I attended the Yaama Ngunna Baaka Corroboree Festival, from 28 September to 2 October, in western NSW. This was by bus from Sydney to Walgett, Brewarrina, Bourke, Wilcannia and Menindee Lakes, then train from Dubbo to Sydney. Mat Ward produced a detailed blog of the trip, there is the Water for the Rivers Facebook Page,
so I will just provide a few reflections of my own.
Sometimes you see a photo, and think: that is not real: it was staged: they added the smoke and colored lights. Well
Mark Merritt's photo of the Corroboree at Wilcannia looks too magical to be real, but I am one of those dots around the circle: that is what it looked like. Leaving early, crossing the old lift bridge over the river to the campsite, I looked back and the moon had risen directly over the ring, the smoke hung low.
While I have written about the problems of telecommunications, and e-learning in regional Australia, this was an academic exercise conducted at a distance. There were two buses, two trucks for supplies, and a convoy of cars. It is rare for me to travel long distances with a large party, and at times voices were raised. But mostly it all worked out.
One highlight were the Brewarrina Fish Traps (Baiame’s Ngunnhu), with a tour by staff from the Brewarrina Aboriginal Cultural Museum. The fist traps may be the oldest existing human made structure.
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Bruce Shillingsworth 2019.