It’s a difficult time to be travelling anywhere in the world but we managed to get up to the Carnarvon Gorge in Qld last weekend. The revolving door that is our state border has closed again today which makes it inconvenient for towns like Mungindi, Hebel & Boggabilla but nowhere near as grim as life in Vic I’d reckon. If you are ever up around the central highlands of Qld a trip to the Carnarvon National Park is a must. Also get yourself a guide to give you the geological, botanical & cultural information that makes sense of it all. We used Australian Nature guides aka Carnarvon Gorge Eco tours. Simon gave us a good overall ecological picture as well as a detailed interpretation of the excellent stencil art.
The ochre stenciling by the local Bidjara & Karingbal over a long period of time has left a mosaic of hands, tracks, weapons, shells, coolamons & hundreds of women’s vulvas. There appears to have been some sex education happening at the ‘Art Gallery” as well as special burials indicated by the net motifs. The religious significance of the site re rainbow serpent dreaming brings to mind the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. Perhaps the Chimera chase collection of 10 Trees in Trees also has religious implications? Baiame, the creation figure of South eastern Australia is not to be found in the northern third of eastern Australia but the animal prints & hand stencils are everywhere
The idea of special religious places in Australia where surrounding tribes made pilgrimages to is not hard to imagine. After all Bora ceremonies were often held on the same spot every so many years depending on how many teenage boys were around. Perhaps the women here planted trees in trees for ceremonial reasons like men carved native animals into the bark? The bora ceremony of the Gomilaroi also involved figures sculpted out of soil as well as bark but this would need to be redone every time. The chimera may have been a teaching tool as well or a way of converting male trees (box) into female by the various scrub trees planted in them.
Anyway the riddle of the rings & the mystery of the chimera will be revealed one day I expect. Border closures will only delay this quest for understanding & our triple J of essential academics (Jennifer, Judith & Jonathan) will not be deterred but made more determined. A couple of intrepid tourists also arrived this arvo coming from Cunnamulla. Allan will take them around the CMTs within walking distance tomorrow and share his knowledge. From little things big things grow XXXX