Ive been reading about Awe hunting this week – I used to think it meant chasing wild electrical storms, hang gliding or bungee jumping off bridges. Apparently, there is a more sedate version where you look for the amazing in the everyday. Julia Baird wrote this about a recent Compass episode on ABC NEWS STORY LAB (Julia Baird hosts The Drum on ABC TV. Watch Awe Hunters on Compass on Sunday September 3 at 6:30pm on ABC TV or ABC iview.)
“Awe is something not easy to define, but usually involves stopping in your tracks, being amazed by something and, often, feeling small against the full scale of the universe.” This is TinT hunting to a “T”
Im out of space for new photos on my phone so Im having to scroll thru & delete many old ones. I came across some pics from June 2019 of an exhibition in Dubbo of Aboriginal carved trees. The Dendroglyphs were truly ‘awesome’ as was the art work by Paris Norton –symbolising a carved tree – see below
As well as the carved trees on display there was old information from Robert Etheridge & Edmund Milne about dendroglyphs/ teleteglyphs (arborglyphs). It was claimed in the early 20th century Biaime was simply a native emulation of the European God. Some people back then also thought the tree carving was “mimicry” of European graves. Apparently neither Milne nor Etheridge believed this theory, but it makes me wonder what the white ‘academics’ would have thought of the TinTs – if anyone had actually noticed them. Would they be assumed to be copy of European pot plants I wonder or supposed to be the result of bird shit like they are now?
Speaking of copies I found it astounding how similar some strangely manipulated trees are even when they are living over 100 ks apart in different soil types and in different ‘Nations’. These 2 trees below both have the same V shaped epicormics shoots, the same dead stick (inserted or failed reshoot?) and the same deep oddly shaped coolamon. What did these trees symbolize? Why did both the Wailwun & the Gomeroi create/design these extreme woody makeovers?
I have been looking for carved trees here for a long time and there is one place with some curious engraved scars including the 3 toed emu track. There is also the tree that looks like some sort of fertility symbol that is now painted with sump oil and standing in my backyard but none of these examples below look anything like true dendroglyphs as shown.
Below are 2 maps showing the location of known arborglyphs in NSW and Ive shaded in the area where none have been found. Isnt it interesting that the TinTs exist where the arborglyphs do not? Carved trees or dendroglyphs were created at burial sites like those at Yuranigh’s grave near Molong. This was the Wiradjuri way of commemorating the dead. In this area they grew trees in other trees. Not all the Gomilaroi or Wailwun or Ualaroi but those living in this district did. While these people didn’t have the wheel or the written word they celebrated and mourned their esteemed deceased like all other humans across the globe. It is wrong to assume people who were partially nomadic (depending on seasonal conditions) were any less sophisticated in their belief in the afterlife.
Ive included this link from my ABC news feed about water holding trees in WA. Apparently the Menang/ Meriningar people used to remove the central trunk of their Marri trees to create a bowl for collecting rainwater generations later. They do that with eucalypts here too and Ive seen it on the North Coast as well. What I want to know is why we don’t have a botanist/ biodiversity expert like Prof. Stephen Hopper from UWA to help us with the CMTs & TinTs here in NSW? Why don’t the Universities and museums in NSW care about our Aboriginal culture? Virtue signalling websites with NO RESEARCH & NO REPLY.
On a more hopeful note Im moving to the other end of life – infancy & childhood – where everything is still possible & the future is unlimited – (for Anglo children born to wealthy parents in our major cities at least) & I will leave you with these 2 uplifting & maternally heart-warming pics. The first is a photo Ive taken in July 2019 from a book by Donald Thomson that was in the ‘library’ at an Island we stayed at before going to the Garma festival in northeast Arnhem Land.(Banubanu resort on Bremer Island) The caption reads as follows – “Harry Makarrwala’s daughter, Bela, playing at being a mother, with moulded mud breasts and a mud doll lying on a sheet of paper bark.”
The second pic is from yesterday’s ABC News feed story showing the repatriation of shell dolls from the UK taken from the Anindilyakwa people of Groote Island many years ago. If these 2 photos don’t melt your heart, you are probably not human …