Some paintings are 20,000 years old, depicting the creation of the world at the dream time; some depict the spirits at the heart of their belief system and the last are 150 years old and show the arrival of the white invaders and the end of the world they had known for 40,000 – 50,000 years.
In between I see a kangaroo being hunted and a painting of one of the giant kangaroos which once roamed Australia, plus dreaming characters good and bad, as central to their belief system as ours to us.
I write these few words from a well of ignorance and a renewed respect for our indigenous culture, the longest surviving in human history. I knew I knew little, truth is I knew virtually nothing of a culture we have done our utmost to destroy.
Humbling. Equally humbling was the experience of hiking for a week through a land which appears utterly inhospitable – bone dry and hot half the year, inundated by monsoons half the year – and learning a little of how a culture flourished here for thousands of years.
A wonderful holiday and a privilege.