Camping bush-side is always a favourite of mine and we recently camped up in one of the many wonderful freecamps organized by the Dept of Forestry in NSW. The one we chose was glorious, well cared for and vast, with a fresh young forest stream nearby and deep holes for swimming amongst the tall timbers all about us.
Often deep in the forestry reserves, these camp grounds are freecamps with basic yet serviceable amenities. In NSW you can camp anywhere within the forestry reserves, observing common sense in regards to camp fires and consideration in regards to other users of our forests. We had chosen Swans Crossing, SW of Wauchope in the mid-coast hinterland. You can find it deep within the Kerewong State Forest and getting there you need to negotiate about 15klm of unsealed logging road. It is settled snuggly among the tall gums of the hinterland in this area and it is breathtaking.
The most wondrous thing about the Aussie bush, something that I love to witness each year, is the slow peeling trees of this autumn season. In Aus. many of our trees don’t drop their leaves as the winter creeps across the land but instead they shed their overcoats of bark, littering the ground with enough curled fire fodder to start those raging fires that are so much part of the Australian landscape. I love to see the ghost gums emerge from their summer coats to stand stark and tall against the forest skyline, preparing for the cold winter winds like white sentinels in ghosted pockets, a precursor to a winter just around the corner.
What I also enjoy about the forestry camps such as this one is the whisper you hear among the trees of the night, the odd sound as you toast your toes at the campfire. That noise that makes you reach for the torch in the dark and scour the trees and other places with the rim of light cutting through the shadows.
At times like this I think of the Jongorrie, a small and wizened spirit creature of the Australian bush, he is a gregarious character of engorged tastes is food and women. The Jongorrie is a helper of the bushman, a companion of the Kadaitcha and a thief of food and any other entertainments the unwary camper might leave out to engage his curiosities. He is an engaging, secretive little guy who moves through the forest quickly and quietly, leaving only tales of his legendary existence.
Some of the mobs, the Aussie tribes who once lived within the bush, wouldn’t talk of this little man. He is of a sacred Lore and often strictly Men’s Business. The descendants of these people now live mostly within our communities and they still are often reticent to speak of the Jongorrie, known by other names as well. Despite this his spirit and legend lives on, to be spoken of around the quiet of the campfire and in the shadow of the night in warning to the youngsters.
He still creeps amongst the trees, watching and waiting for opportunity as he always has. In other mobs he is a child’s companion, one who would tempt the young to stray into the forests and he is part of the forest legend. I have heard many tales of the deeds of the Jongorrie and they are commonly full of mischief and trial.
Discovering the character of this little forest man has been a wonderful adventure and he emerges in the stories of ‘The Dreaming Series’, firstly as an invisible companion of the youngster Debbie and then later he reveals himself in his true character as a servant of the Kadaitcha. It is an intriguing tale he can tell of his history with the family and the members to whom he has been attached.
The stories of the Dreaming Series are about four Aboriginal Shaman, men born of a contemporary time and yet who are part of an ancient Lore, one which stretches well beyond any other culture in existence today. It is a Lore and culture that dates back some 50,000 years while Christianity dates back barely 6,000 years. It is an ancient and deeply spiritual Lore that is versed in the Land and cradled within the earth and rocks of an antiquitious island, this is Australia.
Each of the four books of The Dreaming Series is a tale in its own right and these read together will draw you slowly into an understanding of this ancient Lore. Our Jongorrie begins his journey with you in Book 1, Shadow Dreaming and while he is present throughout the tales it takes time for him to emerge and reveal himself.
Very much a part of the tales of the upcoming Spirit Children Series, the Jongorrie’s world opens up with the tales of the caverns and the spirit lands. I would like to invite you to join me on this journey into the ancient Lore of the land Australia. You can find the tales in ebook and print on my Web Page and on the page dedicated to the Dreaming Series.
You can also join me in my research of this ancient Lore on Facebook and travel with me. Your welcome to share in this journey and if you have ever stumbled across this wonderful and mischievous little guy, feel free to drop me a line and share your experiences with us. We would love to explore these tales together with you and discover more of what is so much a legend of the land Australia.