Balardong Noongar boordier Everett Kickett retells nidja yarn tells of how Wong Bery, the sleeping woman (now called Mt Brown) and Walwalling, the wailing mountain (now called Mt Bakewell) came to be on either side of the Balardong Beel. Today, if you look at Mt Brown from a certain angle you can imagine the shape of a sleeping woman. Up the side of Mt Bakewell you can still see the long line of balga, once Yued warriors killed by the powerful Mibrong. And still Mt Bakewell is said to echo a wail when someone's death brings back the memories of that great day of sadness.
Woonding, a marmun from the Yued tribe and Wilura, a yok from the Balardong tribe first met at a contest for gidgie and kaile throwing. The handsome young warrior and the kwobidak yok were immediately attracted to one another and wanted to kardo-barring. However, they were forbidden to do so by the law of the Balardong tribe. Wilura was promised to another man. Nothing could change that.
The two young people knew that to break tribal law in this way would bring severe punishment. But the love between them was very strong and they wanted to be together more than anything else. So instead of obeying the law of the Balardong tribe, Woonding and Wilura ran away and hid.
When the Balardong Noongar discovered they had lost their young yorga they were angry. A messenger approached the neighbouring Yued tribe and demanded her back. But the Yued people said they did not know where the two had gone. The Balardong people became angrier. They warned their neighbours that if they did not return the young woman their warriors would come to claim her, armed with gidgie.
Time passed and still the young woman had not been returned. The Balardong people could wait no longer. A group of young warriors was sent out to bring her back. It was near where Walwaling now stands that the Balardong warriors came across a big group of Yued warriors. When they saw the Balardong warriors approaching, the Yued warriors hurled their spears at them with great force. The warriors fell one by one, the rest of the Balardong tribesmen and women could only watch n horror from a nearby hill.
One of the Balardong men watching from the hill was Mibrong, the tribal mulgar kuttuck. Before he could do anything two of his sons were killed. Tears of shock an sadness run down his face. Then, in an angry rage he raised his wanminoong and put a wabyn on the Yued warriors for killing his sons.
Mibrong’s mubarn was very powerful. Energy forces flashed from his body as he screamed to the sky. It hit the Yued warriors and turned them into balga. Then Mibrong turned his powerful mubarn onto Woonding and Wilura, the young man and woman who had caused all this fighting. He knew that they were both hiding at the bottom of the hill. When he raised his hand again they were killed instantly.
As Wilura’s spirit rose up from her body Mibrong banished her to the other side of the river. She became the mountain called Wong Beryl, the sleeping woman. Then the mulga kuttuck turned the young man into Walwalling, the wailing mountain. In his final walbyn he declared that the two would remain apart for a long, long time with the river dividing them.
His walbyn could only be lifted when it was time for the earth to move. Then the mountains would come together, and only then could Wong Beryl and Walwalling be as one. “When I was a small boy I was told by the elders that one day Mibrong’s walbyn will be lifted. The two mountains will join and Wilura and Woonding will be together again. I could never imagine how that could happen. Many years later, after an earthquake in the area, I was amazed to discover that a fault line runs between the two mountains. Now I believe what the elders told me all those years ago – that Mibrong’s walbyn really will be lifted one day.
Nidja yarn is based on the following reference;
Kickett, Everett (1995) 'The Legend of the Mountains', Chatham Road Publications, West Midland, Western Australia.