Ruby Gap Creative Camp August 2014

Our last camp at Ruby Gap was wonderful,  as it always is. Really felt like coming home after our recent time in the unfamiliar territory of the Kimberley ( which was amazing certainly, see our last post).  But Ruby is just as beautiful!  Waking below those high cliffs in the night with a million stars above, drifting back to sleep as Scorpio slides into the cleft and waking again to birdsong as the morning light paints the cliffs:


“At daybreak the cliff-face turns a richer, deeper red!” “Who’s Richard Deepa?”

Dawn! A secretive and unassuming chap,
Richard Deepa, comes to Ruby Gap.

The Keeper of the Colours – none but he
May choose these pleasures for our eyes to see.

The high escarpment blushes by his will;
He marks the deep recesses with his quill;

He paints the golden ship that sails the sky,
And misty veils, that changing catch the eye.

And sunbeams, colours, shadows overlap
When Richard Deepa comes to Ruby gap.

And we who wake to rise from warm bed-roll,
Sense in the stillness of the dawn – the soul made whole.

by Elsbeth Murphy (who came with us to Ruby Gap in July last year).

The group this time included some prodigious and diverse talent too. Stephen O’Connell, CEO of the Murray Conservatorium of Music, gave us a wonderful concert.  David Brownscombe treated us to a reading from the novel he was working on. Chris from the south of France shared black and white photography of his very different world… and daily we delighted in the work the rest of us created in response to Ruby Gap, including a wonderful print making session using our big truck, ‘The Don’, as the press.  Here are some photos:

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Deb & Charlie Hunting Bradshaws

In August Charlie and I had an adventure of our own…
A trip to the Drysdale River in the Nth East Kimberly in company of some of Australias leading rock art specialists and a small bunch of curious novices, like ourselves, from all over Australia .

It was a long drive in the ‘Don’ with some horrendously corrugated roads, punctuated by a few brilliant stopovers. The best of which was a visit to Bill Harney’s homeland  2 or more hours out of Katherine.

Bill may well be the last to hold and tell the stories of his people and their country. His stories are illustrated by extraordinary rock art. Huge fearsome figures in strong ochre colours and a myriad of smaller creatures: native doves, owls, flying foxes and crocodiles. It was a privilege to sit in these magnificent rock art galleries and hear him relate the creation sagas in words and song. He is an amazing 82 year old so full of life with a deep love for his country and a generous spirit that wants to share it all. We were very lucky!

After a night or two at El Qestro, (which was way more beautiful than I had imagined), we headed for Barking Owl Camp on the Drysdale River, off the Kulumbaru road. What a place! Tangled dry jungle, clear river water and rock escarpments that house hundreds of ancient Bradshaw rock paintings or Gwion Gwions, as they are also known.  But Barking Owl turned out to be just the beginning as we then paddled upstream for a day in laden canoes to camp for several nights.  Here we found yet more artwork even some hereto undiscovered works.  It was wonderful and very educational but it was not an easy haul and not something that either of us feel we could offer as a Creative Camp. Too many thousands of k’s, and too many risks in unfamiliar, utterly remote country. Despite all we saw it was wonderful to arrive back in beautiful Central Australia!
We will happily continue to share our own terrain with you all and also happy to share some photos from this amazing Kimberly adventure:

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Running Waters in July

Our wonderful Creative Camp at Running Waters In July seems so long ago now as we have travelled so far, seen so much, since then.
But photos of this beautiful place bring it all back.  It is a delight to review them.
We will be going to Running Waters again in a weeks time for our last camp of the season, September 21st – 28th.
I wonder if we will have any rain this time? It has rained each time have been there so far , but never for too long …
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