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Museum 3

Museum of the Riverina


P.O. Box 20 Wagga Wagga NSW, 2650

Phone 0269 252 934   Fax  0269 255 720


Page 2


Aboriginal Information

At the Museum there is a section displaying aboriginal artifacts and information on the local Wiradjury people.

Amongst this information is the following aboriginal folk law story.



Many years ago two local groups of Wiradjuri people occupied either side of the Murrumbidgee River, in the vicinity of Wagga Wagga, the river forming the boundary between the two territories. The groups were generally friendly towards each other.

Each had its own tribal laws which they adhered to with undeviating strictness, breeches being punished with great severity.

A day came when one of the young men, Gobbagumbalin, the son of two of the elders, saw Pomingalarna, a gadgi migay ( beautiful girl ), one of the neighbouring group, and falling in love with her decided to make her his wife. However the girl had been promised to a warrior of her own group.

The two met secretly, and for a while these meetings passed unobserved, but in time they were discovered.

Some of the old men warned the youth that he must see no more of the girl and any continuance of their meetings would be looked upon as a grave breech of tribal law and would be punishable.

Such passion existed between the young couple that they decided to elope, although they knew that such action would make them outsiders forever.

They decided that Gobbagumbalin should cross the river at a spot where the girl would await him, then the two would recross the stream together and hasten to the depths of the ranges.

On a dark night the young man swam across the river and found the woman waiting for him. Hand in hand they entered the water to swim silently towards the farther shore. However as they reached the centre of the muddy stream, a storm of spears directed from both sides of the river fell hissing into the water around them.

Both Gobbagumbalin and Pomingalarna, mortally wounded, sank beneath the water, tightly clasping each others arms.

Such was the tragic death of the lovers, and today the frogs still mourn their fate. Those on one side of the Murrumbidgee cry Gobbagumbalin whilst those on the opposite side cry Pomingalarna.

If tempted to doubt the truth of the story the Wiradjuri people say you only have to listen to the morning shout of the frogs, which may be heard any hot night in summer.


The Actual Aboriginal Painting

The magnificent aboriginal painting was painted to celebrate the opening of the new Gobba Bridge, ( derived from Gobbagumbalin ), which crosses the Murrumbidgee and was opened in July 1997.

Towards the bottom of the painting you can see a "belt of hands". This represents the new Gobba Bridge crossing the Murrumbidgee.

The two frogs in the painting are the Peron's Tree Frog and the Painted Burrowing Frog.

The memory of the young lovers also lives on with place names of Gobbagumbalin, being a farm, a homestead and a lagoon, and Pomingalarna, being a park, a farm and a hill.

Copies of this magnificent painting are available, please contact the museum.


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