At first, I didn’t know what would be the best thing to do this morning. For tomorrow morning I have planned a sunrise cruise on the Yellow River.
I end up with Nourlangie Rock, the other site with rock art. It’s only a half hour drive so I don’t have to get up that early.
Around 06:00 hell breaks loose outside. Lot’s of squaking and yelling. No clue what these are but apparently they are very happy that the light is returning.
15 Minutes later I go out. Along the road I see a couple of Wallabies. Beautiful animals with a streamlined body. I am a bit too early. Nourlangie opens at 08:00. I continue to Mirral Lookout a bit further down the road. This is a higher location that provides an overview of the delta.
The climb appears to be a lot longer that expected. I am clearly the first one here this morning, because I get one spiderweb after the other in my face. There are a lot of flies here too. Luckily they do not sting, but the buzzing and tickling drives me crazy. At the top there is a viewing platform that provides a good view on the area, but sadly it’s no use for photography. There are too many trees and there is no clear view.
I arrive exactly in time at Nourlangie Rock. This is group of rocks that have been providing shelter and cool air for 20.000 years. I feel it immediately. There is a gentle cooling breeze and the temperature is a lot lower. Finding food below in the delta, bring it all the way up here, prepare it, eating and sleeping. That’s what it must have been like.
There are a couple of drawings on the rock wall as well.
This one was made by taking red ochre in the mouth and blowing or spitting it out over a hand on the rock.
Meanwhile I catch some facts from rangers telling their stories. No Aboriginal language has the concept of greating. There are no words for ‘hello’ or ‘good bye’. Reason is that splitting up does not bring a feeling of separation for them.
Aboriginals have been removed from the Flora and Founa Act in 1969. Before that they were considered to be animals (and not people). They had to stay away for at least 50 kilometers from white communities.
In the Second World War, the government didn’t know which side the Aboriginals would choose and they were all gathered and set to work in camps. Problem was that every tribe had it’s own language and they didn’t understand each other. From this situation a common language evolved (Aboriginal Creole) that does have a word for greatings ‘bo-bo’ derived from… ‘bye-bye’. Always nice to learn these things, won’t forget them anymore.
This is Nabulwinjbulwinj, a dangerous spirit that eats women after hitting them with a yam (-; This drawing and the next has been repainted a couple of years ago, because the white and yellow paint in particular had almost vanished completely. Red ochre (often mixed with animal blood) remains the longest and also provides for exact carbon dating. The white-gray line is a crack from which water exuded and was closed with a glue like materiaal from a plant.
He appears again around the corner.
Somewhat further is a viewpoint. Quite nice but difficult to photograph. Have to come back tonight and check whether sunset can improve it.