Tag Archives: top end

Indigenous art and life – Part 4

Unlike in Kakadu National Park, where the rock art is easily accessible with signs, paths, hand-rails etc, the rock art at Mount Borradaile has been left in its original setting (bar some light weeding for easy access).

Discovering indigenous art and life

It meant that getting to some of the art works was a mini adventure which involved perching on boulders…

Discovering indigenous art and life

Squeezing into crevices…

Discovering indigenous art and life

Or scrambling up cliffs into high overhangs.

Discovering indigenous art and life

But the effort was worth the while…

Discovering indigenous art and life

When you see generations of art on one wall.

Discovering indigenous art and life

Indigenous art and life – Part 3

Land animals were always very important to the Amarak. During the last Ice Age, the ocean would have been more than 100km away, hence they would have relied on these animals more for food.

Wallabies were common in these parts as they lived among the rocks, and made a good feed.

Discovering indigenous art and life

And goannas were often found up the trees and also made a good feed.

Discovering indigenous art and life

However, the walls also showed animals from long past. The thylacine (a.k.a. Tasmanian tiger) for example had lived in the area at one stage. You can quite clearly see its stripes.

Discovering indigenous art and life

And what about this bird? Is it an emu, or some other extinct giant bird species?

Discovering indigenous art and life

Indigenous art and life – Part 2

Unlike in Central Australia, where life and art revolved around water, the people of Arnhemland were more interested in capturing their fauna, which was integral to daily life. We viewed many paintings of animals, some recent and some potentially very old.

Fish was of course very important, since it was abundant when the water levels were high. The white ochre paint used and the intricate cross-hatching meant that the painting was probably done in the last four thousand years.

Discovering indigenous art and life

This dugong (a sea cow) has been overpainted with a pair of wallabies.

Discovering indigenous art and life

And this fish was so bright that it could have been painted yesterday.

Discovering indigenous art and life

Indigenous art and life – Part 1

All our adventures had been on Amarak land, lying east of the East Alligator River across from Kakadu National Park. The Amarak lived traditionally on their land until the 1950s, and the land had seen little use until Mount Borradaile was established in the 1980s.

Given that the Amarak lived on the land until relatively recently, there were many paintings and habitation places around the property that are well preserved. We were able to see quite a few in the four days we were there. Some were ‘mens business’ places – mens ceremonial places – as you can tell from these set of paintings – they’re all of busty women!

Discovering indigenous art and life

Others were of a more spiritual bent. This giant three metre long serpent was drawn on the roof of an overhang.

Discovering indigenous art and life

Being so close to the coast, the serpent had many shark/crocodile like features.

Discovering indigenous art and life

And was spectacular close-up.

Discovering indigenous art and life

Monsoon Rainforest – Part 4

There were bigger creatures living in the monsoon rainforest.

Along a canal were a whole series of darter bird nests. These extraordinary bird love fishing, and can stay underwater for five whole minutes.

Creatures of the Monsoon Rainforest

Not too far away lurked our one and only crocodile for the trip – a freshwater crocodile sunbathing on the sandy bank.

Creatures of the Monsoon Rainforest

And on the lookout for prey.

Creatures of the Monsoon Rainforest

But the most magnificent site was the one we had of the white-breasted sea eagle, which we had interrupted having its breakfast.

Creatures of the Monsoon Rainforest

They may not be the largest bird of prey in Australia, but they were large enough for me.

Creatures of the Monsoon Rainforest