Features - The Three Sisters
The Three Sisters (originally called "tri...") are internationally famous and are at the centre of tourism for the Katoomba area. Interestingly they weren't the original attraction for early visitors. That honour belongs to Orphan Rock.
The Legend of the Three Sisters
Long ago in the Blue Mountains, three sisters named Meehni, Wimlah and Gunnedoo lived with their witch-doctor father, Tyawan. They lived happily in the mountains but shared one fear - the bunyip, who lived in ta deep hole nearby. So, to protect his daughters when he was away, Tyawan would leave them high on a cliff behind a rock wall.
One day, after waving goodbye to his daughters, Tyawan descended into the valley. However, when a large centipede appeared on the cliff top sanctuary, it so frightened Meehni that she threw a rock at it. But the stone rolled over the cliff.
Suddenly, all the animal were silent and the rock behind the three sisters split open, leaving them isolated on a thin ledge. There was a rumble below and all the creatures began to flee yelling 'quick, here comes the bunyip!' Horrified, the three frightened sisters huddled together.
The angry bunyip, who had emerged from his sleep, looked up to see what had rudely awakened him. When he spotted the sisters, perched on the thin ledge, he lurched furiously towards them.
In the valley, Tyawan had heard the commotion and looked up to see that the bunyip had almost reached his daughters. Frantic, the witch-doctor pointed his magic bone at his daughters and turned them into stone. It would keep them safe until the bunyip had gone, after which Tyawan would return them to their former selves.
The bunyip became even more enraged when he saw what had happened. He turned on Tywawn and chased him. While fleeing, Tyawan became trapped by a rock which he could neither climb nor circle, so he quickly changed himself into a lyrebird and disappeared into a small cave. But alas, although everyone was safe, Tyawan has lost his magic bone!
After the bunyip returned home, Tyawan crept out of the cave to search for his magic bone. And he is still looking for it to this day.
Meanwhile, the three sisters stand silently watching from their mountain ledge, hoping he will one day find the magic bone to bring them back to life.
The commonly told legend of the Three Sisters is that three sisters (Meehni', 'Wimlah' and Gunnedoo') lived in the Jamison Valley as members of the Katoomba tribe. They fell in love with three men from a neighbouring tribe (the Nepean tribe), but marriage was forbidden by tribal law. The brothers were not happy to accept this law and so decided to use force to capture the three sisters. A major tribal battle ensued, and the sisters were turned to stone by an elder to protect them, but he was killed in the fighting and no one else could turn them back. This legend is claimed to be an Indigenous Australian Dreamtime legend.
It must be noted that there is some conjecture as to the authenticity of the two stories which purport to be of Indigenous origin.