Kakadu Man 2
All has been quiet on the blog for the last few days because we have been holed up at Gunlom Falls and are now at Katherine on the return trip to Brisbane. Now Gunlom was a great place but there were no telephones, internet or power for that matter. So it is quite peaceful. But more on Gunlom later.
We have stayed at the Kakadu Lodge campground in Jabiru and have used it as a base for exploring the Park. Quite a comfortable campground with a large chlorinated crocodile free billabong to swim in at the end of the day’s activities. It is still rather warm up here, temperatures are around 33-35 degrees and humid, so it is good to get walks in the morning and then return to the Billabong to cool off after lunch. We had a large shaded camp site, plenty of room. It seems we are well ahead of all the old people in their vans travelling north as the place was only about 15% full.
Have spent two mornings visiting firstly Ubirr and then Nourlangie Rock. On both occasions we did the free Ranger guided walks. These were a really good way to gain a better appreciation of the environment and the attachment that aboriginal people have to the land and what lives in it; and have had for thousands of years. The views over the Kakadu landscapes and the rock art were amazing. We later went back to Ubirr to see the sunset over Arnhem Land. Something we will remember for years to come.
On our last day at Jabiru, the State of Origin game was on that night, we crossed over into Arnhem land on a day tour over the East Alligator River flood plain and some more less visited art sites, as well as a visit to the Guluyambi Aboriginal community arts centre.
Kakadu NP has been a bit of an eye opener to us and we have learned a lot more about the aboriginal people’s connection to Country. I picked up a copy of a little book ‘Gagudju Man Bill Neidjie’. It seems there was a TV show Kakadu Man in the late 80s maybe, Big Bill was Kakadu Man. He was one of the leading traditional owners who played a key role in the formation of Kakadu NP and the co management of it. He died in 2002, 89 years old or thereabouts. His bones are at a place called Hawk Dreaming in Arnhem Land. The book is a collection of poems. They are a ‘history’ of the aboriginal people. There are some inspiring pieces. Big Bill was worried the ‘story’ would be lost and he needed to have it written down. He was pessimistic about the future and whether younger aboriginals would hang onto their culture. Only time will tell I suppose.
Gunlom Falls to come.