"The Official Aboriginal Version Of The Olympic Games"

Exclusive Commission To Commemorate The Sydney Olympics 2000

Paintings By Famous Aboriginal Artist


Legend has it amongst many tribes; the Aboriginals of Australia were the first to create the different Sports that now form the different competitions of the Olympic Games as we know it today.

It took many generations to transfer the various Sports from native Australia to Ancient Greece - many a long trip was conducted by the original Australian Aborigines tramping over the various lands - most of which were joined together way back in Dreamtime. The parts that were not joined, and where water prevailed, were crossed in primitive bark canoes.


Many of the sports stemmed from early activities the Aboriginals still conduct even today eg, spear hunting became the javelin competition, and swimming was developed from the Aboriginals catching fish swimming to beat the tide before they escaped from the rivers into the ocean. The discuss originated from boomerang throwing, the marathon was formed via couriers transferring messages long distances from tribe to tribe, boxing originated from warriors watching how kangaroos stood and fought with their front paws standing on their hind legs, the high jump was created after seeing men jump as high as they could to capture various fruits from the top of trees after the lower branches had been stripped by others, and so on.

These legends of how the Sports of the Olympic Games originated have been passed down from Aboriginal generation to generation and from tribe to tribe.

It has now only in recent times that the "White Man" or "Caucasians" as they are commonly referred to by some Aboriginals today, have befriended the Australian Aboriginal, so much so the natives of the country have passed their legends to now be recorded in history.

The legendary Aboriginal Artist Wingla Dada has been one of the lucky ones to, not only be handed down the most famous Aboriginal folklores of how the Sports of the Olympic Games commenced many generations ago, but he has been given permission by his tribal elders to relay these stories to the World via his paintings.

As Wingla Dada was a previous Naidoc Award Winner (the highest for any Indigenous Artist in Australia), one of his Paintings has been chosen to be permanently exhibited in the National Museum of Australia. Unfortunately, Wingla Dada passed away at Cherbourg Queensland in January 2018, aged 51 years old, after a long term fighting cancer.






Dreamtime Stories & The Olympic Games Collection By Famous Aboriginal Artist



"The Origin Of Water Sports"

The Story


Australians have an excellent record of winning Olympic swimming and rowing medals over the years. .... And many Aboriginals of Australia believe it all stems from their ancestors.

Way back in Dreamtime, legend has it the Rainbow Serpent carved out the many rivers, streams, lakes and creeks across the country. As soon as they were made the Aboriginals began to swim in them always competing at a young age.

The Aboriginals competed with diving for crabs, swimming to catch fish before the tide beat them, and rowing in bark canoes made carved out from large trees.

In this painting can be seen two Aboriginal warriors diving for food at the top of each side of the painting, with the two rowers competing in their bark canoes and wooden oars. In the middle top is one of the many round waterholes where kids learn to swim with the 3 men swimming in the river at the base of the painting.

Original Size: 118cm x 74cm

"The Origin Of Boxing"

The Story


Wherever there is a beautiful woman there are always men fighting in some way to win her. .... In the Aboriginal World the same happened in Dreamtime, however in a different way. Men fought by boxing each other, and whoever is the last standing wins.

Now, the Olympic Sport of Boxing is believed by many Aboriginals to have commenced many generations ago when their Ancestors were hunting the giant Kangaroos by spearing them. After many months the Kangaroos started to fight back by standing on their large hind legs and fighting their hunters in a boxing-like style with their smaller front legs.

After seeing this, the tribal elders decided the way for the younger men to win their wives was to fight like the Kangaroo. Hence the sport of Boxing began.

In this painting can be seen at the top left the Aboriginal hunter about to spear a Kangaroo, with one of the tribal elders holding 2 warriors apart who are about to box. In the middle of the painting are two men in the midst of a boxing match with the white U-shapes on the outside of the boxing ring symbolizing 4 women watching the fight.

Original Size: 60cm x 45.5cm


"The Origin Of The Breast Stroke"
 The Story

Way back in Dreamtime the Aboriginals were bemused how the fish were able to swim so fast. They often tried to emulate them so they could move as quickly in the water.

It was to no avail.

The next best thing was to model themselves and copy the other water "creatures". The only one they could initially imitate successfully was the frog.

The tribal warriors practiced and practiced on shore, and after a short time they were able to move almost exactly like a frog. The movement was later called the breaststroke because the swimming action commenced from the chest area.

At the bottom of the painting can be seen the fish the natives originally wished to catch and copy, whilst in the centre are the various warriors practicing their "breast strokes" like the frogs at the top of the painting. The streams the frogs swim in can be seen entering the painting from the top.

Original Size: 60cm x 45cm


"The Origin Of Long Jumping 
& The Hop, Step & Jump"

 The Story

The Rainbow Serpent was one of the most famous animals in Aboriginal legends. It was the huge snake-like creature that travelled through the lands of Australia carving out all the rivers and creeks. The Rainbow Serpent was so long, it could take men and women days to reach the end of its tail to cross the water that filled the trenches it dug.

To overcome the huge treks to cross, adventurous Aboriginals decided to have competitions to see who could jump the huge creature, always keeping an eye on the Serpent's head to see he wasn't looking in case he decided to attack them.

To make it to the other side by jumping the Serpent was called the "Long Jump”, as it was usually a great distance to cover. As men became braver they jumped higher up the Serpent's body - thus a competition began who could jump the longest over the body without getting caught. Aboriginal legend has it in some tribes this is how the "Long Jump" as we know it in the Olympics today, commenced.

The "Hop, Step and Jump" developed around the same time, but this arose from people trying to cross the smaller muddy creeks that ran into the main rivers. Being smaller and irregular the way to cross the streams was, not just by jumping, but in some cases a person would have to hop and step over them. Hence the "Hop Step & Jump" arose with contests to see who could reach the longest distance by competing the 3 actions in one.

In this painting can be seen the huge snake-like Rainbow Serpent winding its way through the centre of the painting, with two men in different positions of the "Long Jump" at the bottom right. At the top left can be seen the "Hop Step & Jump" being performed crossing two muddy creeks between the 3 figures.

Original Size: 61cm x 46cm


"The Origin Of The Relay Race"

The Story


As legend has been told passing from generation to generation and from tribe to tribe, the Relay Race which now forms one of the Olympic Events first began from Aboriginals carrying messages between tribes or from campsite to campsite.

In some cases, when the messages were urgent, two separate messengers were sent in different directions with the same message, making sure the communication arrived in the 3250fastest time possible.

Whenever two messengers were sent at the same time, the young warriors always ran their fastest to see who would reach the final destination in the quickest time. In some cases, messages had to be relayed from tribe to tribe as one person could not cover the huge distances by themselves. Hence the relay race commenced.

In the painting can be seen the baton (or message) in the middle with the Aboriginals around the outside of the painting passing the batons from person to person or from tribe to tribe crossing over the many creeks and hills on their way.

Original Size: 60cm x 45.5cm


"The Origin Of Rowing"
 The Story

Way back in Dreamtime the canoe was made from the bark of the tree and used to make it easier to catch fish.

The Dreamtime stories passed down from some tribes say the Sport, now competed as Olympic Rowing, originated from Aboriginal fishermen rowing to catch their fish before the tide took them into the sea.

At the top right of this painting can be seen the various fish and turtles to be caught for food by the Aboriginals.

In the centre is a warrior cutting a canoe from the bark of a tree with a large axe made from a sharp stone attached to a wooden handle.

The river can be seen running through the centre from the top left to the bottom right of the painting with the tribesmen racing to catch the fish before the tide takes them to sea.

At the bottom left is shown the various ways of catching the fish from the canoes - either by spears, or nets made from reeds gathered from the edge of creeks.

Original Size: 60cm x 45.5cm


"The Origin Of Swimming"
 The Story

Australia has produced some of the best Olympic Swimmers in the World, and it is the belief of most Aboriginals that it all started via their Ancestors, as they were the first to be able to swim.

It all commenced when the rivers and creeks of the country were formed by the Rainbow Serpent, a large snake which burrowed out canals in the Earth's surface, which, when filled with rain, became our waterways we know today.

In the clear waters of these rivers and creeks our ancestors watched the various fish species swimming.

Not to be outdone the Aboriginals tried their skill at trying to move through the water as swift as the fish. Competitions arose between the tribes as to who could swim the fastest - hence the swim races evolved which are believed by many Aboriginals to be the commencement of swimming races held at the Olympics.

In this painting can be seen the huge Rainbow Serpent snake-like creature carving its way through the environment creating streams and rivers, with little creeks branching off the main arteries, the Aboriginal in the centre of the painting learning how to swim watching the fish for pointers.

Original Size: 60cm x 45cm


"The Origin of 100 Metres"
The Story

Amongst the Australian Animals way back in Dreamtime, the fastest was the Emu.

When the Aboriginals decided to have competitive Sports they tried to copy the Emu as much as possible for the fastest race, their 100 yards, later turned into the 100 metre race. They spent hours on end watching and studying the huge bird that couldn’t fly, to try and depict its actions.

In this picture can be seen the “U” shaped designs which represents the Aboriginals grouped watching the Emu. When they couldn’t find the Emu they waited near their nests - in the centre of the painting can be seen a huge Emu egg in one of the nests where they waited for the Emu to return.

Two of the large and very fast Emus can be seen at either side of the painting.

In the remainder of the painting the Artist “Wingla Dada” shows the various habitats of hills, rivers, creeks and mountains where the Emu lived and roamed.

Original Size: 60cm x 45.5cm


"The First Winners"
   The Story

One of the most famous paintings in the Olympic Games Collection by “Wingla Dada” is “The First Winners”.

In this painting it shows the various Aboriginals practicing and competing in their individual Sports.

In the top left of the painting is an Aboriginal athlete competing in one of the running races; the top right, a high jumper about to conduct a tumble roll over a wooden branch which was used to change the bar height; the bottom right, an Aboriginal training for the discuss contest with boomerangs; and at the bottom left an Aboriginal competing throwing a spear, which later became the Olympic javelin throwing event.

Surrounding the centre circle we see the various sands, mountains, rivers and creeks the Aboriginals travelled to compete between the tribes. The “U” shaped white shapes depict the tribes sitting and barracking for their Warriors in training or competing.

In the centre of the painting we see “The First Winners” waving triumphantly to their supporters in the foreground.

Original Size: 113cm x 84cm

"The Origin of Diving"
 The Story

Per head of population, Australia has produced some of the best Swimmers and Competitors at Water Sports in the World, including Diving. It is the belief of most Aboriginals that it all started via their Ancestors, as they were the first to be able to swim and dive to catch fish with their bare hands.

It all commenced when the rivers and creeks of the country were formed by the Rainbow Serpent, a large snake-like creature which burrowed out canals in the Earth's

surface, which, when filled with rain, became our waterways and lakes as we know it today.

In the clear waters of these rivers and lakes our ancestors watched the various fish species swimming. Naturally they had to catch the fish for their tucker – but the fish weren’t easy to catch – they were fast and slippery. Hence competitions arose between neighbouring tribes who could catch the most fish in a given time.

The Aborigines had to slip into the water with a minimum splash, therefore to catch the fish, which they usually completed from high rocks to gather maximum speed, they became excellent divers.

In this painting can be seen the homes of the various tribes, depicted by the circles and the Aboriginals diving from the rocks. In the water can be seen one of the warriors catching a fish.

 Original Size: 76cm x 61cm

"The Origin of Discus"
  The Story


Legend has it the discus originated from the Australian boomerang.

The boomerang was used to hunt many animals for Aboriginal tucker.

Now, way back in Dreamtime, Emu meat was a very favoured delicacy between the Warriors and their Families.

However, the Emu was very fast, and could outrun the boomerang as it moved through the air, therefore it was very rare the boomerang struck the Emu when it was thrown. One of the reasons was, it did not travel straight for a long way, returning to the thrower.

Therefore, a faster weapon was needed. After gaining flat worn rounded rocks from the creeks, the Aboriginals tried these to catch the Emu. Sometimes it succeeded, more often it didn’t – therefore a lighter similar shaped weapon that travelled faster and further required creating. This is when they carved out flat round weapons made of hard wood, which they called the discus, after the noise it made brushing through the air fast enough to catch the Emu.

When the warriors were waiting for the Emus to show, rather than waiting around sitting on their behinds or sleeping, they had competitions who could throw the furthest – hence Discus throwing competitions commenced, and has continued throughout the ages to the modern day Olympics.

In this painting can be seen the 2 warriors each holding a discus and ready to compete against each other, and the surrounding creeks and trees from where all the original stone and each wooden discus initiated.

At either side of the painting are the Emus that were very fast and hard to catch.

The circles at the bottom of the painting depict the Aboriginals sitting in circles waiting for the Emus to arrive and their turn to compete in the discus throwing competitions.

In the centre of the painting are the mountains of heavy tropical rain forests where the Emus run to hide from the Warriors – the foliage is so thick many of the discus are lost – seven of these can be seen in the painting scattered through the dense forest.

Original Size: 115cm x 82cm

"The Beginning"
  The Story

This painting is the most admired and most expensive in “The Olympic Games Collection” by “Wingla Dada”

Way back in Dreamtime it was believed all Men came from Animals, and it was the original fighting by Animals for food and the best females which originally instigated regular competitions between the various types of Animals. Some animals could swim better than others, some could run and jump better.

In this painting can be seen one of the competing groups of Animals, later to be called tribes by the Aborigines, preparing to choose their first successful participants against a neighbouring group of Animals.

The Head of this assembly in the painting was the Kangaroo (in the centre of the painting) because he could compete in many events – he could jump, was fast at various running events, and could box. Note, all the important meetings and training camps were held around a major river as seen by the circle surrounding the headquarters for the Kangaroo.

The Animals who wished to compete against the other animal species in this painting are mainly different types of reptiles including the lizards, geckos, the bearded dragon lizard and goannas which can be seen top left and at the bottom of the painting. At the left of the painting can be seen the fastest animal in this group, the Emu who was second in charge to the Kangaroo. The snake also at the left of the painting, unfortunately could never make “The Games”, so he concentrated on carving out the swimming venues.

At the top right of the painting shows the final selection meeting to choose the final competitors, and at the top right are seen the warriors with spears who eventually overtook competing from animals.

Original Size: 170cm x 122cm



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Dreamtime Stories & The Olympic Games Collection By Famous Aboriginal Artist

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