Saturday, 21 July 2012

Ubirr - Kakadu

Today we drove to Ubirr, On the way we stopped at Bardedjilidji Sandstone Walk. Bardedjilidji is the local aboriginal word for walking track or pathway. The name also refers to roots or waterlilies growing in freshwater swamps and billabongs. The sandstone rocks were formed as sandy sediments under an ancient lake about 1500 million years ago. The rock outliers were islands in a sea at the time of the dinosaurs, 140 or 65 million years ago. The sea eroded the sandstone as far as a shoreline of sea cliffs, now the Arnhem Land escarpment.

We then went on to Ubirr. This site has the finest collection of rock art in the world. Some paintings have particular importance as they are believed to be painted by the First People of the creation era, sometimes called the Dreamtime, who formed the land and all it contains.

The rainbow serpent gallery contains a painting of a rainbow serpent one of the oldest symbols in the world and the most powerful and significant to the aboriginal people. Anywhere the rainbow serpent is painted has great value. Known at Ubirr by her Gagudju name the rainbow serpent traveled through this area in human form and painted her image on a rock here to remind people of her presence. She also left traces of her passing in the nearby Manngarre rainforest. (The second photo like a rainbow)

The main gallery is housed underneath an overhanging rock which could have accommodated a family. On the back walls are paintings of a number of the animals which would have been hunted and eaten. These are animals which are still hunted and eaten today such as barramundi, goanna and wallabies. Much of the paintings are x-ray which are the paintings that show internal organs of the animals, probably less than 1500 years ago. There are also paintings of europeans suggesting they were painted around 1880.

This painting of Mabuyu warns against stealing.

We then walked to the top of the Nadab Lookout to 360o views all around. A truly amazing site as the sun was setting and making the land come alive. A very special place, you could feel the land speaking to you.

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