The Ancient Spirits of Australia

ForestHave you ever been making your way through the bush and suddenly had the sense that you are being watched? There is something out there… something unknown… the break of a twig underfoot… someone else’s foot? Yet there is no one there. Do all your instincts scream that you are not alone? Well in Aus’ you usually aren’t.

No… it’s not always the drop-bears, nor the other forest animals. What it is likely to be watching you as you walk through the bush is the little forest spirits known as the Jongorrie. Well known by the tribal people who lived in our bush and forests for tens of thousands of years, the Jongorrie is a rapacious little bugger of indiscriminate appetites. Known to steal food most commonly, he is also not above a few other less desirable habits.

In the SE regions of Aus’ this little bush spirit is a servant of the Kadaitcha and considered by some to be a secret amongst the enclaves of sorcerers and clever men and women. However the further north you travel along the Great Dividing Range it seems the less of a secret these little guys become. When you reach the northern regions of the continent he has devolved by repute into a mischievous little character, who largely helps keep the kids in line, particularly during the night hours.

Delving into the mysteries of the ancient spirit creatures of Aboriginal Lore has been a particular delight in my research throughout the years as each creature is revealed. This revelation is sometimes through extensive research, and at other times through simple conversations often around campfires. This is when these ghosts of legends past and spirit beings come to life for me. It is truly a special delight I feel, as yet another creature of the ghostly and spiritual world is uncovered.

Amongst these often, ghostly entities I select a few to bring to life in my tales of the Kadaitcha, in the stories of the Dreaming series, and that of the Spirit Children.

The Jongorrie is truly one of my favourite, and one of the earliest of the spirit creatures found within the pages of my stories. Though his existence is slowly revealed as he eventually climbs out from within the list of characters bought to life within the pages. Another is the Rainbow Serpent, revealed by other names, as the reader comes to understand that the term Rainbow Serpent is a construct of the whitefella in his attempt to understand the Lore of the many ancient spirit serpents.

There are many things as a westernized society that we simply don’t understand.

Another such thing is the gift of the shape-shifter within what we consider primitive Lore. Though we readily accept the concept of a woman with wings appended strangely to her shoulder blades somehow, which gives her the gift of flight without the necessity of lightened bone structure and anything that might resemble correct anatomic structure to permit flight. We also often accept that the vampire, who is dead btw, glitters weirdly like a rock, drinks blood and has a rapacious sexual appetite despite having no blood-flow in his body… this makes for a strange erection in the male of the species methinks.

sydney fleet

The tribal aboriginals clans and societies of what was then known as ‘New England’ in the 1800’s, had many names for the spirit creatures, ghosts and demons. Each spirit creature of which, had a place or purpose in a world that was more spiritual and physical. These first indigenous Australians encountered by the colonists of Europe in those initial 150 years of Australia’s colonizing history from 1788, were a deeply spiritual people. They lived in a complex world that was influenced as much by the spiritual world as that of the physical plain.

AboriginieThese tribal people lived within the constraint of laws and lore’s, which governed their social construct, and which were deeply ingrained within their lives. It was a belief system that had been developed and practiced long before the other civilizations of northern man developed, those who has a social history of a mere 4,000-6,000 years. The history and society of the tribal Australian went back well over 40,000 years… and its structure was profoundly different as it was not based in commerce but in what can be considered to be deeply spiritual base. It was a structure that is 10x older than the earliest European social construct.

This Aussie’ world was complex, interrelated into practices of Lore and ceremony… it was a society that had moved through the ice-ages and ages of pre-history in almost complete isolation from the commercial and often rapacious influences of the rest of the world.That is not to say that they didn’t have their own unique problems.

What influences there where, dribbled down through Asia and India in what no doubt were slow and painful migrations, in which the influences of the societies of man spread across the globe. The northern world influences of commerce, trade and mans drive to conquer, barely touched the shores of the continent of Australia. In these times the ‘boat people’ from Asia barely made any impact on our vast continent, aside from small skirmishes over Country, within the confines of this slow, progressive natural migration south. There were however incidences of a much smaller tribal trade going on, usually involving local resources and intermarriage, as well as nautical adventuring, than there were those involving warfare or contest.

Dragon 1

With this scarce natural attrition and migration came the development of a profound Lore, the knowledge of the Spirit Creatures and those things that are used to teach and nurture the human spirit. A Lore that has many cross influences from ancient India and Asia stretching back some 40,000 years. Many of the legends and stories of the earliest Aussies centred around the existence of the serpents, those who guarded knowledge and the creator spirits that not only created man as a race or species but also bought knowledge to man. Eden serpentThese same serpents also exist in the western and eastern biblical legends of creation, in the tales found in the origins of nearly all religions, they exist also in the tribal aboriginal Lore’s. Yes… I am talking about the serpents of Eden and the like.

In my books I bring to life the tales of such serpents as the Kajoora, the Numereji and the Wolgaru and others. These serpents each have a place in the world of men, and they have a purpose within that world. The Wolgaru is to me of particular interest as he is the judge of man, the judge, jury and executioner as is seen in the tales of the Spirit Children.

Man too, has a place in the spirit world of the serpents and other spirit creatures such as in controlling and tutoring the creatures of the ghostly and hidden realm. The Djaranin are a good example of how the world of the spirits interact with that of the physical realm. These are the greatly feared ‘dogs of death’, who seek out those to be judged by the Wolgaru serpent. They guard the serpent, and in turn the Kadaitcha dance to largely control the Djaranin while in ceremony.

Within the tales of the Kadaitcha, or clever men of The Dreaming Series, the reader is introduced gradually to this ancient Lore. The tales of The Spirit Children are set deliberately into central Sydney, at the ancient ceremonial grounds buried now in the cities Botanical Gardens. I wanted most to illustrate that just because we have built great cities around one of the most beautiful harbours in the world, it does not mean that we have managed to destroy the ancient things belonging to this land. Those things which have lived on with us all for tens of thousands of years… and THAT is worth remembering.


Delve into the richness of the ancient Indigenous Lore of the land and discover many of the mysteries of the Serpents, the hidden world of Ancient Lore, still present across a forgotten land. Read more in the tales of The Dreaming. Follow the path and lives of the Featherfoot and learn more about the Lore of the Kadaitcha. The stories are a journey with the men and women who live within the boundaries of the Lore, in fictional tales of adventure and love.

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