Discovering the Outback

Published: March 16th 2018
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Making tea in a Billy
Blog 7

Alice Springs - March 16, 2018 – Weather forecast: bright sunny skies, daytime temperature of 35°C, overnight temperature of 19°C

Today we had another early start so that we could take part in an Aboriginal Cultural Talk. We drove across the city to an area near the airport where a group of aboriginal people had gathered, and Colin from Aboriginal Dreamtime & Bushtucker Tours gave us a presentation, under a pavilion that provided some shade but no protection from the pesky flies. Fly nets were the fashion statement for the day.

He first spoke on a wide range of topics including: the origins of these people (DNA testing relates them to South East India and Sri Lanka); how they are thought to have come to Australia 40,000 years ago (that time frame has recently been expanded to 60,000 years ago); where they first lived; how they spread out across the continent; their tribal customs, laws, health, education, marriage, death. At the conclusion of this first section Colin prepared some tea in his Billy and served it with some Bush Bread.

In the next segment of his presentation

Bush bread baking
Colin showed us the types of food that the original inhabitants hunted & gathered. He invited us to sample some of the fruits and nuts and even some kangaroo tail.

With Colin as our cultural interpreter the next element of the talk was a presentation of the Aboriginal art. The group that had gathered produce a variety of original paintings and some decorated wood items. Colin first took us around to each artist’s display and explained the symbolism portrayed in their paintings. After that he let us loose to make purchases if we wished. The main advantage in dealing directly with the artists is that all the money goes directly to them and there are no gallery fees. All of the art had a description written on the back. The artists generally don’t like to have their photos taken without their permission so we asked and two of the ladies agreed to pose with the art we purchased.

The last portion of the talk dealt with the weapons used by the Aboriginal peoples for both hunting and warfare. In one particular instance the Aborigines had developed a device to assist in throwing their spears

Grub - snack food
greater distances which paralleled the devices used by people of the First Nations in Canada.

After a very hot and dry morning filled with those pesky flies we returned to the hotel for lunch and a leisure filled afternoon. The next portion of today’s adventure came this evening with our Bush Dinner under the stars.

At 6:20pm we left the hotel for our evening under the stars and our Dinner in the Bush. Another bus load from Collette Tours joined us for the outing. Upon our arrival John, our host, did a very enthusiastic presentation as he prepared our dessert, two large pans of Spotted Dog, a variety of Bush Bread. The flies that we encountered in the morning were once again out in force only to disappear once the sun went down. They were replaced by large moths that stayed with us throughout our dinner.

After our dinner of chicken and steaks - no bush animals like kangaroo were on the menu - we had entertainment by a singer, Then we adjoined to an open spot near the dining pavilion to view the stars. With the lights turned out

and no clouds in the sky the Milky Way opened to our view over our heads. The sky was spectacular. It was the first time in my life that I could actually see the rest of the arm that our solar system sits in. Another bucket list item is now checked off. Our guide pointed out major stars and especially the cluster that includes the Southern Cross, which is also incorporated into the Australian flag. After a final bit of entertainment in which the guest were active participants we boarded our bus and returned to the hotel.

Tomorrow we take a five-hour bus trip over to Uluru/Ayers Rock, so it’s up early once again, bags out for the porters to pick up by 7:00am and away by 8:00am.

Additional photos below
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Weapons and tools

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