last weekend we went here
which is to say we went here
This is Madarrpa country, a place called Baratjula.
The place the amazing women Nongirrnga Marawili, paints.
Her paintings show the deep water and the ‘curse’ or oath that the snake spits into the sky in the form of lightning from this place.
At the base of the image a rock sits firm in the Madarrpa land against which this sea crashes. '
(copyright of Buku-Larrnggay Mulka)
We drove from Yirrkala on Saturday afternoon, two trophy loads of mostly kids, Yalpi, Rerrkirrwanga, us and Henry Skerritt, a visitor from the usa.
Not many people visit Baratjula, in fact after the cyclones we weren't sure we would even make it. We turned off at Djarrakpi and then spilt again on the road until we passed a homeland with houses, an airstrip but no residents and found a overgrown road to the beach.
On the map above the airstrip is in the top left hand corner. We followed that down towards the beach and drove up over the sand dunes and down onto the beach.
We stopped as the sun went down. In the rock pools we got oysters and huge blue crabs.
Rerrkirrwanga with her crabs ...
Two Jabiru wading in the low tide
me in the sunset
We got to Baratjula in the dark - the drive up the beach was something else - through and over rocks and up into the jungle again through a road that wasn't really a road and back on the beach again and over the rocks again until we got to the spot. We camped the night - made a fire, slept under the stars and listened out for Buffulo snorting in the dark.
She was so happy to be there - it was a privilege to be with her as she sat on the ancient rocks that hold so much of her clan's sacred stories and knowledge, knowing that she had experiences here that were pre-contact.
everyone went hunting.
so we had stingray for lunch - so delicious !
Iggy and Charles - the best of friends - played all day
looking like seventies crime fighters.
Mawang, Djilil and Iggy on the sand tune (between boggings)
Iggy and Rerrkirrwanga digging out the eggs