Day 3/35 – Part 2/3

A different car

At the counter, I call the car rental company and soon they tell me they have arranged a proper car for me. Have to pay extra for those couple of days, but I don’t care. Friday morning I can pick it up. I noticed in the conditions that I have to rent a second spare tyre and get written permission to go to the park. Well, most important thing is that I can go to the park. Would be a shame to let that go.

Ubirr

Hereafter I get my park pass en head to Ubirr for the afternoon and sunset. It is only a half hour drive from here and one of the places with Aboriginal Rock Art. Furthermore, there should be a nice view on the wetlands and the Arnhem Land Plateau.

The drawings are in the shade, perfect for a couple of photographs.

Aboriginal Rock Art

At the time I intend to move on, a park ranger joins for a talk. Appears there is much more behind these drawing than seems to be at first sight. Most importantly they indicate what kind of food you can find here and how to prepare it. For turtles for instance, the best parts containing the fat are indicated with yellow.

Aboriginal Rock Art

There is also a difference between two species of turtles that are distinguished by a long neck and a short neck respectively. How the intestines can best be removed (via the front or from the side) and how they have to be prepared. Thought behind this is that it takes much effort to catch one down in the river, taking him all the way up here where the temperature is much cooler and comfortable and that it would be a real shame if you prepare it the wrong way and can’t eat it.

Aboriginal Rock Art

Hollanders (white people) are here too. The white men (left below) with their hands in their pockets, with one or both feet turned outside, sometimes even with a pipe and importantly, telling other people what to do. The ranger demonstrates it. Funny.

Aboriginal Rock Art

This photo provides an overview of the overhang that provided shelter. The red band in the middle, there are all the paintings.

Aboriginal Rock Art

The paintings have been drawn in layers (14-18) on top of each other and are between 20.000 and 100 years old. It’s all about the story and much less about the painting itself. Everyone is allowed to paint over existing paintings.

Aboriginal Rock Art

There is also a lot of mythology behind it. Mimi are long thin figures that usually leave paintings behind in places where you can’t go. Children are afraid of them. This one for instance has been painted on the ceiling, 5 meters above me. I have to photograph vertically to get it. You can think of how these paintings have been made. Most probably by using a tree leaning against the rock wall or a pile of stones to climb on.

Aboriginal Rock Art

The ranger tells a short story of a documentary about the Aboriginals that was made at a similar site. During the inverview the Mimi were represented by actors that appeared from behind a smoke curtain in front of the rock wall and accompanied by strange light and sound. All the Aboriginals fled the scene in blind panic and it took a lot of time to get them back. They were really afraid of it.

As soon as the sun starts litting the wall, most of the paintings dissolve in the warm sunlight. Think that I have to get back here when the sun is not shining on the wall. I haven’t finished here and am doing things to hasty right now.

The light is changing fast and the sun will set within the hour. Just quickly shoot a nice painting I didn’t notice before and then it’s time to go to the viewpoint on the summit

Aboriginal Rock Art

The wall doesn’t appear to be completely straight. I should have used a somewhat smaller aperture, because the right side of the photograph is not sharp at all. But now I am out of time. I better concentrate on the sunset above the wetlands. To get there, I have to walk a little and climb the rock wall.

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