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: