Lawlers Creek, Mummuga Lake and Dalmeny

As noted above the area encompassing Brou Lake and Mummuga Lake is often referred to as ‘Brou’. Mummuga Lake is also referred to as ‘Dalmeny Lake’, as it is immediately north of the Dalmeny Township.

When camping at Mummuga Lake, Ronnie Mason and his family utilised the area in and around Lawlers Creek, ‘……all this area is significant….. Lawlers Creek comes into Mummuga Lake……we used all that area for fishing and to look around……’ [Ronnie Mason 5.1.2006].

Alex Walker and Max Munroe worked at the Lawlers Creek Sawmill [Chris Griffiths’ consults 16.3.2006].

The Lawlers Creek Sawmill was owned by Mitchell; it is still there today. Violet Parsons’ father Robert Parsons worked there [Violet Parsons 6.4.2006].

Terry Parsons’ father, Cyril Parsons was a benchman; he worked Lawlers Creek Sawmill [Terry Parsons 18.12.2005].

“…….I first came to Mummuga Lake when I was a kid, we came here, right here, and across over near the point and to another place on the other south side of Brou. All the black fellas had there own little areas, we walk from here to Jamison Point, fishing, day trips, take all the kids, a big mob of us. Four generations of my family camping here, there were five up until recently. Great grand kids coming tomorrow, we will teach them about this place. Kevin Mason, my brother still spears fish here at Mummuga. Bush tucker, eat a lot of gee bungs, raspberries, lilli pilli, more women’s work, plenty of medicine. Mum would eat red clay for her blood pressure. She would swim out and get swan eggs from nests in the swamps around here, and parrots, she was well known. She never worried about money, she sent us into town, into Bodalla through the bush around the river, for a bag of flour, salt, sugar, that’s all she wanted. We could fill up containers from Tuross River, get water and wash, take water to Mummuga……..” Ronnie Mason 5.1.2006.

“……..six generations of our family have camped here, at Brou. This is a traditional fishing place and teaching ground, to teach young kids about bush plants, medicine, fire safety, cooking, boating. Key survival skills, training and story telling about our old people. Teaching them about the environment and to respect the land. Boys go with Ronnie to catch abs and collect firewood. Teach kids how to look after the wood, make sure they take the rubbish away. We have access to wild resources for cultural purposes and we are all reared on abs, periwinkles and pipis……….” [Vivienne Mason 5.1.2006].

“……..one year Uncle Norm drove a big truck from Sydney to ‘Brou’ [Mummuga Lake]. We were all in the back and the piddle bucket whet flying. They were special memories. Even today, camping here is a time for the extended family to get together, renew family and cultural bonds. We talk about ‘coming home’, when we return to Brou….” [Jacqueline Puckendge 5.1.2006].

“……..I am 24-years-old, I am Jacqueline’s daughter. I see this place [Mummuga Lake] as a teaching place, for culture and family. ‘This is home, this place is steeped in cultural identity and beliefs…’ [ Carly Puckendge 5.1.2006].

“……children from the next generation are now coming here. My mum and her brothers and sisters and all their kids and grandkids, we are continuing that. When our mum died, we vowed to continue this. We only come once or twice each year, but it grounds our kids here. We have to take responsibility to teach our kids about what it means to be Aboriginal, their culture, it doesn’t always just happen. It takes an effort. Bodalla Land Council owns this place, it is one of the last places still accessible. We want this place protected, for our culture….for the old fella [spirit] and burial site. Once we were fishing, … sitting on bank, three of us, Vivienne said don’t turn around, get into boat. …the kids said’….what is staring at us…?’ We were near the burial site. I was determined to return to see the ‘the old man’, the spirit man. I did not go on shore; I have never touched foot on the ‘old fella on the point’. I have respect for places that are forbidden… This place is special ….it sings to us, not just particular trees, the entire place. There is a real ‘ambiance’ here…..” [Marcia Ella Duncan 5.1.2006].

“…….When we come to ‘Brou’, we establish a reconnection with our ancestors. I learnt language or isolated words rather. I knew some words, I did not know at the time how important that was. My grounding in Aboriginal culture and language was from here…… Not just because of ancestral birthplaces are here, but also because we regularly came here. Even now when I pass Trunkenabella Bridge, I feel like I am home…..” [Roslyn Ella Field 5.1.2006].

Carol Larritt camped with the ‘La Pa’ [La Perouse] mob at Mummuga Lake and caught loads of fish [Carol Larritt 23.1.2006].

When living at Stony Creek, Mary recalls collecting bimbullas from Dalmeny [Mummuga] Lake. They would fill up a tin caddy and take them back to Stony Creek to Curry them up for dinner. They would also get abalone off the rocks at the point at Dalmeny [Mary Duroux 6.2.2006].

John Pender currently resides in the bush, on the banks of Mummuga Lake. He lives off fish including snapper, tailor, mullet, dew fish, barracouta, bimbullas [used for bait] and oysters. He trades fish for rides into Narooma and for other needed services. He gives fish away if he can’t eat all that he catches [John Pender 4.5.2006].

Margaret recalls visiting the Stewarts, her father’s family, at Mummuga Lake over the summer holidays. They live in La Perouse. If camping, Margaret and her family bring water from Stony Creek in a kerosene drum. They would catch bimbullas and swim all day. They would visit the Dalmeny tip [previously located behind the present day tennis courts], to collect pumpkins and an array of reusable items. Margaret Harris recalls a chair moulded into the rocks at Mummuga Head, Dalmeny. Margaret heard that an old koori lady use to sit amidst the rocks and call in the dolphins. The dolphins would then bring in the fish and the men would catch them [Marg Harris 9.3.2006].

Ronnie Mason has memories of his father and mother collecting shellfish, lobsters and muttonfish off the rocks at Dalmeny. ‘…….Mum would also get gunyu swan eggs, wongas [pigeons], possums, and kangaroos. Our hunting dogs would chase the kangaroos for us. Rabbiting mainly around Brou Lake and Dalmeny when there were no houses. At Dalmeny we would go swimming and surfing, no houses there then. There were campsites, coming into Dalmeny, on the left hand side, now toilet blocks and picnic areas, a big camp was there, get oysters and bimbullas. Dad made spears out of garara sticks; you can get them around Narooma and Dalmeny. Stocks are dwindling and my son Darryl makes them now, still…’ [Ronnie Mason 5.1.2006].

In 1956, aged 18 Alan worked at Dalmeny on the tuna boats and at the Dalmeny Sawmill. He lived in Dalmeny in a bush hut that he built from mill off cuts [Alan Mongta 25.11.2005].

Robert Parsons worked in the Dalmeny Sawmill, previously located in the south-eastern corner of the Pacific highway and Dalmeny Road junction [Violet Parsons 6.4.2006].

Lawlers Creek / Mummuga Lake
Lawlers Creek / Mummuga Lake

Taken from “Stories About the Eurobodalla by Aboriginal People”. View the full study

Excerpt from "Stories About the Eurobodalla by Aboriginal People", 2006. Story Contributed by Martin Ind from Moruya High School.