Australian Legendary Tales

Australian Legendary Tales, K. Langloh Parker, 1895

  • Australia, #3
  • Digital, free download from
  • Read April 2014
  • Rating: 2/5
  • Opening Line: Dinewan the emu, being the largest bird, was acknowledged as king by the other birds.
  • Recommended for: Lovers of cultural anthropology with a high tolerance for boredom

I wanted to read Legendary Tales of the Australian Aborigines, by David Unaipon, an Aboriginal author, but the only copy I could locate cost £300 on Amazon so I decided to go for something a little more affordable. Katie Parker was of European descent, but was born and raised in the Australian outback. This series of folktales maybe doesn’t show the greatest cultural sensitivity or literary skill, but it’s nice that she was able to transcribe some Aboriginal myths before they were stamped out by western imperialism. It’s pretty tough going to read all at once; I suggest reading one or two stories and then reading something else for a while. Or just skip ahead to my favorite story, “Meamai and the Seven Sisters”, which is awesomely weird and involves an eyeless man, a vanishing lake, a strange and frightening object that calls itself “Bulgahnunnoo”, emus who turn into men when they are killed, and endless trees that women climb to reach the heavens, where they become stars.


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