Diary for 2001 GO BUSH Safaris Kimberley Adventure

Day 1

Tuesday, 29 May

Darwin to Timber Creek

A good start, all present and on time. We were joined by Ian Morris ( Uncle Longnose) and Galkila at Noonamah and the crew of Jane, Jennifer and Jo-Jo. It was here that John discovered that he'd lost his mobile phone, a major crisis. We proceeded to Adelaide River for morning tea and on the way saw a "sleeping" buffalo by the roadside and a stuffed buffalo "Charlie" in the bar.

The next crisis, a flat tyre. Despite the efforts of our Fearless Leader and assistant Ian, the tyre couldn't be fixed by the roadside so we crawled with noisily flapping rubber and smoke that rose under Jennie's feet to Hayes Creek. The equanimity of F.L. was admirable and with professional help and turning the bolts in the right direction we were soon on our way again.

Uncle Longnose pointed out many botanical, geological and other features including the Black Cockatoo commonly known as a "Bolt Cutter on two legs". He also explained the life cycle, infection and destruction of the Gouldian Finch prior to our arrival for lunch in Katherine (better late than never.)It was noted that our cappuccino addicts got their fix.

From Katherine to Victoria River we saw a variety of landscapes and all piled out of the bus on the bridge looking for floating handbags. At the Roadside we saw the Gyrocarpus americanus, the helicopter tree.

The journey proceeded through the magnificent Victoria Gorge with a brief stoop at a Dreaming site to our campsite at Timber Creek where tents were quickly erected and Happy Hour commenced followed by an excellent three course dinner by the end of which Jo Jo had finished blowing up the air beds.

ULN’s Notes: Tuesday 29th May

Last pick-up Noonamah — Uncle Longnose & Galkila & marsupial mouse Gulliver who is making a pilgrimage back to his native WA after living in the land of ‘giants’. Lessons in 100 kph botany followed by smoko in a shady garden in Adelaide River township. Tropical woodland changed to dryer granite landscape where we heard the of the demise of the largest breeding population of wild (alleged?) Gouldian Finches in the NT at Mt Todd. A flat tyre on the inner back wheel showed us all what JoJo was made of. Then on into silver cycads & limestone country, upon which is situated the township of Katherine — our lunching spot (& a quick tyre change). "All aboard" & off along the Victoria Highway towards Western Australia. Smoko in the beautiful Victoria River Valley (roadhouse) where we will make camp on our return from WA. No snapping handbags seen in the river but the Helicopter trees were primed up & ready for a demonstration. The newly described Victoria River Cabbage Palm could be seen growing high along the clifflines. Arrived after dark at the Circle F caravan park, Timber Creek. First go at erecting the tents was pretty impressive.

Day 2

Wednesday, 30 May

Timber Creek - Keep River

Visiting tourists saddened to miss sighting of famous finch.

Having heard the tragic tale of the near destruction of nest sights of the Northern Territory Gouldian Finch, members of the Go Bush Safari tour gathered this morning a Timber Creek hoping to sight this elusive bird. After one hour and an excited call from Sheila, "I've seen the finch" which wasn't confirmed they were compensated by seeing Double barred and Long Tailed Finches, Great Bower birds, White Headed Babblers, Red Fairy Wrens, Brown Honeyeater, Wood Swallows. Despite a disappointment Suzanne said she had not given up hope of seeing the bird.

Departing the petrol station FL became quite excited when he spotted the convoy of large yellow vehicles emblazoned with VOLVO WELCOMES FL. A new trailer for OUR FL?

New dating of Gregory's tree

We visited the Mighty Little Victoria River and found the Boab tree which used as the base for Gregory's expeditions. We were dismayed to find the tree did not corroborate our previous information and Gregory had in fact been there one year earlier.

Kimdianna Morris defies battles, raging waters to rescue the new amphibian Kingswood.

The unbelievable insurance claim for the rescue of a Holden Kingswood left stranded hanging from a Boab tree, while me with skepticism was finally approved.

Flat Headed Frog frustrates NT Cabinet.

We learnt of the Western Australian discovery of a new frog species based on one frog. The night forays of Uncle Longnose subsequently resulted in the capture of a number of the Flat Headed Frog His report precipitated an urgent meeting Territory politicians to reconsider plans for a highway through their habitat in the Keep River Park.

After lunch at Gurrandalng camping ground in the Keep River Park the group rested until a cooler hour at 4 p.m. when we all, with the exception of Jane, set off on the loop walk of Brolga Dreaming. As the track rose we could view the Pinkerton Range and wonderful shapes and folds in the landscape and hills. Jane headed for the coolness and solitude of the water hole for some and the chance to do some painting. A frog sang to her and her toes were tickled by yabbies.

A lovely view was had from a cave down on to the campsite, and several new flowering plants were pointed out to us by Ian and John. We walked along a ridge near the base of the rock face. JoJo and Galkila were scampering over the rocks above looking for food for Gulliver his Antichinus. We came to a point beyond which told us men were prohibited from going as the territory ahead was sacred for women only. If they the females in our group could proceed if they wished but none did deciding to turn back to all descend on the return track. Back at camp we piled in the bus for a short trip to see some aboriginal art in an arch.
There were many marks, lines and paintings in a small gallery, calculated to be 2500 in all.

As we passed the creek near camp John hated the bus to allow our water collectors to fill buckets. This was collected one side of the bridge and the other side was for swimming.

After a very full day we were glad to collapse into our beds.

ULN’s Notes: Wed 30th May

Cool weather kept the abundant Gouldian Finches in their nests till after we left & some were seen to drown their sorrows in iced coffee. It was later explained that this was a necessary step because the brands in WA are inferior!

Big Horse Creek boat-ramp gave us a good view of the ‘mighty Victoria River’ followed by the saga of the Kingswood in Saddle Creek. This is a strange land where explorers drag whaleboats overland & tourists sail motorcars down the rivers. Finally arrived at Keep River National Park, said to be abounding in Gouldian Finches, & drove straight to Gurrandalng Campground in order to beat the afternoon rush. Tents up & off to do the loop walk around Gurrandalng. Flowering Grevilleas, Elephant-ear Wattles & spectacular views were the highlights. Later in the afternoon, the Cockatoo Art-site gave us a good display of the Mirrawong rock art. The campfire was welcome as the evening turned cool. The brave ones ventured down to the creek for a birdbath.

Day 3

Thursday, 31 May 2001

Keep River - Kununurra

Broke camp at 10:40 am. Stopped at Ginger Hill to solve the mystery of the stone piles with brushwood and spear grass roof. JoJo helped us with a clue. He slid upside down and backwards into the small door and twirled a stick with hanky on it to attract curious transitory travellers.

The lagoon ranger station was our next stop where we saw abundant bird life: brolgas calling "brohhhlhhhga brohhhlhhha", green pigmy geese, plumed ducks, little egret, a white faced heron, a black faced woodswallow and a little black cormorant.

On the Northern Territory side of the Quarantine Station Sheila discovered the bower of a greater bower bird. We think the bowerbird had a taste for Stone's Green Ginger Wine as evidenced by the pieces of broken green bottle.

Meanwhile, over at the Quarantine Station, the officers went through the bus with a fine toothed comb. All our bags were checked for fruit. Fruit was confiscated.

What do you think they do with three garbage bins full each day at the height of the tourist season? No, they don't take it home or sell it on the black market!

It is tipped into one of three concrete septic tanks where it decomposes very quickly thanks to the termites two centimetres in length who ingest and digest and carry it away through the bottom f the tanks! The officers never have to empty the tanks.

On the way to the spillway of the Ord River project In spotted three, four, five, a small flock! of BUSTARDS or Western Australian turkeys.

We then stopped to look at another rock art site. As we alighted from the bus a strong smell of almond engulfed us - like a perfume or a sweet. It was in fact the sticky sweet spinifex covering the ground. While admiring the rock art, some safarists screamed in fright as two eyes appeared at their feet. A dingo? A bunyip? A mythical being? No. Our dear Gulkila who is beginning to feel comfortable with us.

We then walked across abridge over a raging river. Little did we know that we would cross its mouth a few hours later in the JJJ cruise boat! What fun to white water raft it.

The JJJ cruise down the Ord took three and one half hours. We saw darters, large and small freesias, azure kingfisher, Jana, rare cracks, cluster figs, and thousands of appealing black fruit bats (pollinators of boabs!)

Another bonus was the foot-washer and back-pack moistener on the floor of the boat. Apparently the craft was so heavily laden that the pin-hole in the hull was below the waterline allowing a small trickle of the Ord to enter.

Our talented guide pushed the craft beyond its usual 35 kph to bring us to a view of the sunset over the Ord a whole two seconds before the sun disappeared below the horizon! We praised him for a good job.

ULN’s Notes: Day 3: Thursday, 31st May

Smoko at the ranger station on the way out. Ranger Dave Sherwell confirmed that Flat-headed Frogs have been found now at many locations in his region. Quarantine inspection at the WA border was a comical delay but soon we were off to Lake Argyle Village for an Iced Coffee &, after a spectacular view of Lake Argyle from the lookout, lunch at the Spillway below Argyle Dam. Triple J boat tour down the Ord to Kununurra & our campsite at Kona Caravan Park while FL hit the shopping trolleys. We shared the site with a Gurka platoon assigned to the Singapore Police, who were on a training exercise in the Argyle area. They were good neighbours went to bed at 9 pm on the dot. We carried on without them!

Day 4

Kununurra Knews

Friday, 1 June, 2001

F Day

Friday, the Fourth day, was remarkable for its abundance of Fs. After waking at Four, in Fear of the Fearless leader, we headed to the airport for our Flight.

Next the Farms, then Food purchases, whilst others were Flat out on a Freebie Followed by a Flat rock happy hour.

Mumbles from the Bungles

First Time Bunglers

"This puts the Grand Canyon to Shame" - famous catering supervisor.

"Inspiration of line form colour and shape" - resident artist.

"Absolutely blown away" - our Cheltenham chick.

"I feel like an owl twisting my head 360 degrees" - roving reporter.

"Up up and away. Over the Ord today

Diamonds mountains, water and space

What a place what a place what a place"

– our blond bombshell.

Experienced Bunglers

"I can bungle with the best of them" - outback explorer.

"It was big" - shy person of few words who wishes to remain anonymous.

Stop Press: "Gulliver Released in Lilliput!"

Leader becomes Führer

"Lunch will be on now for only half an hour".

Is this the new regime?

International Events

All safarists have been invited to join in the Gurkha entertainment tonight.

Uncle Long Nose wonders whether the Lebanese cucumbers fight with other cucumbers, Your intrepid reporter wonders whether the cucumbers will become gherkins (Ed. Do you mean Gurkhas?)

No Ants in the Toilets

Our roving women's health issues reporter notes that a vase of flowers has replaced the crawly creatures experienced at Keep River. Keep River can keep its ants!


Why so many 27s? The Argyll Dam holds back 27 Sydney Harbours. John Buchanan's Freshies have 27 teeth. 27,000 mango trees on a passing farm. Amazing that John Buchanan joining us brought our total to 27!!!


An appeal for Iced Coffees all round on the sighting of a reversing 385 horse power emu seen in the cane fields

ULN’s Notes: Day 4: Friday, 1st June

An early rise for the Bungle Bungle scenic flight with Alligator Air, leaving Galkila & Longnose in charge of the camp & iced coffee supply. This gave an opportunity for people to view the country that we were to learn much more about later on from the traditional owners.

Local identity & ex-Queenslander John Buchanan lead a tour of the Ord River Scheme & had an explanation for everything we were looking at. A quick visit to the Top Rockz Gallery proved to be a real boost for the local economy. Gulliver the Ningbing Antechinus was turned over to the WA wildlife authorities in Kununurra who released him in Lilliput land, otherwise known as Miramar National Park. It is doubtful that his fellow marsupials believed what he told them.

Happy hour was observed on the lookout at Miramar watching the sunset over the sugar cane. Back at camp, the gurkas cooked some Nepalese food for us to try & then put on a cultural concert. Fitness was the key to successful Gurka dancing, but then Jo Jo showed them an astonishing new way of using a pair of human legs! The frivolity stopped once again at 9.00.

Day 5

Saturday, 2 June

Kununurra - Home Valley

ZIPP! ZIPP! CRUNCH CRUNCH All aboard for day 5.

International Frisbee frolics — amazing variety of styles ranging from slick deliveries to chucking.

Upon leaving Kona Village caravan park , as usual we brought local traffic to a halt.

Ian asked if we were over-Ord as we left town via the bridge towards Wyndham.

1st stop The Grotto-a hidden oasis home to Merton’s water monitor which performed a perfect synchronized dive with Jo Jo whilst Tarzans and Janes performed on the rope.

2nd stop Parry’s Lagoon — a unique habitat for multitude of water birds.

3rd stop the Bastion Point — from where we observed the five rivers ( Pentecost, Ord, King, Durack & Forest) flowing into Cambridge Gulf at Wyndham.

We commenced the 4WD 670 km section of the safari on the Gibb River Rd. — in good condition and not as rough as expected, HOWEVER

At sunset the Pentecostal "Pushme -Pullyou" Performance on the Cobblestone Crossing began.

4th stop — Middle of Pentecost River with water in the bus and "everybody out" to push.

With great relief we arrived at Home Valley Station to be welcomed by Paul, Inga & savage dog Rosko. All air beds stayed up

Social Jottings for today:

By one who shall remain nameless: "At Woolworths Neutral Bay, the positioning of a bunch of bananas in a shopping trolley has a definite significance"

Maureen (Queen of the Desert) did a spontaneous display from the trailer top. The waving purple blouse was spotted by passing aircraft. Contract pending, Maureen.

Galkila made a dental inspection of the Wyndham Crocodile.

Day 6

Sunday, 3 June

Home Valley — Barnett River

Daylight dawned with a blazing red sun . The crouching, croaking, corrugated cistern controllers crowding in compact corners made ablutions a real joy.

Birdwatching — Bindaloo Billabong: crimson, banded, star finches, brown hawk.

Jackson’s Waterhole: rainbow beecatcher,

Durack River: wedgetail eagle

Campbells Creek: Jabiru

Animals: camels, Northern nail-tailed wallaby, feral donkeys, cattle on road

Geology: change from sandstone to basalt at Kalumburu Turnoff.


Running repairs from Pentecost adventure (reconnection and photography with rescuers),

rockhunting from between the wheels of the bus followed by wheel-wobble repair,

roadside rescue from Go-Bush Samaritans

Flat tyre on the Pajero at Campbell’s Creek

Mislaid back-up vehicle (Car 54 where are you?).


FL comment when borrowing a broom "Are you going to go somewhere?"

"He actually slowed down this time!" of FL’s driving.

"Gulkila’s become quite the ladies’ man!"

Set up bush camp at Barnett River

All’s well that ends well.

Day 7

Monday, 4 June

Barnett River — Manning Gorge

We woke to the sounds of he birds on the Barnett River, at our beautiful, but unplanned camp site. Simon led some of us to a giant melaleuca covered in blossom and birds. Our first stop after breakfast was the Mt. Barnett Roadhouse, where we refueled with diesel and ice cream. Then on to Galvan’s Gorge, where the great unwashed from yesterday, plunged into the cool water with abandonment. We emerged refreshed and much more pleasant to be near.

After morning tea we headed for Manning Gorge campsite which we reached before lunch { a minor miracle]. And set up camp beside two conjoined boabs, where we rekindled the ancient and large Bloodwood. [15 foot long.]

After the walk to the Manning Gorge, Sheila, [our very own African Queen,] who has a decided distaste for water, was floated in style across the billabong by FL and faithful followers. This was watched by a few floating handbags

Galkila was amazed that everybody who swam across the billabong on the way to the waterfall was not worried by the one meter freshwater crocodile relaxing on a nearby rock. Uncle Longnose had to point out to him that it was because nobody saw it!

Quote of the day: "It’s just a short walk." – F.L. Prior to the Manning Gorge foray.

Quote of the night: "Whose a man?" Jenny, whilst struggling womanfully to lift the kettle, and we have to admit, failing to make the lift .

Day 8

Tuesday, 5 June

Manning Gorge – Bells Gorge – Derby

Guess who was a very early riser today? Galkila.

He beat even FL to getting the fire going.

Leaving our camping site dominated by two magnificent Boab trees we travelled westward toward the Philip Range. Upon reaching the range we encountered Silver Bloodwoods (Eucalyptus collina) looking very attractive with their top foliage of silver leaves.

Not very long after the Leopold Range was sighted ahead with red sandstone cliffs glowing in the sunlight. This range runs NW to meet the sea. Stop at the Imintji Community Roadhouse for morning tea, refreshments, fuel where our bus, Jonah, had its door de-mechanised after not liking its dunking in the Pentecost River. The property on which the roadhouse stands was given to the community by the owner without having gone through any Lands Rights claim.

Soon after we turned off to lunch then walk at Bells Gorge 29 kms off the Gibb River Rd passing through Silent Grove camping ground with a prominent Telecom phone box.

Most of us walked the 1 km to Bells Gorge and cooled off in the refreshing waters of the lagoon above the falls. Some nudists were observed further along from the main party. Were they Go Bush Safarists ? Anyway, they were Streets ahead of the rest of us.

Maureen found she had slippery feet when she fell in only an 5cms of water , not once but twice so had to sit in wet clothes all the way to Derby.

Dick missed the gorge because of a thorn in the side of his foot, successfully operated on by Ron ably helped by a team of nurses. Ron kept him company as he was also not feeling quite well and Sheila kept him company who kept Jane company.

Ahead of schedule we set off at a cracking pace for the Gibe River Rd fording many creeks of terra cotta mud Crossing from the Leopold to the Napier Range we passed through geological formations with fantastic folding e.g. sandstone, basalt, limestone and granite. There was a granite quarry, not in operations at the moment, and some interesting slab "tombstones".

It was most interesting to notice which plants grew on which substance, Kimberley Roses, Boabs, in full leaf, tall spindly Acacia suberosa before we came through Queen Victoria Bluff to the Pindan Plains with sparse vegetation.

We passed Dog Chain Creek with its horrible memories of inhumanity toward Aborigines.

John must have been glad to drive on bitumen again and from the last 100 kms or so of straight run into Derby we viewed another colourful sunset with the redness of the sun being intensified by the smoke from burning off.

Derby was reached in time to catch the bottle shop but not to purchase stores for dinner, so John generously treated us to a Chinese meal organized by an ex-marine who settled here.

Replete we did a moonlight tour of the wharf , learning the tidal rise and fall could be 13 metres. Back at the caravan park, tents erected, we luxuriated in hot showers and laundry facilities before collapsing into bed. Bus duties were postponed until the morning.

Day 9

Wednesday, 6 June

Flight to Cape Leveque

The day started auspiciously, as the Derby tide had not inundated our campsite. However, some of us observed that Simon and Pam had been very efficient and enthusiastic to get going, their tents down before dawn! A wind had come up during the night, waking some of us, but in fact, it had caused the two tents to fall down and entangle the sleepers.

The nor’easter became more significant during the day. The first pilot described landing at Cape Leveque over the two way radio so dramatically that the second pilot had to remind him "Remember my passengers can hear you!" We all made "kangaroo" landings safely.

What can you say about Paradise? Two distinct designs: One a big tent over wooden floors up where the eagles fly, the other melaleuca bark enclosing a homey space down at the beach level.

Galkila and Sheila found a genealogy of Harlequin bugs on the native cotton plants: a crèche of tens of tiny colourful bugs, a grade school, and adults clinging to tufted cotton in lustrous colour.

Fearless stayed a little longer in Derby to organize repairs after the challenging Gibb River route.

The feted "Green Flash" DOES occur, at least in the eyes of one safarist. Sunset over the western beach was only matched by the rise of the full moon over the eastern beach.

Did that full moon contribute to the impromptu acapella singing and poetry reading as we waited for barbecued barramundi and caramel dumplings to follow?

Day 10

Thursday, 7 June

Cape Leveque

The Flycatchers were inspired to wax lyrical by this magical place. Here are our contributions.

Mysteek de Leveek

Seven June


No need for tent

No need for bus

No need for togs

No need for fuss.

Northwest extreme

Geographic pearl

Pearls submarine

Ecstatic swirl.

Native born

Kooljaman foods

Sorrow borne

Distant news. (Ross)

Windy weather with us there

Safari tents, fresh balmy air

Sunsets golden tropic skies

Flashes of green as daylight dies.

The lighthouse beaming over all

As full moon rises — a silver ball.

The magic potions one can find

Amazing foods of Bardi kind.

The wondrous treasures of the sea

In rich abundance mesmerize me.

Such natural beauty inspiring mystique,

A glimpse of heaven at Cape Leveque. (Jenny)

Boonyja Bardag Gorna

(All trees are good for something)

Smiling she leads us

through shadows and trees,

sunlight and whispering leaves.

Tangle of vines —

"smells like a salad"

Berries and fruits —

"the red ones are poisonous"

"this one is good to eat

it’s sweet"

"these leaves are good for sores"

snake vine

white currant

bush plum




All trees are good. (Gwenda)

Day 11

Friday, 8 June

Cape Leveque to Windjana

At 8.30 the return journey from the most westerly point of our safari began.

Once again we were intrigued by the patterns of the mudflats that

A resembled the branches of the boab tree. After lunch in the park at Derby, we picked up ice at Guns & Ammo–as you would!! We continued on to the Mowanjum Community Centre. Shortly there will be artworks adorning the walls of Ross & Marjorie, Sheila and Vivienne’s homes.

It was a pleasant change to arrive at our campsite, Windjana Gorge, with daylight to spare.

Dillon joined us for dinner and entertained us with stories, didgeridoo playing and emu spotting in the Milky Way.

Social Jottings: The Café Set were spotted at Tides Café not enjoying their long awaited cappuccinos .

Certain members of the Go Bush herd were sighted contemplating the waters of the longest trough in the world adjacent to the Prison Tree.

Diliny (pronounced Dillon) Andrews, a Bunuba tour guide arrived at Windjana from Fitzroy to camp with us & teach us about the natural & human history of the Napier Range. He runs Bungoolee Tours from Fitzroy to the Bunuba lands.

Day 12

Saturday, 9 June

Windjana Gorge to Fitzroy Crossing

A queue formed at crack of dawn outside the little house. Ron had a problem! Solution: Get a stick. Frogs in the loo.

It just keeps getting better!!

Windjana Gorge - a place of great beauty and aboriginal lore - the Women's Rock - the cliffs, crocodiles basking in the sun (at last count 36), cockatoos swooping in white waves over the water. Early morning risers could experience morning meditation in a place of great peace, and the observation of birds and frogs.

Dillon joined us to share the story of Jandamarra and to point out interesting features.

Tunnel Creek: Another magnificent experience. This very special place has enormous significance to the local Bunuba people. The story of Jandamarra is woven into the Gorge - the old Police Station and the incredible Tunnel Creek. The pride with which Dillen showed us the special Men's Place and shared with us his knowledge made us feel very privileged. He is planning to write a book about 'skins' so we will look forward to an even greater understanding of this central focus of aboriginal life.

On to Fitzroy Crossing and the long-awaited meeting with the legendary Willigan and the bestowing of skins.

A very exciting day.

Wildlife seen: night heron, northern fig bird, crocodiles, bats (fruit, little brown and ghost), kangaroos.

Quotes: "a spate of speileologists".


ULN’s Notes: Day 13: 10th June

The day began with an interpretive walk down to the Gorge with Dilliny, who is well versed in the human history of the Gorge, particularly the story of Djandamarra (Pigeon), who avoided the law by hiding in the rough limestone ramparts while defending his people & land. Diliny also told us of the legends of the area, including the fertility rock site in the Gorge. Freshwater Crocs were lined up like taxis on the sandbank in the early morning sun. Galkila couldn’t work out why a paddle on an airbed was not a good idea! Fossils, corellas, archerfish & even barramundi were also seen there.

Down tents & off at the speed of light to see the old police station at Limilurra where Djandamarra shot Constable Richardson. He would loose 10 points off his licence if he tried that today! Dillon took the co-pilot’s seat while IG had a turn at munching dust in the rear of the convoy.

Lunch under the tarp at Tunnel Creek carpark before Diliny lead the team through one of nature’s amazing engineering features - 750 metres of erie, water-filled darkness where humans are right out of their element & you can hear the bats giggling from the water-carved recesses high above. A collapsed section half way through gave us light & revealed Black Flying-foxes hanging in the fig tree above. Beautiful limestone formations could be seen in the dim light. Eel-tailed Catfish & Spangled Grunters swam effortlessly around the floundering humans as light appeared at the other end. More rock art & a swim before plunging back into the darkness for the return. There were discussions about how the pink marble boulders might be transported back to the eastern states!

Back in bus with the dickie door & off down the Napiers towards the Oscar Range & across the open grasslands of Old Leopold Station. Another quick swim at the Quarry, where the limestone was mined for the construction of the new Curtin Airbase near Derby & we were headed for Fitzroy River Lodge, washing machines & civilisation. Diliny returned briefly & then said farewell. He & Jo Jo went off to a country & western concert in Fitzroy. Washing flew from every mast.

Willigan (Joe Ross) arrived for tea & produced a box full of Yellow & red caps & shirts. He had worked out suitable honorary skins for each person & loud guffaws could be heard throughout the resort as people discovered how they related to each other. FL, however, announced that nobody was allowed to change tents. We were all Bunuba from there on. What a dubious addition to the tribe!

Day 13

Sunday, 10 June

Fitzroy Crossing and Danggu

Team appeared in our correct skins, and we’ll hopped on the "school bus". Derek is now rejoicing in the fact that he has three wives. Vivienne is having serious problems with a most neglectful son in law. Gwenda is experiencing confusion as to the identity of her many children.

Willigan then conducted us on a scenic tour of Fitzroy Crossing,, giving us an insight into the economy of the town, and its history. The tour included the Old Police Station, Post Office [now a Backpackers]and the school. He shared with us the community's plans for the future.

The group was photographed in our skins at the old Fitzroy Crossing.

After lunch we se off for a cruise on the Fitzroy hrough the Danggu [Geikie] Gorge. The cruise was special for the scenic limestone cliffs shaped by floods, . which at their height, create the second fastest flowing river in the world. We climbed to the top of Bunburra Lookout, and were rewarded with spectacular views if the Gorge.

Halfway down, A.J. gave an interesting demonstration of spear making and fire-creating with sticks. He showed us the medicinal value of the plants around us. Back on the beach, he drew tracks in the sand to show how children are taught how to recognize the tracks of animals by their grandparents.

An azure kingfisher delighted our eyes as we returned to base.

Day 14

Monday, 11 June

Mimbi and Mary River

A glorious sunrise and cool breeze heralded our departure from Fitzroy Crossing. All Aboard emanated from the steps of the Mayan Temple -cum ablutions block. Willigan came to wish us God speed and off we went to refuel and shop.

A few kms out of town we reached Bayulu Community where we met our sister guides
Vivienne, 22 years, and Joelene, 15 years, who were to guide us through the Mimbi Caves. Just off the path we noticed an old stone hut, well preserved, where a German lady had spent a year as a recluse writing. It was beautifully cool inside Further along we met a startled Euro . After feeling the increasing heat of the sun we appreciated the coolness around the pool at the entrance of the caves. Vivienne told of her sorrow that most of the stories of this cave system have been lost. .One of her aims s is to try and recover as much a the stories as possible.

As we entered the cave we saw the incredibly beautiful stalactite which led one of the tour members to exclaim "just like a beautiful chandelier". Scrambling by torchlight along narrow honeycombed passages we were amazed by the shapes, the forms and colours as we progressed to the central chamber and river, Quite a few little brown frogs were seen and some ghost bats. As we moved back outside we appreciated how privileged we’d been to have experienced this as it is not open to the public.

When we returned to the bus we found that JoJo and John were still struggling with a broken spring on the 4WD trailer discovered before we set off on our journey through the cave. Eventually they surmounted this difficulty.. After lunch we waved goodbye to our guide when their community bus arrived for them.

Back on the bitumen we travelled to the Ngumban Cliffs where the road passed the junction between the limestone and sandstone cliffs, Many of the group searched for fossils.

We continued to the Mary River camping ground. After dinner Ian presented a program he’d produced from previous trips.

Day 15

Tuesday, 12 June

Mary River to Kununurra

We awoke to the calls of the blue-winged kookaburra and other birds at Mary Pool, not our most salubrious campsite. It did, however, provide us opportunities for pictures of reflections in the pool, and a little splash in the waters which would join the Margaret and the Fitzroy at Geike gorge.


Ian and other twitchers heard some yellow-bellied free tail bats in the tree hollows, but unfortunately did not see them.

Black kites circled overhead, waiting to clean up the campsite.

We were entertained by the voice of Kennieh McKellar, an air by Scot Skinner. Bach and Cornfield. Arguably preferable to the singing in the back of the bus yesterday.

The road verges were lined with purple Mulla Mulla (Ptilotus exaltus) which are abundant after the wet.

On arriving at Halls Creek we were amazed to find space age toilets. We also patronised the newly open Tourist Office and café. Outside we saw the statue of Russian Jack wheeling his sick mate 300 km to medical aid, and another of Jack Jugarie "Standing Proud" who directed the painting of the nearby mural.

After a trip to Old Halls Creek and the Walls of China we finished up at the Warmun Art Centre where several of us bought some of their remarkable paintings.

Phyllis Thomas (Nagarra), Budi (Nawurru), Chocolate (Juwurru), and Rusty (Djagarra) joined us for barbecue dinner at he roadhouse. Chocolate is a traditional owner of the Gidja people of Turkey Creek north as far as Argyle Diamond Mine. He lives at Bow River Station with his wife Mona but grew up on Mabel Downs Station. Chocolate also had a neice there who was a "stolen child" and grew up in Perth. Rusty and Phlliss are painters at the Warmun Arts & Crafts Centre.

Day 16

Wednesday, 13 June

Kununurra – Victoria River

We departed Warmun at 7:57 am, 3 minutes ahead of schedule for a long day of driving, driving, driving. As we passed the Argyle Diamond mine, John explained that the 1960s mining policy of burn and pillage is slowly being replaced by a more enlightened triple-bottom-line policy — environmental, social impact & economic gain.

Ian told us about Chocolate & Mona raising orphaned aboriginal children. Some of them attended self esteem courses including abseiling and other challenges. Ian also mentioned that the Army is now employed in building houses for aboriginal communities. This has been a mutually beneficial exercise.

Late in the afternoon we called into Joe’s Creek Gorge. The red cliffs, decorated with cabbage tree palms were lit by the last rays of the sun.

On arriving at the Victoria River Roadhouse, we found Billy Harney, who had been waiting all day for us. Billy led off our concert with didgeridoo and traditional song. A marvellous night followed with everyone taking part. John concluded that it was the best concert he had ever heard. One of the best things was the diversity of items. (We believe that copies of concert items will be found at the end of this diary.)

Highlights included Jenny’s Welsh lullaby (which also enthralled a Royal Albert Hall audience), Vivienne and Pam’s song and dance, Shiela’s tale about buying a bathing costume when a mature lady, and more.

Awards of Excellence for which 18 carrot medallions were produced.

On a Kimberley tour with Go Bush,

At floodways it’s "All out and push!"

With FL and Ian

Great sights we’ve been seein’

While Galkila strikes with a whoosh.

Thus spake the Apostles


The show-woman of the trip is unanimously awarded to Maureen Bryden for Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

The Titanic Award to the man to be with when the boat’s going down: Ron Fairfull.

The Loser’s Award sponsored jointly by the Alzheimers’ Association and Samsung Cameras: Marion Armstrong.

The Sumner Miller "Why is it so?" Award for the greatest number of questions asked by a single person on the whole trip: Mickey Garrett.

The No Worries Award coming with a gold-plated lilo: Jo Jo.

Indiana Jones Award which comes with a year's supply of iced coffee: Ian Morris.

The Special Award comes with the latest model Toyota, 5 spare tyres and matching apron, for overall bonhommie and services to the Tourist Industry: John Sinclair.

Day 17

Thursday, 14 June

Victoria River — Innesvale (Munngan)

After breakfast with Billy Harney some went bird watching and spotted a male purple-crowned fairy-wren (western race) — an endangered species, while we waited for the trailer to be packed.

A short drive brought us to Innesvale station. On this journey Bill gave us a short history of the settlement of this area. 36 kms into the property, we found a delightful campsite where we had our morning tea and jettisoned the trailers. Bill then guided us to the Kanawala artsite near Mt Hogarth, a further 17 kms deeper into the property. We continued down the rough bush track until it ended, continuing on foot to the rocky overhang covered with an extensive gallery depicting the Creation story featuring the lightning people, Doong Doong devil spirit woman, kangaroos pursued by dingoes and the black headed python which made tunnels in the rock.

Bill linked all of the images in with the Dreamtime. Stone artifacts were in abundance.

On the return journey were saw numerous animals including an humungous red buck antelopine kangaroo.

Round our campfire, where we were joined by Bill and members of his family, we enjoyed items from Jennifer, I.G. and JoJo, and FL. Bill reciprocated with songs about today’s adventures and played his didgeridoo.

Billy Harney’s

Creation Story

The first 3 people in this country were "the Rainbow", who came from the water, Dungdung (old lady, wife of Rainbow & mother of all Lightning people) and Nåde (father of all Lightning people) who came from the sky. Nåde are sometimes called Mimi by other groups. This mob had many children on dry land which we call "Lightning People'.

A big flood called \abal\abal was made by old Rainbow who wanted everything to go back underwater. Because of this, Lightning tried to kill old Rainbow without success (hit him & cut him in half but he survived), but Wilie Wagtail, who built up the dry land by making hills & mountains, experimented & came up with the first spearpoint. He teamed up with Lightning & two falcons, Brown (Girrkany) & Grey (Bana\ga). Bana\ga sung a lot of power into his new spear, threw it right across the sky, hitting old Rainbow & cutting his head off, so the land dried up to what it is today.

All the Lightning animals looked like people in those days. Madburru\gu were frogs from the mud which changed into dogs. They chased the kangaroos right across the country. The Black-headed Python asked old Lightning how to keep all the water in the country because every time it rained the water drained away. So Lightning allowed the Black-headed Python & the Water Python to create all the rivers & billabongs & now everybody can have a drink.

A little boy called Worran, who came from the sky, followed the dog chasing a kangaroo to a hole in the mountain. The dog got tired & lay down to sleep. The little boy (now a small migratory bird like the Bronze cuckoo) decided to split the ear of the dog with a stone knife. This caused all the rocks to appear in this country, like we see today. The shadow of the lightning people went into the rocks & is still there today. Willy Wagtail went on inventing stone knives & tools. Today, when we see flying foxes hanging up in the trees, we don't disturb them or we will have trouble because we believe that they are the children of old Rainbow.

Main Story Characters:

In the Dreamtime there were no trees or rocks and the animals were like humans.

Old Dungdung - The mother of all the Lightning people

Nåde - Father of all the lightning people

Spotted Tree Goanna (Burrgi) makes the sheet lightning

Gecko (Djangginyina) - makes his tongue flicker, makes the lightning flicker in the sky. All the little geckoes make different songs.

Little Boy (Derotero)- son of Nåde - now a Bronze Cuckoo. You hear him call out in the wet.

Lightning (sings rain) - strikes the trees & lights fire

Pheasant Coucal (Girributj) invented the didgeridoo and always carried a didgeridoo on his hip when he was human and now he is a bird he has a long tail like a didgeridoo.

Darter (Barrakbarrak)-Diver-duck - Kidney-fat Man in former times.

White-faced Heron (Djarraran) he calls out for all the fish to come out and get painted up for a big ceremony.

The Old Spirit Devil- (Månden) He’ll follow you round and give you good luck. He helps you in ceremonial time. Like security in front of you if you are a young man.

The Old Rainbow (Gorrundolmi) - father of all the water people

Little Rainbow (Ngayukngayuk) - He notifies people that water is coming - get to high country, the same as Wårrak.

Willie Wagtail (Djirrigitja) invented all the stone tools & traded them to the Bluetongue Lizard.

Bluetongue Lizard he traded the tools out to the kangaroos & emus etc.

Big Black Catfish (Wårrak) - He made the law (He has a cross on his head and an eye like a shooting star). His voice lets you know that the floods are coming and to go to higher ground.

Ibis (Gundindin) joined up with the Brolga and danced.

Brolga (Bunurrun/Gudarrkban) got the didgeridoo off Girributj and blew it and danced at the same time.

Long-necked Turtle (Gonorrong) made an agreement with Freshwater Crocodile to use painting design.

Black-headed Python created all the rivers & waterholes (and also created many other sites) & made a songline across the country.

Dogs chasing kangaroos across the country (songlines).

Grasshopper (Gamuyu) sings rain with Lightning, makes whirly wind.

Whale (Wanggabara)- ate the lightning lady

Pied Butcherbird (Dolborro) invented the clapsticks & played with Girributj & the Peewee was dancing.

Peewee (Gulirrit) - he danced for all the different country and christened them.

Crow (Wåk) sang from sunset.

Little Bat (Ngalaminjminj) was a very good dancer - married to Rainbow Lorikeet (Dendeninj) & the Red-winged Parrot (Weledjban) were an unfaithful pair of twin sisters. He got revenge by spearing the Little Rainbow. They are two mountains today.

Pig-nosed Turtle (Djurrul) tried to come up to the freshwater but the little freshwater turtles stopped him.

Brown Falcon (Girrganj) He carried feathers to kill someone (boning tool).

Frilled Lizard (Garnangarrinj) he made human hair belts for body painting.

Brolga (Burnurrun) he invented the law for the second ceremony for young men and danced for everybody.

Meat (Red) Ants (Mitjmitjun) - revived (rebuilt) the Lightning Lady after she was eaten by the whale

Old Short-neck (Emydura) Turtle (Guwalambala) is still there today in the water (rivers) with the little boy (Terotero) on its back.

Ridge-tailed Monitor (Larradja) he strikes trees & lights fire in the grass makes the Lightning.

Gould’s (Desert) Goanna (Murruna) sings a song & makes rain for a mini cyclone.

Cockatiel (Wirriwuna)

Owlet Nightjar (Djerrege) sleeps in a hollow tree during the day &changes into a spiritual being and tells you where the burial grounds are.

Coral Tree (Erythryna vespertillio) bark makes fine black ochre (charcoal) mixed with Selleys Aquadhere for painting.

Rubber Tree Gutta percha bark is fish poison

ULN’s Notes from 2001

Kanawala Region (means ‘Sunrise/Sunset) Billy says that here are about 130 individual paintings in this area.

Kanawala Gallery — main feature is the lineup of ‘~irrmi\ini\’ (little lightning people). These ~irrmi\ini\ travelled in a big group together, singing & dancing. They travelled all the way from the east & started singing in this country, but the Old Spiritual Devil got jealous. One of those little ‘~irrmi\ini\’ was very clever & realised that the Old Spiritual Devil was trying to kill them, but they were friends with the Black-headed Python who tried to strangle the Old Spiritual Devil lady (sounded a bit like the woman trying to get into one of those bathing costume!!).

The old ladies painted on the roof of the gallery are ‘Mederre bena’ people who live in the rocks & visit people in the night when they are asleep. They sit on their heads & transport them up into the air with long strings where they teach them how to recognise & heal the sick. They get special eyesight to see sick people. When they wake up in the morning, they are much wiser. Later, the Mederre turned into pandanus trees growing beside the billabongs & rivers where they live today & their spirits still live in the pools & springs.

PS: The human remains in this cave were left by a man from a clan to the west. He was to return for the appropriate ceremony & then place the bones in the sacred burial ground, but he has now died as well. The bones will stay put now because he was the only man able to perform the ceremony.

2. Gonbunya Gallery - Wedge-tail Eagle story. Those two Bulya\ (eagles) were sitting down watching Du\du\ the old Spiritual Lady. The big white painting with the circles is Moon Dreaming or Kandawal. The three emus travelled across the country & joined with the kangaroo (Antilopine called Dunumburrgu) & they made a big songline across the country & many others followed. The tribal marks (engravings) you see were not done by humans.

Day 18

Tuesday, 15 June

King River to Darwin

Late departure from overnight campsite 10.00 a.m. Drove up to the station houses at Menngen (Innesvale Station) to see the didgeridoo-making

"Manngen" means ‘white cockatoo’. Stopped at Brandy Bottle Creek for morning tea. This was the spot where Billy Harney was born under the paperbark trees.

Travelling along well again when the back inside tyre blew out. After a quick change we were on the way again by 12.25 pm.

Lunch at Katherine Low Level picnic area. Passed through the limestone region, granite region & sandstone region as we drove north from Katherine.

A couple of comfort stops later we dropped off the Intrepid Guide and his shadowy companion, Gulkila and headed post haste for Darwin.

After exchanging the necessary information so that we could keep in contact with each other, we decided to meet for our grand finale at Cullen Bay before departing for our various destinations.

Letter to the Editor

SMH, Tuesday January 23, 2001,

by David Lyons (Hallidays Point)

A reading by Margery Street in the Kimberley Adventure 2001

Our first boat people still haven't learnt. With the approach of Australia Day, we think of the uninvited arrival of the First Boat People starting in 1788. A report card on how successfully their descendants have fitted into a multicultural Australia follows.

Language: Despite the enormous expenditure of public funds on their education, few can speak a single word of any Australian language.Laziness and lack of ability are postulated as the cause. They still expect others to communicate with them in their ancestors' tongue. FAIL

Integration: they have gained little knowledge of this country's customs, history or laws. Their loyalty is often to a foreign head of state. FAIL

Resource management: They demand more than their fair share of the world's resources and create great waste. Many boast of supporting themselves from the land but cling to their ancestors' unsuitable agricultural methods and species, which have created more ecological damage than benefit. The repair of this damage has to be paid for from public funds. FAIL

Lifestyle: their work ethic is servile. They spend most of their lives working long hours to enrich the few and more time working than in recreational activities. Income earned is often dissipated upon the chattels they crave and the addictive drugs their ancestors introduced here. Those who succeed in their own ventures often exploit others or sell out to foreigners. FAIL

Health: their health has improved, largely because of the diversion of huge sums of public money to repair self-inflicted damage. They expect the public purse to support their ethnocentric follies. PASS

Skills: most are still hopeless in the bush. Environmental skills are still poor, but there are signs of improved awareness. FAIL

Some argue it is a waste of public funds to attempt educating these people, but there are signs that some are beginning to change their attitude, beliefs and behaviour. The educational system must devote even more resources and effort to better assist these people put aside their unenlightened ways and become truly Australian within the next 200 years.


Beams of Hope

Ron Fairfull

Cape Leveque! Call Loudly to the people

Who roamed this sun-drenched land,

Call back the Bardi people

To this curve of shining sand.

Grant them the courage to rediscover

The haven that was theirs.

The joy, the pride the peace,

In this their tribal land.

Don’t leave them in their hour of need

When they’re sad and confused.

Say sorry my dark skinned angels

To the many who were abused.

Tell them we’ll never be able

To right the wrongs we’ve done

But let time be the healer

And let’s progress as one.

Cape Leveque! Let your healing beams

Wash o’er these gentle folk

And sweep them along with us

Along the road of hope.

Buying a Bathing Costume

I have just been through the annual pilgrimage of torture and humiliation known as buying a bathing costume. When I was a child in the 1950s, the bathing costume for a woman with a mature figure was designed for a woman with a mature figure — boned, trussed and reinforced, not so much sewn as engineered. They were built to hold back and uplift and they did a damn good job. Today’s stretch fabrics are designed for the pre-pubescent girl with a figure chipped from marble.

The mature woman has a choice — she can either front up at the maternity department and try on a floral costume with a skirt, coming away looking like a hippopotamus escaped from Disney’s Fantasia — or she can wander around every run of the mill department store trying to make a sensible choice from what amounts to a designer range of fluoro rubber bands.

What choice did I have? I wandered around, made my sensible choice and entered the chamber of horrors known as the fitting room. The first thing I noticed was the extraordinary tensile strength of the stretch material. The lycra used in bathing costumes was developed, I believe, by NASA to launch small rockets from a slingshot, which gives the added bonus that if you manage to actually lever yourself into one, you are protected form shark attacks. Any shark taking a swipe at your passing midriff would immediately suffer whiplash.

I fought my way into the bathing costume, but as I twanged the shoulder strap into place I gasped in horror — my bosom had disappeared. Eventually I found one bosom cowering under my left armpit. It took a while to find the other.

At last I located it flattened beside my seventh rib. The problem is that modern bathing suits have no bra cups. The mature woman is meant to wear her bosom spread across her chest like a speed hump. I re-aligned my speed hump and lurched toward the mirror to take a full view assessment. The bathing costume fitted all right, but unfortunately it only fitted those bits of me willing to stay inside it. The rest of me oozed out rebelliously from top, bottom and sides. I looked like a lump of play dough wearing undersized cling wrap.

As I tried to work out where all those extra bits had come from, the teenage salesgirl popped her head through the curtains. "Oh, they are YOU!" she said admiring the bathers. I replied that I wasn’t so sure and asked what else she had to show me.

I tried on a cream crinkled one that made me look like a lump of masking tape, and a floral two piece which gave the appearance of an oversize napkin in a serviette ring. I struggled into a pair of leopard skin bathers with a ragged frill and came out looking like Tarzan’s Jane on a bad day. I tried a black number with a midriff and looked like a jellyfish in mourning. I tried on a bright pink pair with such a high cut leg I thought I would have to wax my eyebrows to wear them.

Finally I found a costume that fitted. A two piece affair with shorts-style bottom and a halter top, It was cheap, comfortable and bulge-friendly, so I bought it. When I got home I read the label which said "Material may become transparent in water". I just have to learn to breaststroke in the sand.

Some Days are Diamonds

"That phone call home"

JoJo & Longnose

(with acknowledgements & apologies to John Denver)

Well you ask, how I’ve been, here without you,

I’d like to say, I’ve been hungry…….but I’m not,

‘Cause you see, old FL, produces porridge,

In a flamin’, great big stainless, steel pot!


Some days are diamonds, some days are stones,

Sometimes the tent poles, won’t stand up alone,

Sometimes the bus vent, blows cool air on my dome,

Some days are diamonds, some days are stones.

Now the bus, it can take, all we give it,

Rocky rivers, unseen chasms, abound,

But our driver, knows the pitfalls, of Gibb River,

And he takes it, at more than twice, the speed of sound!


So you see, from the wild, Penticost River,

To the lonely, darkened caves, of Mimbi,

More & more, I can see, there’s a danger,

Of falling victim, to a rental, company!


But this trip, is a mind-, bending business,

Lots of culture, lots of kinship, & wine,

Lots of art, lots of lures, for the traveller,

Which will surely, see our patrons, serving time! .


Now I look, at my face, in the mirror,

More & more, it’s a stranger, to me,

More & more, I can see, there’s a danger,

Of becoming, just another, bottle tree!

Bird List

spotted by Kimberley Safari Members, List compiled by Roy June 2001

Orange-footed Scrubfowl

Darter (has spear gun and flippers)

Little Pied Cormorant (has flippers)

Little Black Cormorant

Plumed Whistling-Duck

Green Pygmy Goose

White-browed Crake

White-faced Heron (has a spear)

Nankeen Night Heron

Black Bittern

Little Egret

Intermediate Egret

Straw Necked Ibis (sickle bird)

White Ibis

Jabiru (Black-necked Stork)

Brolga (shall we dance?)

Bustard (watch the spelling!)

Australian Pratincole

Comb-crested Jacana (twinkle toes, dances on water lilies)

Sooty Oyster Catcher

Masked Lapwing (spur-wing plover)

Black-fronted Dotterel

Black-shouldered Kite

Square-tailed Kite

Black-breasted Buzzard

Black Kite (lots of)

Whistling Kite

Brahminy Kite

White-bellied Sea-Eagle

Wedge-tailed Eagle

Little Eagle

Black Falcon

Brown Falcon

Peaceful Dove

Diamond Dove

Bar-shouldered Dove

Spinifex Pigeon (with antenna)

White-quilled Rock-Pigeon

Red-tailed Black Cockatoo (flying bolt cutter)


Little Corella

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

Red-collared Lorikeet

Red-winged Parrot


Southern Boobook Owl (heard but not seen)

Barking Owl (heard and seen)

Tawny Frogmouth

Azure Kingfisher

Sacred Kingfisher

Blue-winged Kookaburra

Rainbow Bee-eater

Varied Sittella

Purple-crowned Fairy-wren

Striated Pardalote (Red spot in front of eye instead of orange)

Blue-faced Honeyeater

White-gaped Honeyeater

Yellow-tinted Honeyeater

Brown Honeyeater

Grey-crowned Babbler

White-browed Robin

Willy Wagtail

Restless Flycatcher

Rufous Whistler

Magpie Lark

Spangled Drongo


Great Bowerbird (and bower)

Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike

White-breasted Woodswallow

Black-faced Woodswallow

Pied Butcherbird


Torresian Crow

Double-barred Finch

Zebra Finch

Crimson Finch

Star Finch

Mistletoe Bird

Kimberley Basic Recommended Reading

From Ian Morris

"A Black Civilisation" Lloyd W. Warner

Follow-upA Social Study of an Australian Tribe Gloucester, Mass. Peter Smith 1969

"The War Years of Kalumburu" (no details available) Written by a Pallentine Monk during & after the 2nd WW

"Traditional Aboriginal Bush medicines" Conservation Commission of the NT. Darwin 1993 NT Govt Printer

"The Kimberley: Horizons of Stone" Alasdair McGregor & Quenton Chester, Hodder & Stroughton 1992

"Kakadu Man: Bill Neidjie" Big Bill Neidjie, Stephen Davis, Allan Fox 1985\

"The Forrest River Massacres" Neville Green, Freemantle Arts Centre Press

"Kakadu National Park", Ian Morris, Steve Parrish Publications.

Tie Your Kingswood to a Boab Tree

Maureen Bryden

(En route Ian Morris related the story of when as a young man he had been caught in a flood when driving his uncle's Holden Kingswood at

Saddle Creek and this prompted my thoughts for the chorus, sung to the tune of Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round an Old Oak Tree, the verse is


I'm on a Toyota bus with Go Bush Safari

Led by FL around the Kimberley

With Uncle Longnose, IG, as the learned guide

Also Galkila, never far from his side

I've gained and lost 11/2 hours in time

Flown over the Argyle Diamond Mine

Gaped in awe above the Bungle Bungle

Beehive shapes below in a rocky jungle.

One last river to cross for the day

As the sun was seen fast slipping away

Our 4WD crossed in a rock and roll plunge

Then FL gunned the bus forth with a thrusting lunge.


Hang your Holden Kingswood from a Boab tree

if you still want me, don't want to set me free

If I don't see a Kingswood hanging from a Boab tree

I'll go back to Cape Leveque, watch the sunset

until you send for me, if I don't see your

Kingswood hanging from a Boab tree.

Soon came the order to abandon bus

Carried out by all with minimum fuss

Into water thigh deep to take the strain

As a tyre dug down into the Pentecost drain.

It was evident we had to abandon the ride

On sharp stoned all stumbled to the other side

Other 4WD's came out of the gathering night

After people unseen had observed our plight.

I've rocked and bumped along the Gibb River Road

Down myriad dips over which flood waters flowed

Over 3 days, hundreds of kilometres, and then

The straight run into Derby, on bitumen.


Red dust, red dust up my nose,

In my hair and in my clothes.

Behind me stories of cold and hot fire

and numerous lessons on how to change a tyre.

Another flight, this one to Cape Leveque,

Over azure sea with island fleck.

For two days to enjoy this wonderful site,

Dispense with the tent, have a bed for the night.

Once more bogged, this time on a mudflat,

The return hour planned to beat the tide back.

Animal tracks in the sand, mud crabs to spy,

Inspection of middens from a time gone by.


Going along at a leisurely pace

This is the life, no need to race,

Except when FL heads for a caravan park

To get the mob in to erect tents before dark.

I've climbed up over rocks for a beautiful view

With torchlight walked a tunnel a creek flows through

On a sandbank seen crocs lined up in the sun

and colourful gorges through which wild rivers run.

At Fitzroy Crossing I was given a new skin

Resulting in large numbers of unknown kin.

There are strange names in my head all a-jumble

and my poor tangled tied tongue tries to untangle.

So, hang your Holden Kingswood from a Boab tree

say you still want me, please don't set me free

I want to see your Kingswood on that Boab tree

I don't want to forget about us, let me get of this bus

with you I want to be, so please hang your

Holden Kingswood from a Boab tree.


Concert Song.

[to the tune of "Put another nickel in ...."]

Gwenda Brook , Beres Lindsay

When we came up Darwin way

We were happy, blithe and gay.

We'll need carrying away

From Go Bush Go Bush Go Bush

South to Katherine, then turn right,

River boat trip, Bungles flight,

Dancing with the ghurkas night

At Go Bush etc.


with hordes of women,

we can endure, but not the nasty shock

of frogs in our ablution block ! [scream]

Here's another National Park,

Putting tents up in the dark,

Listening for the owls that bark

At Go Bush etc.

Wet cozzies

and lots of mozzies

we can survive - in fact it's quite a cinch,

compared with looking for the Gouldian finch!!!--

So o o o o

You won't need a mobile phone,

You can send your lap-top home,

All you need's an F.L. clone

To Go Bush, Go Bush, Go Bush.

The Young Bloke

This little character comes from Galiwinku (Elcho Island) in NE Arnhem Land) and he calls himself a Yolngu (Aboriginal person) and he calls you a Balanda (derived from 'Hollander' and passed down by the Macassan fishermen to northern Australia).

His skin is Gudjuk, which means that all his brothers are also Gudjuk (including Galarrwuy Yunipinggu) and all his sisters are Gutjan. His mother is Galikali (always) because a person gets their skin (malk) from their mother. Because of his malk, he is related to every other Yolngu in Arnhem Land.

His clan is Gumatj which means his surname is Yunipinggu (famous bunch of ratbags - 2 members have been made Australian of the Year - which only means that they have tormented society long enough to be recognized !! (apologies to FL). Their clan estate takes in the town of Nhulunbuy on the Gove Peninsula as well as the nearby Yolngu community of Yirrkala.

The Gumatj Clan are known as the 'crocodile people' and they were consulted by the Gagudju before the Crocodile Hotel was constructed. The Gumatj have also conducted a very successful and professional Aboriginal park ranger service (the only one of its kind in Australia) for more than 10 years in NE Arnhem Land. It is called Dhimurru (NE wind).

His mother's clan is Golumala (the Levite clan that I told you about on the bus). They are also saltwater people whose country lies west of the Gumatj land near Cape Wilberforce - beautiful country with one small community on the coast. The clan emblems include the Barracouda, the Bush Stone Curlew, the Torresian Crow and the Frill-necked Lizard.

He is nine years old and is hoping to be 10. His sister's name is Daypaniny and she is 5 and will one day ruin a perfectly good Go Bush Safari. Mum works for the Arnhem Land Progress Assn. The family presently lives in Darwin since the death of the family patriarch, Galkila's maternal grandfather (an amazing bloke!). Galkila is going to be like his grandfather.

His home town is Galiwinku (Elcho Island) off the coast of NE Arnhem Land. Almost 2,000 Yolngu people live there and the surrounding area where there are many outstations (homeland centres).

He is of the Yirritja moiety because his father is Yirritja (patrilineal inheritance) and he is Gudjuk because his mother is Galikali (matrilineal inheritance). He is an owner of his father's clan land (Yirritja land) and a manager of his mothers clan land (Dhuwa land). That means that when his mother's people hold ceremonies, he has to be there, and when his own clan holds ceremonies, the Golumala have to attend or else the stories, songs and dances are incomplete. Chances are that he will marry someone (right skin) from his mother's clan because an inter-clan marriage alliance is already established.

Summary of Yolgnu Malks (Skins)

as explained by ULN

Yirritja skins are as follows:


Gudjuk Gutjan (Bambuynga)

Ngarritj Ngarritjan

Bangardi Bangarditjan

Burlany (Ian) Burlanydjan

Godjuk (Galkila) Gutjan (Bambuynga)

The whole thing repeats itself after 4 generations. Yirritja clans are made up of these skins.

Dhuwa kins are as follows:


Wamut (FL) Wamuttjan

Balang (Andrés) Bilinydjan

Gamarrang Gamanydjan

Burralang Galikali (Guwattitti)

A Gudjuk's first choice (ideal) marriage partner is Wamuttjan, who will come from a Dhuwa clan. His second choice is Gamanydjan.

The Silver Crested Zipper Bird.

[commonly known as the Zipper]

Marion Armstrong

Ian Morris confirms that this bird has as extensive habitat, but is mostly found in campgrounds where many tents are assembled.

The Barking Owls must wonder

If they hear aright

When the zippers start a-calling

In the middle of the night

It seems that lots of folks

Respond to the zipper's call

Crunching round the campground

Waking one and all


There are some folks who hear

The zipper'. call with dread

They do mot rise but lie til light

Uneasily in their bed


The crunching stops and the zippers sound

Deep quiet descends once more

The silence broken only by

The odd deep throated snore

You my friends could be the ones

To sight this wily bird

The one whose never, never seen

But often, often heard.

The One with No Fear

Ross and Margery Street

Introduction: W the road train that was staying near the campsite for a few days.

It was called "Charisma" and carried the licence plate "CLAW". Well, we got talking to the driver, undoubtedly called Claw because he had only two digits on one hand. His taste in music was quite broad; he liked both Country and Western . . . as long as they were sung by Slim Dusty. With Claw in mind, we offer our Apologies to Slim Dusty

To the tune of "The Pub with No Beer"


(to be learned and sung by all after each verse)

Oh it's awesome away, from your kinfolk and all,

By the campfire at night, where the nice dingos howl.

But there's nothing so awesome, torrid and queer,

To be led around Oz by the One with No Fear.

Verse 1

Our Ian is anxious for the next town to come,

To get that Iced Coffee on the buds of his tongue.

Our little black buddy, has the time of his life,

With twenty grandparents, who he keeps from strife.

Verse 2

John plummets along, through ditches and streams.

We lose bits and pieces, our bus hangs by seams.

Jo-Jo to the rescue, as strong as an ox,

Is able to fix it, that smart Fraser fox.

Verse 3

As Jenn and her brother please palate and tum,

There's a far-away look, as we give our up thumb.

With Jenn now a driver, she eats all our dust.

We all can agree-ee, this trip was a must.


Wendell Berry

(read by Marion Armstrong)

When despair for the world grows in me

And I wake at the least sound

In fear of what my life and my children's lives may be

I go and lie down where the wood drake

Rests in his beauty on the water,

and the great heron feeds.

I come into the presence of wild things

Who do not tax their lives with forethought of grid.

I come into the presence of still water

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

Waiting for their light. For a time

I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.


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