Waterholes (Kubumi) by Jill Namunjdja

Waterholes (Kubumi)

Kubumi is a sacred site on the Mann River. This is its story, as told by a ritual manager of the site, Lulu Laradjbi, with the authority of her husband Mick Kubarkku, a land owner of that country.

Ngalyod the Rainbow Serpent pierced the rock at a place called Bolerrhlerrh and journeyed downstream from there to Ngalmalanj. The camping place Kubumi is downstream from there but at Ngalmalanj the serpent was blocked. It pushed down into the riverbed, pushed into the earth, sinking down forever. Now it lives under the rocky riverbed. That site continues downstream. Upstream is the site Molerrhlerrh, which has a waterfall and a big waterhole. There the serpent moved inside, downstream, to the lower region.

During the dry season at Kubumi, the Mann River shrinks to a series of deep waterholes, exposing the tunnels through the rocky outcrop that interconnect the pools.