Monday, August 27, 2012

Gabarnmung Rock Shelter

'Spirits in the Stone' is a must watch documentary, as it's based here and explores some of the thousands of ancient Aboriginal cultural and rock art sites that have been recently discovered in the last few years in north Australia's remote Arnhem Land. In particular, it's a special focus on an ancient sandstone art gallery called Gabarnmung ('hole in the rock').  This site was only discovered in 2006 by chance, after a heilcopher noticed it when surveying the area.

Margaret Katherine at Gabarnmung


Gabarnmung of course, is just outside of Katherine, where I live, and so the video shows some of what makes this area so beautiful and so special.  It also shows the Jawoyn people and proves their existence 40,000 years before the Great Pyramid was raised making them the eldest culture in existence. The shelter is said to be over 45,000 years old and is now a protected and sarced site, so you won't see it by any other means. Only a handful of non-aboriginal people have ever been invited to see it. I recommend watching the video on this page to be able to view it.  Of course, both Nitmiluk and Kakadu National Parks have alot of other rock art sites also that are open to tourists.
Anyway the reason for this blog was that last week, Kenny Rodgers, the country singer, was here in Katherine visiting the site after Oprah Winfrey told him to visit while in the Northern Territory.  She of course visited it in 2010 and featured the documentary on her show and website.  Kenny visited the Nitmiluk Gorge and Jawoyn rock art sites, both major tourist attractions here, as well as Gabarnmung.  Apparently he turned down planned tours arranged for him in Darwin to do so.

Kenny Rodgers at Gabarnmung Caves - Katherine Times 22/08/2012

Click on this link to see video footage from when Oprah visited the area.
The Jawoyn people are the people of Katherine and the Katherine Gorge (Nitmiluk) area, in the same way Rangitāne are the people of the Manawatu/Wairarapa region of NZ.  So it's quite a big deal for me to think I am living among the worlds oldest known culture, it's people and lands.  Most of the land is still only accessible by helicopter today.  Something which I plan to do in my time here.

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