feeling for fruits and berries. Often it was so hard to find food that several days would pass by between meals. The Wombat became so tired of being bumped into all the time, he dug himself a burrow, and slept for long periods.

Eventually the birds decided they’d had enough and called a meeting of all the animals. The Magpies decided that they would raise the sky by gathering sticks, and use them as levers to push the sky up. They pushed higher and higher until they gave the sky one last push into the air, and as it rose it split open and a huge flood of warmth and light poured through on the land below. The whole sky was filled with beautiful reds and yellows. It was the first Sunrise.

All the animals were overjoyed with the beauty, the light and the warmth, the Magpies burst into song as their loud warbling carried across the land, the Sun-Woman rose slowly and began her journey towards the West. Each morning when the Sun-Woman wakes in the east she lights a fire to prepare the torch that she will carry across the sky each day. And till this day when the Sun-Woman wakes and lights her early morning fire, all the Magpies greet her with their song.


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