Tuesday, 31 July 2012


Formally know as Katherine Gorge National Park before the land WA handed back to the original owners, we stayed three nights in Nitmiluk. We headed back into Katherine to pick up some supplies and have a dip in the thermal springs there, no Mataranka for tranquility as it was full of scantly clad foreign backpackers, I'm a bit over tranquility anyway. (sorry guys, no pics). The National Park itself is nice with Wallibies hopping around, a few with fresh joey's, a good pool yet no fires though :(


That afternoon we rocked up for an "Aboriginal Cultural Experience" with the expectation that we were going to get fleeced of our coin whilst entertaining the kids. We were incorrect, it was an excellent afternoon with an elder of the Dalabon tribe named Manuel where we all learnt how to paint with traditional reeds, made fire with two sticks and threw spears at a cardboard roo.


There were two orphaned agile wallabies named Jack and Jill which the kids took an instant liking to.

The art was done on small canvases with some brushes for the borders. The tricky part was done in the traditional way, with a reed. The pattern of lines is symbolic of the tribe from which you come, the Dalibon tribe always uses strips of four white lines in their paintings, using any different number of stripes would see you speared...not sure if the punishment fits the crime but obviously very serious back in the day - four lines it is.

Just before taking this shot Codi was saying to Ves "this is fun isn't it mummy"
Due to my old man dodgy hip I was able to utilse the traditional Aboriginal apparatus named a "bigmun nositfloor" loosely translated into "blow mould table and chair". This worked well in a few ways, it was clearly much more comfortable and with the kids sitting on the floor meant that the others had to supervise and assist. As a result I was able to practice my mantra, find my Dalibon inner self and become one with the reed, creating "trout feeding on willow grub" (or is it a tuna?) as passed down in the dreamtime parabels of the rubicon tribe. This story must be continued through the generations and is currently spoken by the elder named "redman-strikesoslow"

Clockwise from top left we have.....
Codi's brown trout
Zoe's echidna
Vesna's bush carrot
Kathy's roo
Ellen's echidna
Brielle's echidna
Hannah's echidna
Pete's emu
And in the middle is my trout and Tom's barra
We managed to create fire from two kurrajong sticks...neither of them being a match.
The fire sticks are kept and once used are wrapt up and stored as a calander of events for important fires, births, deaths etc.

Next was spearing a cardboard roo...

We purchased some of the of Manuels art which in our case was on a didgeridoo, I will refer to it as an art piece as I'm pretty sure it can never be called a musical instrument in my hands.

The next day we embarked on a four gorge cruise of the Katherine Gorge which was quite good. We spotted our first crocs (freshies) and had a swim in the final gorge which we were told was free of crocs. The highlight of the cruise for some of the kids was the promise of fruit cake at the end by the facilitator. Being at the rear of the boat there was some tense moments to see if the cake made it all the way back, fortunately it did and everyone had a great morning.

Rock art

Croc trap
Later that afternoon I explored the first gorge in a canoe, caught a few black bream, one of which was cooked up for dinner for everyone....well enough to have on a jatz cracker each.


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