Whittakers Creek, Stony Creek, Brou Lake and Brou Beach

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 immediately north of the Dalmeny Township. The oral accounts below speak for themselves.

Stony Creek / Whittakers Creek / Brou Lake / Brou Beach
Stony Creek / Whittakers Creek / Brou Lake / Brou Beach

Alex Walker recalls the Aboriginal workers from Stony Creek Sawmill fishing off the rocks at Brou Beach in the 1940s [Alex Walker 11.4.2006].

Now and in the past when camping at Brou or Mummuga Lake Ronnie Mason and his family go to Brou Beach to collect pipis. ‘…About 30 years ago a drought dried up Brou Lake, and made the lake smelly and the wind blew the stench into the camp. The area was also polluted from the Brou tip. We were worried about eating the fish. We moved camp to Mummuga Lake after that. The water at Mummuga is cleaner, the kids can learn how to swim and drive a boat…’ [Ronnie Mason 5.1.2006].

Mary Duroux’s great, great grandmother, ‘Broulidgee of Narooma’, is a buried at Brou Lake. Broulidgee was married to king Bemboka. Their son was Picalla who married Sarah Haddigaddi. Sarah’s mother was Lucy Haddigaddi from Wallaga Lake, the wife of Paddy. Broulidgee was buried in Ulladulla and then later taken back to Brou Lake to be reburied. When Mary was at this burial site she noticed a scarlet honeyeater flapping nearby [Mary Duroux 6.2.2006]

Granny Tungai used to sit in a chair carved from granite. It was located on the northern side of Brou Lake with a clear view to Montague Island. Granny Tungai would sit in the chair and call in Dolphins, sending messages through them to the men on Montague Island [Dave Tout 7.6.2006].

Les recalls catching blue swimmer crabs from Brou Lake when camping at Potato Point in the 1960s. A real teaching place, it is a safe place [Les Simon 3.11.2005].

‘……Nanny Stewart told us where we couldn’t go in the Brou Lake area. We listened to her, most of the time. Once at Brou we went where she told us not to go; north of Brou near the burial site. When we buried our mum, Viv brought dirt from Brou Lake to scatter on her grave. ….’ [Roselyn Ella Field 5.1.2006].

“……Traditional fishing places include Brou Lake for prawning. South of Brou, near Mummuga Head they found a burial site, right where Nanny and Billy McLeod said ‘….no don’t go there’. Three or four places, we were told not to go, we were not always told the reasons why. If we asked questions, we would get into trouble…..and would find the duligal. The reasons why the camp shifted from South Brou to Mummuga Lake: ……it was not just the easterly winds that blew us off the beach, something didn’t like us camping there [maybe because of burials]. On north Brou a drought dried up the lake. The lake got stinky, so we moved to here, to Mummuga where we are now. North and south were eerie, we felt ‘old lads’ [spirits]. It is better here, maybe we were told to move. …” [Vivienne Mason 5.1.2006].

‘…..I recall camping on the south side of Brou Lake, prawning, fishing, 30 years ago, I was 15. The next year they closed that area to camping, so we went to the north side of Brou Lake. That area was too exposed to the north-easterly winds. ….’ [Glen Ella 5.1.2006].

On the north side of Brou Lake, Vanessa Mason recalls her Uncle Keith driving her right up to an ancestral spirit being: ‘….Mum there are red eyes up there, it was just standing there, I faced it, it was nearly as tall as me, it wasn’t scared, it wasn’t’ shy…..”.[Vanessa Mason 5.1.2006].

When Margaret Harris lived at Stony Creek, she would walk to Brou Lake to have a feed. There was banana Passionfruit growing at Brou Lake. On the weekends, they would check their lobster pots left at Brou Lake. They had a bark shelter there for protection during the hot summer days [Marg Harris 9.3.2006].

There are burial sites, a women’s ceremonial site and tools in the Brou Lake area [Trisha Ellis 1.6.2006].

Along Whittakers Creek, near the ‘Two Sisters’, mullet [Murra] were speared using traditional spears [Jennifer Stewart 09.11.2005].

‘…..There were two sisters from Jerrinja country, Nowra. They were promised to be married but for whatever reason left their marriage arrangements and began walking south with their dog. Their elders sent someone after them asking the two sisters to return to their own country to marry. They did not return and were punished. They were turned into stones, as was their dog, at the place where they are today, south of Whittakers Creek. …’ Percy Mumbler told John Mumbler this story [John Mumbler 24.5.2006].

The ‘Two sisters’ at Brou Lake link the coastal people to the Manero people. The two sisters [mythologically] married and lived in both places [Alan Mongta 25.11.2005].

Trisha went fishing for blackfish with her mother at Whittakers Creek. She was shown the Two Sisters, the rock site, and told the associated story. ‘….there was a big camp of Jeringa people camped at Kianga near Bodalla. The Jeringa people had travelled from the Crookhaven Heads area, East Nowra and were heading south for the annual corroboree that was to be held in Bega.. two young warriors from the Monaroo tribe, crept into the camp and stole away with two of the young women. These two women had a pet dog who followed along faithfully. ….When the Jeringa men returned from their hunting expedition they were angered to learn of the passing events, the women who had been stolen were promised from birth to a tribal Elder (as was the way of our people then) and such an act was unlawful. ….The Jeringa men caught up with the Monaroo men, the two women and the dog, at what is now known as “Whittakers Creek”. The two men were speared dead, the two women and their dog were turned to stone. They stand to this day, a reminder to others of the penalties imposed for breaking our lores….’ [Trisha Ellis 1.6.2006].

When camping at Brou Lake, Ronnie Mason and his family utilised the area in and around Whittakers Creek; ‘……all this area is significant ….Whittakers Creek comes into Brou Lake, we use all that area for fishing and looking around. ….’ [Ronnie Mason 5.1.2006].

Lionel’s grandfather took him to the Whittakers Creek area when he was a child. Lionel continues to fish in Whittakers Creek with his sons. He needs to get a key for the locked gate [Lionel Mongta 2.1.2006].

Georgina Parsons camped here as a child and remembers netting the creek for mullet to feed to family [Georgina Parsons 6.6.2006].

Lionel Mongta worked at the Stony Creek Sawmill before he was married. His brother Lyle worked here for 3 years. Stony Creek itself provided a good source of tailor and trout fish [Lionel Mongta 2.1.2006].

Mary lived at the Stony Creek Sawmill accommodation when she was in her early 20s. Mary’s cousin Phyllis Arnold was also there at the time. Phyllis Arnold’s father, Albert Stewart worked at the mill. 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 for dinner. They would also get abalone off the rocks at the point at Dalmeny [Mummuga Head ] [Mary Duroux 6.2.2006].

In 1960 the family moved to Stony Creek, following sawmill work. When they were there Margaret began at Bodalla Public School. The family lived at Stony Creek, west of the highway in sawmill workers accommodation for four years. At Stony Creek Margaret recalls hunting kangaroos if there was no fish around. The kids would make Shanghais for the job. There were always fruit trees to feed off, apples, nectarines and peaches. Margaret recalls eating bush foods such as yams, with a pink flower. They swam in creeks and made canoes out of corrugated iron; plugging any holes with tar, melted on the road on a hot day. Margaret’s Uncle, her father’s brother, Alfred Stewart, was also living and working at Stony Creek. Her cousins were there too [Margaret Harris 9.3.2006].

‘…..Koori people liked working at Stony Creek for Davis and Herbert because they paid proper wages. ….I almost cut off my hand here…..’ Alex lived at the sawmill houses, not far from the mill. On weekends they went fishing in Stony Creek for eels. From Stony Creek working families would go to Nerrigundah for the weekend to pick peas and catch up with their families living out there [Alex Walker 11.4.2006].

Albert Solomon worked at the Stony Creek Sawmill in 1963, when he was 18. ‘…..the sawmill houses were packed. …..Ben Brown and the Stewart boys were there, so was Ian and Stewart Hoskins and Neville Thomas, Harriett’s brother….’ [Albert Solomon 11.4.2006].

Pam Flanders remembers spearing fish in Stony Creek before she was married. This was around 1960 [Pam Flanders 11.4.2006].

Terry Parsons father, Cyril Parsons was a benchman; he worked at Stony Creek [Terry Parsons 18.12.2005].

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.