Walmajarri Trip, July 4-12, 2003
Eight days of visiting country for the old people was a re-charging experience. For the young people it was challenging and hard work. With fires to be lit, flat tyres to be repaired and hundreds of kilometers to be driven, their was no time for rest. During the long days of driving however a few of the boys got creative and all be it a little unsafe managed to make a fine nest amongst the swags on the roof of the vehicle. Everyone took turns in spreading out amongst the swags catching some needed if not fitful sleep.
Each day we covered many miles, stopping off at each well we passed. English names were translated into Walmajarri names and stories were told about the people who speak for this country. Each person on the trip were direct descendants of people from this part of the country and making that connection for many gave great strength.
Each night stories were told, many tragic of the punishment handed out by settlers. With the full moon throwing long shadows over the desert, the old fellas enjoyed themselves scaring the younger blokes of stories of bush people still wondering the country.
When we were not traveling we were burning of large areas of land. The spinifex had grown scrubby overt the three years since visiting and the old fellas though it time to let fire do its job. Soon the sky was filled with smoke and the few tourists that drove by peered out the new expensive toys with puzzled looks.
Lake Gregory was a particular highlight and not just for the fresh meat. Although the fresh feed was enjoyed by all the lake was a magnificent sight. Taking two full days to drive around the sheer size is unbelievable. Stories were told of the snake that lives in the centre of the lake and what it has done to tourists and locals unaware of its strength and power. I wasn’t about to dive into the water however dusty and hot.
With tobacco running low and fuel even lower it was soon time to leave the desert and head for Mulan and Billaluna visit old people and drop off participants. The cold nights were heaven and everyone looked forward to the next opportunity to travel through this particular country.