The Rainbow Snake & the Dreamtime

The Rainbow Snake is a creature from Aboriginal mythology.
This mythology says that in the beginning the earth was flat, featureless and grey. Then came the Dreamtime when giant creatures rose up from the plains. They looked like animals or plants or insects but behaved just like humans.
The greatest of all these beings took the form of the Rainbow Snake. The movement of his huge multicolored body across the land formed the mountains and the rivers that flow to the ocean. By lifting his tail he makes rainbows.

The Bundjalung people tell us that Rainbow Snake and Goanna worked together to create this area. Douglas Cook, a Bundjalung man, told the following story about Rainbow Snake to Jolanda Nayutah before he died.
Jolanda worked in the Aboriginal Institute in Lismore.


Rainbow Snake had been very bad. What he did is a secret, and cannot be told here, but it was so bad that a local clever man called on Goanna to chase Rainbow Snake away. Only Goanna was powerful enough to deal with Rainbow Snake.

Goanna chased Rainbow Snake down towards the coast and as they went they formed parts of the Richmond River. At Woodburn they left the Richmond River and kept on going. Half-way down the Evans River, Goanna caught Rainbow Snake. Snake turned around and bit him. Goanna then stopped to eat some herbs to heal himself.
When he felt better he resumed his chase.
Meanwhile, Snake had reached Evans Head. He looked around. Goanna was nowhere to be seen, so he decided to go back. As he turned his body made a small island in the river, now known as Pelican Island.
When he spotted Goanna heading towards him, he quickly turned, and this time he kept going until he reached the ocean, and made himself into an island so Goanna wouldn't recognise him.

Goanna reached the coast. He lay down facing the sea, waiting for Rainbow Snake to come back. And you can still hear Rainbow Snake and see Goanna today at Evans Head.