Barnumbirr is a creator-spirit in the Yolngu culture of Arnhem Land in Australia, who is identified as the planet Venus. She guided the first humans, the Djanggawul[1] sisters, to Australia. The rising of Barnumbirr in the sky before sunrise marks an important ceremony of the Yolngu.[2] As she approaches, in the early hours before dawn, the Yolngu say that she draws behind her a rope of light attached to the island of Baralku on Earth, and along this rope, with the aid of a richly decorated "Morning Star Pole", the people are able to communicate with their ancestors.[3]

After crossing the coastline near Yirrkala, Barnumbirr flew across the land from East to West, creating a songline which named and created the animals, plants, and natural features of the land.

Further reading

Aboriginal Astronomy


  1. Ronald M. Berndt (2004). Djanggawul: An Aboriginal Religious Cult of North-Eastern Arnhem Land. Routledge. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-415-33022-0.
  2. Ray & Cilla Norris (2009). Emu Dreaming: An Introduction to Aboriginal Astronomy. ISBN 978-0-9806570-0-5.
  3. Allen, Louis A. (1975). Time before morning. Cowell, NY.

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