Uncle Sandy Atkinson talks of the Old Murray Cod
Bangerang Elder Uncle Sandy Atkinson shares a story of the Old Murray Cod from his years living on Cummeragunja Station.
-In my generation, for instance, I can remember so clearly every year in the very hot summer times, you know, in the part of the evening when there's not a breath of air in the-- around, you know. And the sun over in the west is just sinking. And the sky is beautiful reds and pinks. And people-- it would be so hot, and the whole mission might just go down and sit on the banks of the river, you know.
And psychologically, I would suggest, you know, that's where it was nice. And maybe it was starting to cool, was starting to cool down. And usually at that time, this old man, Murray Cod, would come up. And he'd start playing up and down the river. And he must have been so big that when he swam along just a bit under the surface, he would create spout that ran up and looked like a whale blowing up water, you know. In fact, we used to call him a whale, you know.
But sometimes in the late evenings when it became dark, you'll hear him talking or singing down there with the grunts, you know, making lots of noise. Yeah, but that was him. And my dad tells a story that they were telling him that one time, probably the generation before him, some of the old men decided that they might catch him.
And so they put their nets in. And the next morning when they sailed a boat to get him, he was in the net. He was there swimming around in their net. And they pulled him up. And as they got up, nearly to get him to lift him into the boat, he went berserk. And he nearly tipped them out in the river. And he ripped their net to pieces and he got away.
And so that became a rule that nobody ever tried to catch him again, you know. And I think there was another sort of traditional type if thing, where Aboriginal people may have, you know, in a situation like that, he may have been coming as sort of the boss creature of that part of things.
So we all knew and respected him, and didn't ever want to catch him again. Because he'd done us like a dinner before and ripped our nets to pieces and so on. So I think, you know, even getting to my generation that, no, I don't know of anybody who tried to catch him.