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The song of the Lyrebird – Woorayil – GunaiKurnai Country

The Way it was Before

This composition is the opening segment of my musical suite based on the GunaiKurnai dreaming story, the Creation of Waratah Bay.

This is the song of the Lyrebird Woorayil, the teacher who sings to all of us the stories so we do not forget and learn.

It is the creation era, a time where all the animals spoke the same language and there were no wars nor hate. 

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The song of the LyreBird by Thomas Lorenzo GunaiKurnai creation story of Waratah Bay Tarra Bulga National Park Gippsland
Tarra Bulga National Park is my Happy Place in Victoria

I discovered it by chance.

I was cruising around Gippsland, Victoria, Australia, on a hot summer day when I saw a mountain surrounded by a cloud of mist. I instantly felt the urge to drive into it, and as I emerged from the mist, I was greeted by an ancient rainforest – the Tarra Bulga National Park.

Time seemed to stop. I saw the past as the present and was overwhelmed by the need to walk its trails and glide underneath the canopy of its thick covering of ancient fern trees.

I heard the lyrebirds sing very loudly, as if they were reminding me of the song of the lyrebird to be learned

Slow Walks Slow Snakes

I wonder what attracts me so much to these temples of nature. There are not many people in the bush, and if I do see them, they are generally quick walkers. I prefer to take my time and walk at a pace where I have the opportunity to observe life as it grows.

I walk so slowly that even snakes are startled. But, perhaps because I walk slowly, they don’t see me as a threat. When I’m close, they tend to crawl away slowly.

One day, I climbed a small track in the Tarra Bulga National Park (jointly managed by the GunaiKurnai people), and when I reached the top, I felt the need to stop and drink some water. I looked down, and there was a snake at my feet. I knew that danger was just one step away, but at the same time, my thirst saved me from a potentially deadly encounter.

I believe in the magic of the bush and feel protected within it as long as I walk slowly and listen. If I’m too tired, I wait. If it’s too hot, I wait. If it’s too windy, I wait. Generally, the bush responds by welcoming me.

The Story Behind the Song

During the COVID lockdown in Melbourne, I felt the urge to bring the refreshing essence of this land into people’s homes. So, I applied for a Creative Victoria Arts Grant to perform live music from the Tarra Bulga National Park, aiming to infuse a breath of fresh air into the homes and hearts of those who were in solitude and yearning for the rejuvenating touch of nature


As I had walked through its trails, I knew there was more to understand than what I could simply see, and I felt the urge to ask the Custodians and owners of this land for guidance.

I called the Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation and explained that I wanted to compose music that would reflect the beauty of this land and live-stream the performance from its bush into the homes of all those in lockdown.

The Elders guided me and introduced me to the GunaiKurnai Custodian and storyteller, Wayne Thorpe.

The Creation Story

The Creative Arts Victoria grant awarded me the status of an essential worker, allowing me to bypass police barricades and leave the city, all for the unique job of sitting underneath a tree and playing the guitar. I cherish this land.

I drove down to Lakes Entrance and met up with Uncle Wayne. We sat on the riverbank for hours, discussing Mother Nature, music, and Aboriginal Lore.

Uncle Wayne believed that the best way to describe Tarra Bulga National Park was to recount its creation story, and I would compose music to create a musical theme. We decided to write a song for the Corroboree of the story.

This first segment encapsulates what I hear and feel whenever the lyrebird sings in the bush. I can easily imagine it, many thousands of years ago, waking up every morning and singing the song of the lyrebird to all the creatures of the bush.

Due to the lockdown conditions, we were never able to perform the story and music together. So, I had to perform alone, with my audience being the Bush Spirits, the true listeners of the story.

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