Australia Indigenous Studies January 21st

Waking up at the Jumbuck Motel, in Katanning, Western Austrailia, we hopped on our “trusty” dingo bus, and headed to the Mirribank mission (formerly known as the Carrolup mission), which in the past was a mission that some of the children of the stolen generation was taken. Two Aboriginal elders, Les Eades and Angus Wallum, greeted us upon our arrival. Les was the chairperson of the southern aboriginal corporation and takes care of the mission currently, however, was not part of the stolen generation himself. Angus had lived on the mission from ages 5 to 15, and had many stories to tell of his childhood. We toured the mission, and Les’ nephew Wayne allowed us to listen to the authentic sound of the didgeridoo as well as learn more about the history of the instrument.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After seeing the mission, we were given the opportunity to have lunch with Les and Angus to hear even more stories. After lunch, we headed to the Katanning art gallery, where we saw some of the original pieces of artwork that the children at Carrolup had created in their time on the mission. This was particularly interesting, for we had previously discussed these paintings with Jon Stanton, and were able to see the exact pieces that he talked about. We were all surprised to see how talented all of children had been; admiring the very advanced art techniques of Angus’ childhood peers.

We then embarked on what we thought would be approximately a three hour drive. Trouble arose when we stopped an hour away from our destination for a quick gas stop to refuel our precious Dingo bus. However, this simply planned bus stop turned into problematic situation when our bus wouldn’t start. After four hours of killing time by throwing pebbles, playing cards, dancing, and observing ant hills, our bus driver Joe was able to temporarily fix the starter and send us back on our journey for Hyden.

Upon our arrival, we were overly eager to hop right in our beds until our next mishap: the attack of the flying grasshoppers. One by one, motel doors flung open and girls ran from their rooms shrieking hysterically. Once the bugs were removed and under control, we finally settled into the oasis that is Hyden Motel.

The next morning we awoke to find ourselves a new and improved trusty Dingo bus. After some schedule changes, our first stop involved a salty dip, in the “lake magic” which contains 6 times more salt than the ocean, and has a similar effect of the dead sea. Michael Ward, then was able to take us to see, hippos yawn, wave rock, the “humps” and Mulka’s cave; all of which have historical and cultural significance for the aboriginal people in the area. During our tour, we witnessed a red wallaby hopping across the bush, which is fitting since we are dubbed the “wallaby group!” When we finally returned to the Hyden motel, Michael made us a feast of yabbies (a form of prawns), roasted kangaroo, two giant bags of hot chips, and some fresh salad- just for Andrea, our beloved vegan!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday morning, we began our journey to Northam and then back to Perth. Despite the 40 degree celsius weather and malfunctioning air conditioner in the bus (we wish we were kidding), we made it to Northam to meet Patty, Mark, and Trevor Davis (three Aboriginal elders). Patty took the girls to see an Aboriginal birthing site, while the boys learned about an initiation site. In Aboriginal culture, they separate “women’s business” and “men’s business,” which is why we split into two groups. After Trevor showed us decorated boomerangs, shields, and other artifacts, he gave us all a chance to try throwing an authentic boomerang. After a quick ice cream stop on our way back to Perth, we then experienced an unexpected traffic jam due to a bush fire along the road. We are now back at the Criterion Hotel, missing our favorite bus driver Joe, and exciting for our last few days in Perth!

 

-Andrea Schultz, Rebecca Stanley, Megan Radigan, Sarah Schmer, and Gillian Mulhere.

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2 Comments

  1. Posted April 27, 2012 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Sounds like even through all the mishaps, an awesome time was had, thanks for sharing the experience it was an amusing read, I understand the attack of the grasshoppers, as I have been in a similar situation, so I had a good chuckle at that.

  2. Posted June 20, 2012 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Mulka caves are about 20 minutes by car from Hyden town. The road to the caves is not sealed but pretty good. The cave itself is quite unremarkable and looks like an upside down saucer. I guess it must be the legend that makes the cave famous

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