The Legend of the Three Sisters

Taking us back to Australia’s Blue Mountains, our next stop was to pay a visit to the enormous rock formation known as the “Three Sisters” in Katoomba. My understanding from our Australian tour guides (our very good friends who live in Adelaide, Australia) is that this is one of New South Wales most iconic landmarks and is viewed by millions of people each year.  These weathered sandstone peaks, were formed over thousands of years and rise more than 900 metres high (3000 ft. above sea level) among the cliffs of the Jamison Valley.

There are a number different aboriginal legends about how the “Three Sisters” came to be. Once such legend stated that the pillars were once three beautiful sisters named ‘Meehni’, ‘Wimlah’ and ‘Gunnedoo’ who were turned into stone by a powerful tribal elder. The women had fallen in love with three brothers from another tribe, but were forbidden to marry under tribal law. The brothers decided to capture the three sisters, causing a major battle, and the elder turned the women into stone to protect them.

Another such legend claims that the three sisters, Meenhi, Wimlah and Gunnedoo had a father who was a witch doctor. His name was Tyawan.

Long ago there was a Bunyip who lived in a deep hole who was feared by all. Passing the hole was considered very dangerous, therefore when Tyawan had to pass the hole in search for food, he would leave his daughters safely on the cliff behind a rocky wall. One fateful day, Tyawan waved goodbye to his daughters and descended down the cliff steps into the valley.

Meanwhile at the top of the cliff, Meenhi was frightened by a large centipede which suddenly appeared before her. Meenhi took a stone and threw it at the centipede. The stone continued on its journey and rolled over the cliff, crashing into the valley below which angered the Bunyip. The rocky wall behind Meenhi, Wimlah and Gunnedoo then began to split open and the three sisters were left stranded on a thin ledge at the top of the cliff. All the birds, animals and fairies stopped still as the Bunyip emerged to see the terrified girls. As the Bunyip began to approach the girls, to protect them from harm, their father Tyawan used his magic bone to turn them into stone.

Angered by this, the Bunyip then began to chase Tyawan. Becoming trapped, in order to flee from the Bunyip, Tyawan changed into a magnificent Lyre Bird, yet in the process dropped his magic bone. Tyawan and his three daughters were now safe from the Bunyip. Once the Bunyip had disappeared, Tyawan returned in search of his magic bone, yet this was never to be found.

The Lyre Bird has searched for this magic bone ever since. Remaining in rock formation, The Three Sisters stand silently overlooking the valley hoping that one day he’ll find the bone and turn them back to former selves.

So now you know the legend of the Three Sisters. Whether fact or simply legend, these “Three Sisters” are a stunning and beautiful site to see. If you’re ever in New South Wales, just a couple of hours from Sydney be sure and pay these ladies a visit! Enjoy the ladies!

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Just as we were getting ready to head back to Sydney, off in the distance you could see that a storm was brewing. As the clouds began to form over the valley it gave me one last view of this majestic valley before the clouds opened up and the rain came pouring down…

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