Devil's Pool

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For other uses, see Devil's pool (disambiguation).
Devil's Pool as seen from its lookout

Devil's Pool or Babinda Boulders is a natural pool at the confluence of three streams among a group of boulders near Babinda, Queensland, Australia. The feature is regarded as cursed in local folklore due to the substantial number of deaths that have occurred there; a popular story involves a curse placed by an Aboriginal woman.

In 2005, the Australia TV program Message Stick gave an account of the Pool through interviews and testimonies of witnesses to investigate the prevalence of deaths to young male travellers over the years.[1] The pools have taken 17 lives since 1959.[2] The local council urges visitors to stay within a designated swimming area to be safe.

Origins[edit]

The legend arises from the story of a woman who married a respected tribal elder but ran away with a beautiful young man visiting for the event. When they were captured she threw herself into the waters to escape, calling for her lover to follow her. The legend goes that her spirit guards the boulders and that her calls for her lover can still be heard.[3]

One local, Annie Wonga, gave this account:

There was a tribe that lived here. In this tribe was an elder, and his name was called Waroonoo and Waroonoo was promised to a girl called Oolana. When they got married, they had a big dance. As they went dancing a wandering tribe passed through and they welcomed them. In this tribe was a handsome young warrior and his name was Dyga. Oolana fell in love with him, and he fell in love with Oolana. While they were dancing, they decided to run further up the creek and camp there overnight. And at the morning, the wandering tribe and our tribe saw that they were missing. So they went in search of them and they said to Oolana, "You've got to come with us." And his tribe took him away. And when she saw that, she just came and she threw herself into the creek. She loved him that much. And there was a mighty upheaval, and rocks were strewn everywhere and where she lay is now called the Devil's Pool. And every now and again she might call a wandering man to her, thinking that it's Dyga. [4]

Incidents[edit]

A sign warns of the dangers of swimming there because the water is deep and fast flowing through channels and over underwater rocks but deaths still occur – some by swimming, others by falling in unexpectedly, many being wedged in a rock "chute".

Local Aboriginal people believe that when people disrespect the site, the site "disrespects" them in return. One account given was a man who was warned, but kicked the plaque, slipped into the hole and drowned where a body had just been recovered. Another tells of a drowned man whose father photographed the site in memoriam. When the photograph was developed the son's face appeared on the rocks:

When the father came down, the police took him out and showed him where he went down in the chute. And he took the photo of that, thinking it's just a chute. And he came back and they showed him where they had him tied up there. And when he went over to Innisfail the next morning to get them developed that's what they found. That photo, he's even got the cigarette in his mouth.[4]

The Aboriginal people, among them Rainforest people, feel they are protected and anyone who goes there with them as friends are also protected.

On 30 November 2008, Tasmanian naval seaman James Bennett became the 17th person to drown at the site since 1959.[5]

In November 2009, a woman claimed a photo she took at the site showed the ghost in the water.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Babinda Boulders and Surf Dreaming". Message Stick. 2005-05-27. ABC.
  2. ^ a b Rankin, Robyn (7 November 2009). "Tourist snaps Babinda Boulders' ghost". The Cairns Post. Retrieved 2009-11-08. 
  3. ^ "Babinda Boulders in Babinda". Cairns Attractions web site. Retrieved 2007-07-06. 
  4. ^ a b "Babinda Boulders and Surf Dreaming". Message Stick. 2005-05-27. ABC.
  5. ^ Rollings, Barry (17 September 2009). "Navy runs for Jimmy". Navy. Retrieved 2009-11-08. 

Coordinates: 17°20′28″S 145°52′09″E / 17.34111°S 145.86917°E / -17.34111; 145.86917