Andu Part 2

 

It had been my idea to go in search of an endangered species.

It had been her idea to hitch hike from Adelaide to the northern Flinders Ranges.

I didn´t think much of that idea. I tried to talk logic to her. 

‘Why not use the organized forms of transport as far as we can and then hitch hike? From the 400 kilometers there, at least cover 250 with a bus?

Anya wasn’t interested: ‘Lets hitch hike all the way. It’ll be an adventure’, she said.

‘It’ll be impossible getting lifts with our heavy rucksacks.’ I retorted, ‘it´ll take bloody weeks to get there!´

Read more

Andu Part 1

 

Looking out the windows of the SUV, we saw it: the gaunt outlines of the northern Flinders Ranges, a metallic red brown vein of cliffs and ridges and valleys running deep into Central Australia, one the most arid, barren places in the world.

Then we knew we were nearing our destination, the point at which one journey ended and another began.

From hitch hiking 400 kilometres to walking 200.   

They were tired looking those ranges, almost as if their venture into the heart of one of the world´s greatest wastelands had proved to be too much and they had renounced any ambition of being a normal range.

But early in the morning and late in the evening, they burst into a spectrum of colours, all the colours of the rainbow. It was a transformation as miraculous as the animal which had once thrived there and learnt to dress itself up in a coat of many colours, like the biblical Jacob – and to merge into its environment during the critical times of the day when it went to forage for food…..

Read more

The Tears of Tjilbruke Part 2

 

A half ibis, half man.

His tears falling on the ground and forming sources of water for the souls who inhabit his land.

From grief comes hope. From tears, life.

They sing songs about him. The songs are also poems.

Poems are remembered well. Long after the original indigenous inhabitants had vanished, the generations afterwards could still remember many of the poems of their people.

The poems give meaning to a vast land which to the eyes of the Europeans was – and still is – daunting, monotonous: a terrible emptiness. 

The song poems are maps of the mind….and together, they form another very different idea of Australia.

And so it happens that when Norman B. Tindale meets Ivaritji in the Adelaide Museum in 1927, he asks about the song poem of Tjilbruke. The son of a missionary, he is on a mission. Not a mission to convert others. The mission of a scientist. A mission to change the way Australians look at their country….

Read more

The Tears of Tjilbruke Part 1

 

Her name was Ivaritji.

She was the last one left.

The last member of the Kaurna people who inhabited the area where today’s Adelaide and its sprawling suburbs are situated.

There is a photo of her in the Aboriginal Culture Gallery of the South Australia museum – one of the finest ethnographic displays in the world, thanks largely to the pioneering work of one of Australia’s greatest  anthropologists, Norman B. Tindale.

The photo of Ivaritji was taken by Tindale in 1928 shortly before she died…

   Read more

Star Gazing Part 2

 

When I bought my binoculars with the intention of travelling to the deserts of Central Australia, those deserts didn’t seem so far away.

A few days driving, something like that.  

But then the restrictions on travel were ratcheted up – and up – and before I knew it, damn well everything was far away.

One couldn’t go anywhere excepting the supermarket and petrol station.  

Stay at home was the idea.

Home? Anya and I had never actually had a home.

Read more