Today was not a good day for technology! Argh. But more about that later.
Our first stop today was Ubirr, where there is lots of rock art and an amazing view too.
I loved looking at all the different rock art… what was even better was that a tour group was just behind (or in front) of us, and we got to hear lots of explanations of what the rock art was about and some of its history.
Something fascinating for me, I guess because it is so different to how I view art, is the aboriginal thinking about the art work. For them the importance and significance was not so much in the leaving behind of pictures and history, as much as the actual act of creating the art. This can be seen in the fact that there is often layers upon layers of pictures, the old ones being drawn over.
These next three pictures go together. This is Mabuyu. He’s a hunter.
The next two pictures are of his catch. First some fish.
And a long neck turtle.
The tale behind these pictures is that Mabuyu’s catch was stolen from him as he was dragging it home. He found the thieves, but they had eaten his food. When they went into a cave to sleep for the night, he piled stones up to trap them inside. The moral to this story is don’t steal other people’s food!
This is the main rock art site at Ubirr. And it’s pretty obvious why it would be a popular location. Great big overhang provides great shelter.
And this particular location records some interesting history – the arrival of white man. With his hands in his pockets and his feet hidden in big boots. There is even one picture of a white man smoking a pipe. But I don’t have many photos here, because this is where technology started going haywire.
I will admit that this problem was completely user error. I ran out of room on the memory card, so I deleted some photos. But I deleted too many. Oh no! And now I didn’t want to take any more photos so that I could try to restore those that I’d deleted.
But I still had the small camera, so all was good.
Last year Elisha did some Aboriginal studies at school. He loved seeing all the things he’d learnt about. Here he is pointing out some grinding holes. You can also see where the paint has been ground and mixed.
And the crescent shape on this artwork is a man. He didn’t know what the other symbols were, but remembered that one.
And here is some evidence of the thylacine, otherwise known as the Tasmanian Tiger.
It was a bizarre feeling to be treading in places that have been used for hundreds of years as a the sometimes home of nomads.
Here is another well used shelter.
This spot had a small view of things to come.
Some of the art at this shelter is a passing down of traditional laws. This particular story is of a young girl who broke food taboos by eating Barramundi at the wrong time, and a battle ensued.
These are the Namarrgarn sisters, who turned into crocodiles. Their story teaches children the dangers of crocodiles.
If you look carefully at the picture about Barramundi eating you can see the Namarrgarn sisters inside that picture… and you can see part of the other frieze in the close up of the sisters.
Most of the time we were looking at the rock art sites we were walking in rocks and fairly dry bush. But when we climbed up the lookout, what a spectacular view. And such a surprise.
And then the next technological disaster struck. Between Brett and myself passing the camera from me to him the strap snagged around my wrist, it fell out of both of our hands and smashed on the rock below. And broke. Sob.
Oh well, at least I have my phone (which has magically fixed itself after its swim). So we were able to get a few more pictures of the view.
We clambered down from the look out and took the longer path back to the caravan, past a few more art sites.
This is the rainbow serpent.
This photo is mainly just to show how the pictures are protected – it’s pretty simple stuff really – a line of silicone to stop the water dripping over the artwork.
The person in this picture is sick with Miyamiya, which causes the bones to swell. It is a warning about moving sacred rocks near East Alligator River. I think I read somewhere that a lot of these sites are actually radioactive with uranium, and would indeed have made people sick.
This was the first time since hurting my foot that we did much walking. And I was starting to feel it, especially after climbing up the look out.
We drove over to Cahills Crossing to see the crocs there. This is a place where traffic is able to cross the river. The crocodiles hang around here to get the fish as they come through the shallower water. I can’t believe how many there were. It wasn’t very easy to get a good photo of what was going on. The crazy thing was the people standing at the edge of the water on the road fishing! No way. You can see someone right on the left edge of the photo… and the huge crocodile watching, waiting.