Along with Bermagui, Wallaga Lake has also long been known as a fishermen's
paradise. There are also endless places for bushwalking and enjoying nature, all
under the imposing presence of Mount Dromedary. The fauna in the area includes
potoroos, koalas, bandicoots, swamp wallabies, and a huge number of bird
The former Wallaga Lake National Park and Goura
Nature Reserve were incorporated into
Gulaga National Park.
Wallaga Lake was formed when two river valleys were flooded at the
end of the Great Ice Age and the river mouths were blocked by a large
sandbar. It was frequented by Aborigines for thousands of years and
there are many ancient human relics, including a number of middens on
the lake's foreshores. All are protected by law.
Access to Merriman Island, in the middle of the lake, is forbidden
due to its great significance for indigenous communities. It was the
first place to be gazetted as an Aboriginal site. A focus of tribal
culture the island is associated with the story of King Merriman, widely
known amongst the Aborigines of the south coast.
According to legend
King Merriman lived on the island while his people lived on the shores
of the lake. His power derived from his ability to understand a black
duck, his moojingarl, which forewarned him of forthcoming dangers. One
day it told him of a group of warriors coming from the far south to do
battle. King Merriman remained on the island while the other men took
the women and children to a place of safety and then hid in the reeds.
The first to sight the approaching warriors the King warned his men who
fought a fierce battle but lost. The opposing tribesmen then set out for
the island. King Merriman threw powerful spears, and a boomerang which
severed the arms and heads of his opponents before returning to him, but
it was not enough. He then turned himself into a whirlwind and flew off.
He passed over the fierce Kiola tribe and their wise men correctly
divined his presence and that it meant the defeat of the Wallaga people
and the advance of another tribe. King Merriman journeyed on to the
Shoalhaven tribe to warn them but the Kiola tribe defeated the invaders
and the King, whose power was finished, stayed for a time at the
Shoalhaven then travelled away.
NSW National Parks
& Wildlife Service
In addition to our listed online travel guide information, contact
the local tourism visitor centre for your destination for more attractions, tours,
local maps and other information.