Make your own free website on
Home | Story Collection | Dreaming | Custodianship | Sacred Sites and Stories | The Land | Favorite Links | Conclusion | Stories | References

Luurnpa the Magical Kingfisher

In the Dreamtime

Nicholls, Christine. 2002. Luurnpa the magical kingfisher: A dreaming narrative. belonging to Bai Bai Napangarti. illus. by students at the Luurnpa Catholic School. Kingswood, SA, AU: Working Title Press.

Overlooking "The Pound"
Wirrimanu, WA, AU

Luurnpa, the Magical Kingfisher tells the story of how the Kukatja people came to inhabit the area around Luurnpa’s home in Western Australia and why the kingfisher is important to them.  “This dreamtime story relates closely to the harsh and beautiful country area known in English as “The Pound” near Wirrimanu (Balgo Hills) Western Australia—a dramatic landscape of red earth, mesas, and very little permanent water” (Nicholls 2002).  The Kukatja people still live in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. 


During the Dreamtime, the animals were giant and Luurnpa was a giant kingfisher.  For a long time the Kukatja people lived near the giant cave of Luurnpa.  Food and water were plentiful.  But then a drought came and all of the water disappeared from the sinks and waterholes.  Luurnpa took the dying people on his back to his special water in his magic rock hole.  The Kukatja people still live in the Kimberley region of Western Australia:  “The people stayed there on that land.  Today we are still here, on the same land.” 


Told in simple language, Luurnpa, reads as if spoken aloud, with a decidedly oral tone.  Describing the Kukatja after the drought and before rescue by Luurnpa, the text reads “They thought they were going to die.  Poor things!”  Painted with tempura paints in bold primary colors and black marker by the children of the Luurnpa Catholic School, the illustrations are na´ve and lack both perspective and a sense of portion but fit the simple style of the text. 


Illustration by student at Luurnpa Catholic School

Return to Stories

All material in quotes is from the text under discussion unless otherwise indicated.  All summaries are mine unless otherwise indicated.