Photo’s: Baz – The Landy, Margaret River
This is actually a close up of the bark on a tree!
Photo: Janet-Planet in the Australian Bush
There is something very special about the Corner Country that has kept Janet and me coming back for as long as we can remember.
Perhaps it is the wide-open plains where the sunburnt land meets a deep blue sky on a far-away horizon, perhaps it is the golden sunsets as the sun slides below the western skyline, or maybe it is just the people and characters you meet out there…
In late May I will be acting caretaker at the Milparinka historical precinct and museum.
Milparinka is a tiny community located in far north-western New South Wales, about 40-kilometres south of Tibooburra and 300-kilometres north of Broken Hill. It is the oldest proclaimed township in the Corner Country, and is situated on the banks of the Evelyn Creek, named by Charles Sturt during his 1845 Inland Expedition.
Hey, be sure to drop into the museum and say g’day, if you’re out that way…!
Oh, don’t worry, if you can’t make it I’ll be sure to be capturing some of our spectacular outback in photo’s…
Photos: Baz – The Landy, Corner Country, Outback Australia…
Well I’ve left the “big smoke” behind and pointed myself westward towards Mungo National Park to watch the lunar eclipse in a couple of days.
But hey, with time on my side what better way to wile away that time than being camped beside the mighty Murrumbidgee River at Gundagai reading poems and short stories by one of Australia’s greatest story tellers, Henry Lawson.
And of course, apart from the river the town is famous for the “Dog on the Tucker Box”…
Photos: Baz – The Landy, Gundagai…
Australia is a remarkable country, with a remarkable history…
An island continent inhabited by our first nation people for ten’s of thousands of years, and more recently, through European settlement. At times, it can be an unforgiving place where water can be scarce.
Australian aboriginal people moved from water-hole to water-hole to survive in the harsh desert country relying on “dream-time stories” to guide them…
Stories told in song, carvings and engravings, and rock art.
For our early European explorers’ finding water was critical as they surveyed our vast sunburnt country. At times, it was a critical life and death situation and there are many tributes to these explorers’ dotted across Australia.
Two explorers, John and Alexander Forrest, both surveyors, travelled into the vast Western Australian desert region in 1874. One can only imagine what was in their thoughts as they stood atop Mt Allott looking back across the vast plains to Mt Worsnop in the distance…
Perhaps it was the need to find a water supply before thirst from the relentless heat of the desert claimed them.
Standing on Mt Allott I reflected on how you can only live in the moment you are in; the past is irrelevant and the future may never arrive – you can only survive one moment at a time…!
That’s a great way to live your life, one moment at a time. Hey, what do you reckon?
Photos: Baz, Outback Australia (somewhere…!)
Situated in the Gulf Savannah country of northern Australia, with its deep gorges and craggy rocky outcrops, is the rugged and spectacularly beautiful Boodjamulla National Park…
This is an ancient, sunburnt land, and archaeological evidence suggests the area has been continuously occupied for at least 30,000-years, possibly longer than anywhere else in Australia.
The attraction is the permanent water source of Lawn Hill Creek. During arid times, when other sites where abandoned, this area was like an oasis in the desert for aboriginal people, Australia’s first people, who gathered here to camp, fish, and hunt.
Janet, TomO, and I have explored this region previously, but it has drawn us back like a magnet on many occasions, and being in North Queensland I could not resist the lure of another visit, to walk through the country and swim in Lawn Hill Creek.
In the Dreamtime stories of the Waanyi people, “Boodjamulla” is a spiritual person, the creator of all animals.
In the words of the Waanyi people…
“He made all the animals in the Lawn Hill area, and all the billabongs such as the green swamp, and all the bush tucker. Boodjamulla’s dreamtime travels started in Waanyi country at Cabbage Tree Spring, up above Riversleigh, giving water to O’Shanassy Creek, Lawn Hill Creek, the Gregory River, Louie Creek and Lilydale Springs.
Waanyi believe that Boodjamulla created these rivers as healing waters – known in Waanyi language as Bougli Water”…
Perhaps for the Waanyi people, the “Bougli Waters” has a different interpretation, but I certainly found the cool spring fed water of Lawn Hill Creek soothing after a day of walking in the gorges and climbing the Constance Range.
As a base for this trip I stayed just outside of the national park at Adels Grove, a private campground that we first visited in the early 1990s. Not much has changed over the years, and that is a good thing.
Adels Grove was declared a ’Miner’s Homestead Perpetual Lease’ in 1920, being within the Burketown Mineral Field at that time.
According to the history provided by the current owners, Adels Grove lease was purchased by Albert De Lestang, a French botanist, who experimented with the growing of tropical trees and fruits and had in excess of 1,000 trees and sold the fruit to supplement his income.
Tragically, in the early 1950s the ‘Grove’ and buildings were accidently burnt down. By this time Albert was in his seventies and after loosing everything, including all of his written records, he succumbed to depression and died age 75 at Charters Towers in 1959.
‘The Grove’ has certainly provided shade and comfort from the heat of the winter sun during my stay, with temperatures reaching up to 36 degrees throughout the day and around 15 degrees at night…
Apart from the rugged and rocky outcrops surrounding the gorge, the country has a prolific amount of wildlife. This includes the Johnstone’s crocodile or Freshie as it is usually known, turtles, the olive python, a large variety of birds, and a favourite of ours, the Gilbert Dragon, or Ta-Ta lizard due to the peculiar little wave it gives with its front legs before scampering away.
I managed to photograph some of the wildlife on my walks and at other times, simply sat back and enjoyed the calls of the birds flittering through the trees, and of the birds of prey soaring overhead.
And yes, I did swim with the Freshwater Crocs. Unlike their Saltwater cousins, the Freshie’s are generally timid and will leave you alone, if you stay out of their way…!
Boodjamulla National Park, truly an Oasis in the Desert in Australia’s Gulf Savannah.
Our touring vehicle “The Landy” is booked in for a major service tomorrow having done 100,000 kilometres of touring this great country of ours over the past three-and-a-half years.
Much of it in the sand and desert country that is a feature of our Australian landscape…
At the end of the week I will be heading off to experience another type of sand country – Moreton Island, just off the coast of Brisbane.
Despite having lived in Brisbane for a number of years, Janet and I have never visited, so Janet has suggested I head off and do a “recce” of it so we can spend some time there together in the future.
Perhaps she is planning some “girlie shopping” ahead of our trip to Devon, in the South of England, during June and July and needs some space!
Moreton Island, which is reached by ferry, has around 400-kilomtetres of sand tracks to be “Xplored”, pristine waters and wrecks that you can snorkel around, and a historic Light-house built in the mid 1800’s…and they say the fishing is great – well I’ll put that to the test at some stage, but knowing my track record the fridge in “The Landy” will be stocked with a few steaks, just in case!
And I will be leaving the TVAN, our touring camper-trailer, at home in favour of swagging it – simple and easy.
The camera gear is packed, so hopefully the weather will be kind on Moreton so I can get “Out and About” and experience a different kind of sand country…
Photos: Baz – The Landy
The sound of a shell fired from the World War 2 tank rang out across the field, the boom and compression of the explosion sending a shiver down the spine of all in proximity…
Men in khaki and camouflage fatigues were hitting the ground to avoid the inevitable fall-out from the shrapnel, weapons at the ready as they lay silently waiting for the order to advance on the German line.
The rattle of machine gun fire ringing out from the bunkers and motorcycle side-cars was deafening as the Germans fought to protect their ground, shrouded for a time behind the white plume of smoke that was by now drifting across the battlefield.
Mind you, some of the soldiers ambushed on “patrol” were a about a quarter-of-a-century too late for the encounter given it was a mock battle between American and German World War 2 forces; the advance party were dressed and kitted out for the jungles of Vietnam…!
But hang-on, what are those Vikings doing on the battlefield?
Didn’t they have their run a few centuries ago marauding and pillaging their way across England?
And aren’t those fancy looking blokes dressed to the “nines” with the feather plumes on their headgear “Frenchies” from the days when Napoleon was barking out orders as he roamed the countryside looking for trouble?
The scene was unfolding at Ironfest 2017 in the Central Tablelands township of Lithgow.
Ironfest is an arts festival that explores the relationship between humans, metal and identity and is held annually at the Lithgow Showground. It brings together artists, designer-makers, blacksmiths, and performers of all kind, musicians, Steampunkers, as well as historical re-enactors and steam-machine enthusiasts from all over Australia…
TomO, the Crown Prince, is a member of Ausreenact, a non-political World War 2 living history organisation made up of members who share a common interest in history and militaria, with a particular focus on the uniforms, equipment and vehicles of the Allied and Axis forces in the period 1939-1945. He re-enacts as a member of the US Forces 2nd Armoured Division and has quite a collection of gear and equipment he has assembled from the era and which he proudly had on display in his “bunker” during the weekend.
Each year Ausreenact, along with a number of other military groups, including those dedicated to Napoleonic re-enactment and Knights from medieval times, are invited to attend and take part in the festival.
No wonder the “battle-ground” was chaotic…
Medieval swords flashed and clashed to the boom of Napoleonic guns that were challenging the armoured vehicles from more modern times.
When the Knights were not swinging their swords in battle they were charging at each other in a medieval jousting match.
And here I was thinking how macho I must look wielding the whipper-snipper with menacing precision each time I trim the moraya hedge at home. Strewth, talk about starting to feel just a tad inadequate.
So I’ll just move on…
Away from the “battlefields” there was the sound of iron striking iron on anvils as blacksmiths demonstrated their craft, beads of sweat rolling down their faces as they forged metal into works of art.
And hey, what about all those Steampunk people…?
Steampunk I hear you ask? I too had to look up the definition of a “Steampunker” and I am still not sure I have it right.
One of the best definitions for a Steampunker I have come across is from Jess Nevins, author of the Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana (it hasn’t come up on my book club read list yet) who said…
“Steampunk is what happens when Goths discover brown.”
The costumes were as varied as the people that dressed in this fashion genre inspired by the Victorian era of steam and industrial machinery. I think it was the default costume for many who attended the festival.
But the Steampunkers seemed a happy bunch even if the women’s corsets appeared three sizes to small and their mode of transport was from another age if not simply strange…
Without doubt this weekend is possibly the two days of the year the various groups can safely come out from behind closed doors and still look normal; safety in numbers, so they say.
The activity was as diverse as it was frenzied, but somehow it all worked and integrated in a way that you would not think possible and I even got to take Janet-Planet on the cruise she has always wanted to do…
On the infamous “Love Boat”…
Photos: Baz – The Landy & Janet-Planet, Lithgow, Australia…
On the rural outskirts of suburban Sydney, a little more than an hour’s drive from Sydney’s CBD, stands the small village of Wiseman’s Ferry.
Wiseman’s has a history steeped in early European settlement in New South Wales and at the heart of this historic village is the Wiseman’s Ferry Pub – a haunt that is popular with the weekend motorcycle crowd and families alike.
And I use the word haunt literally, as it is rumoured the upstairs guest rooms are haunted.
The pub is now owned by former Wallaby Bill Young and if you are visiting on a weekend be sure to take a look upstairs as it has a small museum and the accommodation rooms do look inviting, even if you might be sharing with a ghost from the past…
And if you ever stay there, let me know how you get on!
The village stands alongside the Hawkesbury River, which travels further upstream towards Windsor and downstream to an opening at the sea near Barenjoey. A car ferry transports you to the other side where you can travel towards either Spencer or the small Hamlet of St Alban’s, either of which are a very pleasant drive.
We are frequent visitor’s to the area and have spent many hours wiling away time in the park next to the river.
On a recent visit we took the ferry to the other side and walked up Devine’s Hill to a place called “Hangman’s Rock”.
It sounds ominous and folklore suggests that in the early days of settlement and at the time the Great North Road was being built, that convicts were hanged at this rock. But history does not point to this ever occurring.
But it isn’t hard to see why the folklore surrounding the rock evolved…
What makes the walk worthwhile, apart from being Out and About in the Australian bush, is the opportunity to view the magnificent work done by convicts on the road that was built northwards towards the Hunter Valley. In fact, it is along this walk that you can best observe the Great North Road as this part is now closed to vehicle traffic and has been preserved.
So if a bit of a hike up a small mountain, some history and a magnificent steak washed down with a cold beer is your thing, then head out to Wiseman’s Ferry for a day – I guarantee your first visit won’t be your last
Photo’s: Baz – The Landy & Janet-Planet
Art has a wonderful ability to transport us to a place in our mind’s eye…
A place where we can explore the meaning the artist is endeavouring to convey and perhaps even challenging our own bias or prejudice.
Currently, there is an exhibition of wonderful sculptures, hand-crafted by talented artist’s of all backgrounds, in a picturesque harbourside park with sweeping views of the city and the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge. We spent a morning wandering around Clarke Reserve at Woolwich, an old historic harbour suburb where the exhibition is being held, viewing and photographing the many artworks on display.
For us, one stood out…
“So Many Tears” by Keith Chidzey”
In creating this work, Keith used two old wharf timbers and embedded glass tears into the wood.
It was simple, poignant, and a very moving tribute to the artist’s great-uncle, Private Ryles, who perished in the mud of Passchendaele, Belgium, over 100-years ago.
The choice of the wharf timbers is to recognise they most likely witnessed the embarkation of Australian Troops onto ships from the many wharfs dotted around the harbour. Loved ones waving, wiping away their tears as they strained to catch one more glimpse as the troop ship pulled away from the wooden dock.
“We shall remember them…”
Each of the timbers has a carved relief, one of a slouch hat; the other with the inscription on Private Ryle’s headstone where he lays in the cemetery at Tyne Cot.
And, sensitively, one of the timbers is facing the sunset, the other the sunrise.
We reflected on this wonderful piece of artwork, its simplicity amplifying the ultimate sacrifice that too many of our fellow countrymen and women made so we can enjoy the freedoms that we have today; to be able to sit in a quiet reserve on Sydney Harbour’s foreshore in relative safety and free from the anxiety that conflict and war brings.
Bravo Keith, you have created far more than a wonderful sculpture to be admired, it is a wonderful tribute to your great-uncle, to all those who served, and to those who currently serve.
“We shall remember them…”
Photos: Baz – The Landy, & Janet-Planet, Sydney Harbour, Australia
Photo: Baz – The Landy, Paroo River, Outback Australia
Situated in the far north-west of Victoria is a park that showcases the rugged and spectacularly beautiful Mallee landscape of low scrubland and sand dunes, the Murray-Sunset National Park.
Murray-Sunset gives you a feeling of being Out and About in Australia’s vast outback without the need for travelling the vast distances usually associated with visits to “the interior”…
On a recent trip south to Kangaroo Island we took a couple of days to traverse parts of the park and view the Pink Lakes for which it is renown. Pigmentation caused by algae colours the lakes pink during the summer months and is quite spectacular to view later in the day.
Throughout the 1900s salt was commercially mined in the area with operations ceasing around 1975, but relics of this era can be viewed as you make your way around the lakes on the Pioneer Circuit.
Our starting point for travelling into the park was the small township of Linga where there is a well-signed and formed dirt road that takes you to the Pink Lakes. The Pioneer Track is a circuit that is suitable for two-wheel drive vehicles taking visitors on a tour around the lakes and can easily be accessed from the larger towns of Ouyen or Pinaroo for those wanting to do a day visit.
Being summer, we were cautious to ensure temperatures were not too high in the park before committing to travelling through it. Not that we are unaccustomed to extreme heat and humidity, after all, we grew up in Queensland and lived in tropical Papua New Guinea for a number of years. But at this time of the year the park sees far less visitors and despite being not too far from a number of towns it remains a remote area that should be respected.
After a short drive from the highway we arrived at the Pink Lakes and Janet took the opportunity to photograph numerous plants and flowers at Lake Hardy before we moved on to Lake Crosby, a larger lake with camping sites available.
For those travelling the Mallee Highway this would be a good overnight spot to take a break, or alternatively, a good base to further explore the park over a number of days.
Murray-Sunset is a large area with a seemingly endless amount of tracks that you can explore, but for the most part, this will require a four-wheel drive vehicle due to the many sandy sections that are encountered.
And come well prepared with plenty of water and basic recovery gear as you may be on your own. We did not see anyone else in the park during our short visit.
With only a limited time to explore the park we headed north along the Underbool Track with an overnight camp at the Underbool campsite, before continuing north the following day to the intersection with the Pheeney ‘s Track and a drive towards the western boundary of the park.
There is a campsite not too far from the western border of the park on Pheeney’s Track, however we headed northwards along the North South Settlement Road and had our second night in the park at the Shearer’s Quarters campsite.
This is a campsite set amongst the trees not too far from the Shearer’s Quarters. And there is a walk that you can take through the scrub, but this is best done late in the day during the warmer months. And if you are lucky you’ll be rewarded with a glimpse of some of the wildlife and wonderful display of wildflowers. And not to forget, marvellous bark-art as we like to call the patterns found on the many types of trees one encounters when exploring…
After a pleasant overnight stay at this campsite, which we had to ourselves, we made our way out of the park at Taplan, a small town on the park’s western border, before making our way south to Cape Jervis, the stepping off point for our Kangaroo Island Adventure.
We had frequently looked at Murray-Sunset on our maps and had it penciled in our “places to see book”.
This short visit gave us a taste of what the park has to offer and provided an opportunity for us to give our new Track TVAN Firetail a test in the sand. We had no doubt it would perform as well as our older TVAN Canning that it replaced, and it did, flawlessly…
We have vowed to return in the cooler months, although we suspect that in the depths of winter Murray Sunset would be a very cold place, but with changing seasons comes new perspectives, a warm campfire and the opportunity to XPLORE…!
Aberystwth, a seaside town deep in the Welsh heartland is about as far away from the red ochre soil of the Australian Outback you could get, but it has much in common.
The locals are warming and friendly, the beer is cold, and I’m sure if you drink enough of it you’ll be able to converse in the Welsh native tongue.
The amber fluid usually finds its way around most language barriers…
Strewth, speaking of cold, it is the middle of summer, 15 degrees and the wind so strong that it’d “blow ‘ya dog off its chain”…
But hey, I’m not complaining, blimey, I could get used to this, for a while anyway!
Photos: Baz – The Landy
Ps: Did Benny Hill ever “Carry-On” here?
“To move, to breathe, to fly, to float,
To gain all while you give,
To roam the roads of lands remote,
To travel is to live.”
I was reminded of this eloquent quote from Hans Christian Andersen as Mrs Landy, Janet-Planet, and I took an early morning stroll in the picturesque village of Dittisham, situated on the River Dart in Devon, England.
Yes, I hear the chorus ring out…
“There is no red dust or never ending blue skies in the South of England Baz”…
Crikey, I can live with that, for a week or two, but seriously, warm beer?
Mind you, after a couple of pints down at the Ferry Boat Inn, okay Janet, three, I didn’t realise we were counting, one can almost get used to it…
“To travel is to live”.
Photos: Baz – The Landy
“Do not be fooled by simplicity, both in training and life.”
When you let this sink in you begin to realise how easy it is to over complicate life and training.
It is easy to get away from the basics and it is easy to conclude more is better, or flashier is better. Truth be told, the simple path is often the tried and true path.
Photo: Baz – The Landy
Have we gentrified our pubs so much that the life and soul of “the local” has all but disappeared?
The thought came to mind recently as I sat in the bistro of our local, a typical suburban pub in Sydney within walking distance from home.
I lamented that there wasn’t anything as simple as bangers and mash on the menu as I drank a beer served in a glass that would look more at home as a vase with a bunch of flowers in it…
Let’s face it, there is nothing better than the company of friends and good pub food washed down with a couple of schooners of Fourex. Not some beer brewed with water taken from a stream on the eastern side of a mountain in some place I couldn’t pronounce even if I wasn’t into my third schooner.
I mean, what’s wrong with a good old Fourex? Okay, VB or Carlton Draught if you prefer and a Chardy for the girls…
Perhaps I’m showing my class here, but one of the things I truly look forward to is a trip into the bush, the outback, down a dusty track where you are likely to develop a thirst that can only be quenched with a schooner or two at day’s end in a pub that is most likely called “The Royal” or maybe “The Railway” or “Tattersall’s”.
Crikey, even Janet (Mrs Landy) has been known to down a beer or two in these revered establishments!
It’ll be nothing fancy mind you, a few bar stools here and there mostly occupied by Bluey and the boys who’ll tip their hats and give you a G’day as you step through the door. The menu simple, but tasty and its okay to toss your dog a couple of scraps to clean off the plate when you’re done…
The conversation is typical, but mostly amusing, no-one is taking it too seriously, or concerned that you are wearing the right clothes, after all shorts and singlets are the go, if you like, and you’re not going to need to mortgage ya’ house when it comes to your turn to shout!
Crikey, Mrs Landy and I have enjoyed some great moments in some out of the way places in the Australian Bush, The Outback – and we might have had just that one too many on an occasion here and there, but that is usually because our classic pubs in the bush are timeless, especially when the amber fluid flows and the banter ramps up!
So tell me, where is your favourite “watering” hole, hey?
Photos: Baz – The Landy
It is often said that nothing ever stands still – time marches on and waits for no one.
And as the last few hours of 2015 slipped from our grasp perhaps there were many in agreement with the sentiment…
But we can still time, at least for a few hours, and I have always found that a trip into the unique and timeless Aussie Bush is the one way to do it.
We can’t always be crossing this great country of ours, spending time in Australia’s magnificent outback, soaking up all the wonderful burnt orange and red colours under a dark blue sky – but hey, there is always the backyard, so to speak.
One of our favourite escapes from the rat race of city living is to head north of Sydney, crossing the Hawkesbury River and visiting Yengo National Park. The 100-kilometre or so drive to the park’s entrance takes you through the small fruit-growing region of Mangrove Mountain and alongside a road built by convicts during the days of early European settlement in Australia.
So yesterday, as the clock ticked down another year, Janet-Planet, TomO, a mate of his, and of course myself, jumped into “The Landy” and escaped!
The park has much to offer the casual visitor including aboriginal rock engravings.
We always enjoy a short climb to the top of Devil’s Rock to view Mount Yengo in the west; it is a place to simply sit and ponder as the sun slips slowly below a far off horizon.
The park has a number of tracks of an easy standard and mostly suitable for two-wheel drive vehicles with good clearance, so don’t expect any challenging tracks. But sometimes it is just about the destination…
For those wanting to stay overnight, or for a few days, there is Finchley Campground and further along the Howe’s Valley Track, camping is available at Big Yengo. You will need to make arrangements with NSW National Parks to enter this part of the park as it is a gated area and requires payment of a fee to access and camp at Big Yengo.
And if camping isn’t your thing you can spend the day exploring Yengo before heading to Wollombi, a small township not too far from park’s entry point – and don’t forget to quench your thirst at the pub with some Dr Jurd’s Jungle Juice…
So whilst we can’t stop the “clock” from ticking I find that a trip into the Australian Bush is one way that you can stop the hands of time – at least for a short period!
And for sure, we did that yesterday…
Photos: Baz – The Landy
As a footnote: The park adjoins a number of small private properties and there are numerous access tracks that are private access roads – please respect this and avoid travelling on them.
Wow, 7-weeks in the Australian Outback, travelling this wonderful country of ours in a customised four-wheel drive may not be everyone’s cup of tea – but hey, for the adventurous, you’d love it…
And for the less adventurous amongst us, crikey, come on get on board, it is about time you got out of your comfort zone and gave it a go.
My recent adventure into the deserts of Western Australia involved a return journey of over 10,000 kilometres into some of the world’s most inhospitable country, crossing vibrant red sand dunes where no roads or tracks exist…
But don’t be put off by the remoteness and harshness of the Australian Outback as the rewards for the traveller, the adventurer, is a landscape more bio-diverse and fragile than the Amazon rainforest.
The contrasting beauty of a rugged landscape, the colours that you will see can never be replicated in a painting or photograph, but the memory of a setting sun, the golden hue it creates as it gently slips below the distant horizon will imprint a lasting memory that will have you longing to return to this place…
My journey took me across Australia’s interior on a quest to assist a group of like minded people construct a shelter and other buildings for the Birriliburu people, the Traditional Owners of the Little Sandy Desert and Gibson Desert region of Australia…
Mind you, it is also about the journey and there was plenty of opportunity for me to explore and photograph other parts of the Australian Outback as I made my way westward…
Now let me say, shovelling sand and gravel into a cement mixer, on a clay pan and under a scorching sun is hard work and won’t necessarily count as a highlight of the trip. But the opportunity to spend time with the elders of the Birriliburu mob in their country, on their lands, was well worth the discomfort – it will leave a lasting impact on my life!
Crikey, don’t get me wrong, it was a pleasure to assist, I’m just complaining about those aching muscles that were antagonised in the process…
Amongst the aboriginal people I spent time with were a number of elders who were born to nomadic parents in the desert, first generation desert people who lived, hunted and sheltered on the very lands we were on and without any contact with Australian’s of European descent.
One of the elders, Geoffrey Stewart, was born to parents Warri and Yatungka, a couple who engaged in forbidden love under tribal laws and whose story is recounted in the book “Last of the Nomads”.
Another, Georgina “Dadina” Brown, took us to the place where she and her family were discovered by Stan Gratte, an historical enthusiast, in 1976. At the time Stan was retracing the route of a 19th century explorer.
Georgina is an accomplished artist with work on display in the Australian National Gallery and her story is recounted in the book Born in the Desert – The Land and travels of a last Australian Nomad.
All were willing to share their country with us, showing where they roamed the desert with their families and explaining how they captured food and travelled from rock-hole to rock-hole to find water.
Geoffrey shared some “Dreamtime Stories” and permitted us to view some magnificent rock art located in a gorge not too far from where we were based in the desert.
I have been travelling Australia’s vast outback region for many years and have always recognised it has a “spiritual beauty” to it. But this trip has been special in a way that I never thought possible and has helped me view life through a different lens, putting a different perspective on life…
We live in a society that insists we plan our lives away, where we have an insatiable appetite for instant gratification, and need the latest gadgets, where we are able to visit a supermarket for our daily food needs with little thought as to how it arrived there…
It was refreshing to observe another perspective on life from people whose ancestors’ have inhabited our sunburnt country for over 40,000 years – a people whose philosophy of living in harmony with the environment is the pathway to ensuring a sustainable existence.
No, not necessarily an easy one, that’s for sure!
Most importantly, this trip and time spent on country with the Birriliburu mob has reinforced something that modern day living often has us overlook and that is the only moment you can live in is the one you are in.
Such is the life of a desert dweller…
Baz – The Landy
As a footnote:
The Birriliburu Lands are an Indigenous Protected Area not open to the general public. I visited at the kind invitation of the Elders of the Birriliburu People.