Kakadu National Park

The Creation Time

“All things in the landscape were left by the Creation Ancestors. They taught Aboriginal people how to live with the land. From then on Aboriginal people became keepers of their country.”

— Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre

In the Creation Time, the Creation Ancestors were travelling across the landscape. The tracks left by the Ancestors are known as Dreaming tracks. Some Creation Ancestors are still active today.

The image above depicts Namarrgon (pronounced narm-arr-gon). Namarrgon is an important Creation Ancestor who is responsible for the violent lightning storms that occur every tropical summer. The band around him from his left ankle, joining his hands and head, and down to his right ankle represents the lightning he creates. He uses the axes on his head, elbows and feet to split the dark clouds and make lightning and thunder.

Namarrgon’s story in this area is part of a longer story, covering a journey beginning on the coastline of the Coburg Peninsula and ending in a rock shelter in the sandstone country of the Arnhem Land plateau, where he remains today. During his travels he left his power behind at many places. On his last journey, when he approached the escarpment from the east, he looked over the sheer wall, then took out an eye and placed it high on the cliff at Namarrgondjahdjam (Lightning Dreaming), where it sits, waiting for the storm season. Lightning Dreaming can be seen from Gun-warddehwardde lookout.

The Rainbow Serpent

The Rainbow Serpent was a major creator being.

She created passages through rocks and formed waterholes in the Kakadu landscape, helping form the habitat for all beings. She is also part of the life cycle of plants and animals and the seasonal changes.

The many stories and sites associated with the Rainbow Serpent are often linked to water and places where she travelled across country, leaving behind features in the landscape. We believe she is still present today, resting, and should never be disturbed.

In the Kakadu region alone, the Rainbow Serpent has many different language names. To the north of the park she is known in Gun-djeihmi as ‘almudj’, while further south, Jawoyn speakers say ‘bolung’.

The Kakadu National Park logo depicts the Rainbow Serpent. We chose it to represent our local Aboriginal people and the broader Aboriginal community. It symbolises cultural unity across many clans and many languages throughout our region. Her image is a constant reminder of her power and presence and a reminder of our obligations to care for country.