Thalaualla, the black snake, arose first at a spot called Tjinqurokora, where there is a rocky water-hole in the bed of Tennant Creek. This water-hole is now a sacred spot at which no women may drink.

Tradition says that, after coming up out of the earth, the snake made the creek now called Tennant, and traveled on to the Macdouall Range, which indeed he also created. As he went along he made thuthu or sacred ceremonies, and where he did so he left spirit children behind him. When he did this, and performed the ceremonies, he always shook himself, preparatory to going on to the next place, and this shaking was represented in the two next ceremonies, which are called purntu-purntu, and were associated with the small rock-holes at the foot of the Macdouall Range, at a place called Lantalantalki. It was close to this place also that the snake met the old crow, and the latter having no ceremony of his own the snake lent him one.

From Lantalantalki the snake went on to Orpa, another water-hole. From Orpa he traveled up towards the source of the creek, making thuthu and leaving spirit children behind him at Pittimulla. Finally, when the old snake had finished making the Macdouall Ranges and the creeks running out from them as far as Mount Cleland on the east side, he came back to his original home at Tjinqurokora.



  • Spencer, Sir Baldwin. (1904). Northern Tribes of Central Australia. London: Macmillan, pp. 299 ff.

This article incorporates text from Northern Tribes of Central Australia (1904) by Sir Baldwin Spencer, which is in the public domain.