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Traditional fire stories

In Australian indigenous culture there are many traditional fire stories.

Crocodile took a fire stick

The crocodile took a fire stick with which to make a fire, for there was then none in the world. Full story: Crocodile took a fire stick

The crow and the eagle

Long ago in the Dreamtime, the crow was white. The crow and the eagle were the best of friends. They lived together in the same camp. When they got up in the morning, the crow used to tell the eagle, 'You go up to the hills and look for the big red hill kangaroo. I will go down to the billabong and see if I can catch some ducks for our dinner.' Full story: The crow and the eagle

The crow and the magpie

Many years ago there lived two brothers who belonged to the Crow family, and although both brothers were liked by all who knew them, they couldn't get along with each other; they seemed to be always bickering and arguing. Full story: The crow and the magpie

The opal that turned into fire

In the faraway past there was no fire and the people had to cook their meat in the sun. It was noticed that two old women always had more tender meat than the others. They were Gimma the rat kangaroo, and Yummar the bronzewing pigeon. Full story: The opal that turned into fire

Water-rat and fire

There was a time, which lasted many ages, when man lacked the most valued gift that mankind has ever known, the gift of fire. Strange to tell, it was discovered by Water-rat of all people! Full story: Water-rat and fire

The shared secret

Two men went hunting with their mothers. While the men caught ducks and plovers on the plain, the women collected lily roots and seeds from water pools. The women possessed fire, but sought to keep it secret from the men who were ignorant of firemaking. Full story: The shared secret

The kanatgurk and the crow

Five women called the Kanatgurk were once the possessors of fire, but would not share it. One day Waang the crow tasted a cooked yam from their fire and liked it so much he resolved to steal the fire. Full story: The kanatgurk and the crow

The fires of the north

On the northern coast of the continent, including the western coast of Arnhem Land, people believed that their land had extended far towards the north in the past. They thought that they could have walked across to the far distant northern lands. Full story: The fires of the north


Crow often is a trickster character, in sharp contrast to his more sombre moiety counterpart, Bunjil the eaglehawk. A Koori myth from Victoria tells how Crow stole fire from the seven women guardians. In the Dreamtime only these seven women knew the secret of fire and refused to divulge how it was made. Crow decided that he would get their secret. Full story: Crow