Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.



Monday, 9 December 2019

Walking on country - Kakadu - Northern Territory - Half lap - Part 9

I can walk on your country, I can listen and hear your stories, I can learn about plants and see the trees, birds, flowers, animals, I can study your ancient rock art, I can walk along your paths, I can sit under a tree and be still and feel the breeze on me, but I cannot really know your deep connection to your country, your cultural heritage, and what it means to you. But I, as a non-aboriginal "Balanda" can try. 

For aboriginal people "country" is not only the landscape, but the rich interconnection between the land and the people - they are inseparable.

 Hi everyone, and welcome back to my half lap of Australia, part 9. This week we leave Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory, and travel via the Arnhem Highway to Kakadu National Park - about 150kms to the entrance of the park from Darwin.  

As the sign says, this is Aboriginal land, so please be respectful of their culture.  Australian law recognises traditional Aboriginal ownership.

Here is a couple of maps to orientate yourself.

Kakadu is a jointly managed Commonwealth Reserve, covering 20,000 square kilometres in area, and listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in recognition of its natural and living cultural landscape. Aboriginal people have inhabited the Kakadu area continuously for more than 65,000 years. The name "Kakadu" comes from the Gagudju aboriginal language. 

We arrived at the park entrance at about 10am, and stopped to read the very interesting interpretive signage at the information bay.  A parks pass is required to visit Kakadu, but this can be purchased on-line or at the Jabiru information centre and other places. 

Our land has a big story. Sometimes we tell a little bit at a time. Come and hear our stories, see our land. A little bit might stay in your hearts.  Jacob Nayinggul, Manilakarr clan. 

I hope through my pictures I can share some of what Kakadu is. 
 But first a warning! 

We arrived at our first destination, the small township of Jabiru, just before 12 noon and booked into the Kakadu Lodge Caravan Park. We were able to select our own site, under a big shady tree, which we hoped would give us afternoon shade.  The caravan park has a swimming pool, which we took advantage of several times during our stay. We realised later in the day that we needed to protect ourselves from mosquitoes in the evening! 

After lunch we drove to the Information Centre where there are some very interesting displays particularly about "country" and the indigenous people. Also wildflower identical panels and resource books. We also collected information about things to do in the area, and the free ranger guided walks that we can join. There is a great range of ranger talks at various times and it is really worth joining at least one of them. 

The township of Jabiru was originally built in 1982 as a closed town to house the community involved in the Ranger Uranium Mine eight kilometers away. Ranger's owners Energy Resources of Australia stopped mining more than six yeas ago and have been processing uranium stockpiles since, due to finish in 2021.

Since the mine's closure Jabiru has been able to be sustained as a tourism township for Kakadu, but has been under threat of closure. They were recently given a lifeline with a promise of funding from the Federal Government to help them transition into a tourism and regional service centre for the West Arnhem region.

The next morning we joined the Burrungkuy rock art walk and talk with Ranger Lauren. She was very knowledgeable about the country, dream-time stories, plants and rock art, having learnt from traditional owners. She says white man looks at things more scientifically. 

Burrungkuy (also known as Nourlangie) is the Kundjeyhmi name for the upper section of Burrunkuy. A 1.5km circular walk takes you past several rock art sites.  There are several walks of varying lengths in the area. Make sure you follow the usual recommendations for remote walking. (eg telling someone where you are going, wear a hat and good walking boots, and plenty of water).

The local kapok trees are natural indicators - when flowering the crocodiles are mating, when they have green fruit the crocodiles are laying their eggs, and hatching when the dried fruit split open.   

You can see the kapok in the bottom right hand corner of this collage. Top left is one of the Acacia wattles.

We also stopped to look at rock art. I am not sure about photographing rock art, as I was told years ago that it is not permitted due to cultural reasons. I asked if it was permitted and I was told it was ok, but I am really not sure if I am comfortable about sharing it.  However I have a small share below. 

There are many rock art sites in Kakadu. With paintings up to 20,000 years old, this is one of the longest historical records of any group of people in the world.

The galleries are often protected under rock overhangs as you can see below. It was interesting to learn that repainting images is a traditional practise, and some of the galleries were repainted in 1964.

The walk wasn't long or difficult, but there were some steep sections. 

After this we visited the Anbangbany Billabong. My son likes to visit places that have been used in movies, and this billabong was used for a scene in Crocodile Dundee. There is a two and a half kilometre walking path around the billabong, but we only went a short way. Unfortunately the water levels were low, due to a poor summer wet season, but there were a number of water birds, including the Jabiru. And of course the usual croc awareness signs!

With thanks to my husband for the bird photos. At the top are a pair of bee-eaters and a jabiru.  With a closer view of the bee-eaters and jabiru below. The female bee-eater is the one on the right with a shorter tail feather.

Later in the afternoon we joined the Ubirr ranger walk and talk. 
On the way we stopped at Cahills crossing over the East Alligator River. This crossing is the access into Arnhem Land (permits required from Northern Land Council).
There was quite a line up of vehicles waiting for the tide in the river to go down so they could cross, along with many crocodiles hoping for a quick meal perhaps? Definitely no swimming!  

Can you see where I have circled in this picture? - no it is not a log - that is a crocodile laying in wait at the crossing!  

We then continued to Ubirr where the ranger walk and talk was leaving from at 4.10pm. I am glad it wasn't any earlier as it was still hot. The ranger, Luke, was very knowledgeable and took us through woodlands, into rock art sites, and finally to the Ubirr lookout overlooking the flood plains, where a scene from Crocodile Dundee, part 1, was filmed.  
This collage gives you a bit of an idea - not quite lined up - sorry.

 And some more views, in the center our guide, a native hibiscus, and a rock wallaby.
 We waited for the sunset, but didn't stay too long as I didn't want to walk down the rocky path in the dark. 
A couple of images from one of the rock art sites. The top painting is of a Thylacine, which declined in population on the mainland over 4,000 years ago when dingoes came to Australia. They believe this painting is therefore over 4,000 years old. 
The other painting you see below it is a painting of a fish, part of a larger painting showing a larder of fish, turtle, kangaroos and other animals.
Other things we learned included -
The stalk of Manyirrk grasses can be used to make paint brushes. 
Pandanas leaves are used to make baskets. 
Ironwood is a very hard wood used for tool making, digging sticks, and womeras (throwing stick). Leaves used for smoking ceremonies. But the wood is noxious when burnt. 
Woolly-butt tree - when it flowers is is time to burn the land, it is a good tree for making didgeridoos.  
The indigenous people had a complicated clan system that they follow strictly to keep the blood lines strong. 

It was here at the Ubirr lookout that Luke introduced us to the book, writing and aboriginal philosophy and law about looking after country, sustainability and conserving resources, Gagudju Man by Kakadu elder Bill Neidjie. Later I was able to buy a copy. 

When I opened it, it fell open to this page:

I feel it with my body,
with my blood,
Feeling all these trees,
all this country.
When this wind blow you feel it.
Same for country,
You feel it.
You can look.
But feeling...
that make you.  

It is a powerful book.

I hope you have enjoyed today's post - the first of two about Kakadu. Next time we move to Yellow Waters and go on another boat cruise on a Billabong. 
More information:
Australian Government: Kakadu Rock Art
Parks Australia - Kakadu Rock Art 
Creative Spirits - Aboriginal Rock Art 
 Aiatsis-Gagadju Man
Parks Australia - Anbangbang
Thank you so much for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week. 

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Hello there! I love reading your comments. If you scroll down to the bottom you can comment too! I would love to hear from you.

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Getting even CLOSER to the wildlife - Cooraboree Billabong, Northern Territory - half lap - Part 8

Hi everyone, I promised last post when we were at the Territory Wildlife Park to get you even closer to the wildlife this week, so here we are, at the three purple circles on the left and centre of the map below, in the Northern Territory of Australia on our mid year half lap of Australia. 

To get even closer to the wildlife, actually in the wild, not in a park, we took a day trip out to Corroboree Billabong for a one and a half hour wetland cruise. 105 kilometres from Darwin (allow about 90 minutes driving time), we left our caravan park in Darwin before 8am to get to the billabong on time for our 10am cruise. This is the closest wetland cruise available to visitors from Darwin and it is well worth the drive and the cost. ($55 for adults August 2019).  I highly recommend this cruise.  Bookings essential.

Head out along the Arnhem Highway south of Darwin towards Kakadu National Park. I recommend you bypass the Jumping Crocodile cruise at Adelaide River. Whilst this is very popular with tourists, and I haven't actually been on this cruise, for me it is orchestrated. I would rather see the crocodiles in their natural environment not jumping up to catch fresh meat hung over the side of the boat.

I think he is smiling at me.....  Do you know the song "Never smile at a crocodile, don't be taken in by his welcome grin...."

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Getting close to the wildlife - Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia - Half Lap, Part 7

Hi everyone, welcome to Part 7 of my half lap of Australia. Last week you might remember we arrived in Darwin, the capital city of Northern Territory in Australia's north, and explored some of Darwin's war history

 Darwin is a big city, but there are plenty of opportunities to see wildlife not far out of Darwin.  Here is a map to show you where we are heading to, the places circled.

 First off, the Territory Wildlife Park. 45 kilometres south of Darwin (the purple circle in the left of the map), this is a fabulous place to get close to wildlife, so I suggest arrive early and plan a full day excursion. (Opening times 9am - 5pm, entry fees, and concession rates, apply).  

Monday, 11 November 2019

Darwin remembers, Northern Territory, Australia - Half lap, Part 6

Hi everyone, and welcome back to my Half Lap of Australia. A couple of weeks ago we took a "quick" side trip to Uluru in central Australia, but now we are back on the road and heading from our last stop, Litchfield National Park, up to Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory. 

Here is the map to get you orientated. Darwin is up on the north coast, and is the most northern capital of the Australian mainland. 

Darwin is only about 115km from our last stop, Litchfield, so it was an easy drive, and we arrived at the caravan park late morning. 

Today, 11 November, is Remembrance Day in Australia and other Allied Nations, when we remember our fallen - United Kingdom, New Zealand, United States, Canada, Belgium, France, and the Cayman Islands. 

Remembrance Day - The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month

At 11 am on 11 November 1918 the guns on the Western Front in Europe fell silent after more than four years of continuous World War 1 warfare.  In November the Germans called for an armistice (suspension of fighting) in order to secure a peace settlement. They accepted Allied terms that amounted to unconditional surrender. 
The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month attained a special significance in the post-war years. The moment when hostilities ceased on the Western Front became universally associated with the remembrance of those who had died in the war.  On the first anniversary of the armistice in 1919 two minutes' silence was instituted as part of the main commemorative ceremony at the new Cenotaph in London.
After the end of the Second World War, the Australian and British governments changed the name to Remembrance Day. Australians observe one minute's silence at 11 am on 11 November each year to remember those who died or suffered for Australia's cause in all wars and armed conflicts. 

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

   by John McCrae, May 1915
You can learn more about Remembrance Day and the significance of the poppy here -
Thank you for stopping by today. Remembrance Day is commemorated in Australia, United Kingdom, New Zealand, United States, Canada, Belgium, France, and the Cayman Islands. However, We have all be affected in one way or another by war, either directly, or through family members or friends. 

Do you observe Remembrance Day or similar in your country? Who will you be remembering this Remembrance Day?  

Monday, 4 November 2019

Blueberry pancakes

Sadly no blog post today, just a plate of blueberry pancakes. I hope to be back next week once I have kicked this latest cold-flu. We've had a bad year for colds this year.

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Uluru - Australia's Heart

Hi everyone, today I am going to take a little side-trip from my Half Lap of Australia.
and take you to the beating heart of Australia, Uluru in Central Australia. 

Monday, 21 October 2019

Litchfield National Park, Northern Territory - half lap of Australia, Part 5

Hi everyone, this week we continue north from Katherine and Adelaide River which we visited on my last blog post about the Northern Territory leg of our 13,329 kilometre half lap of Australia.  

Our next stop was town of Batchelor and the Litchfield National Park in the top end of the Northern Territory.  It was only a relatively short drive from Katherine, 287 kilometres, and even with our stop at Adelaide River, we arrived around 1pm. 

The town of Batchelor is about 97 kilometres from Darwin and about 20 kilometres from the edge of the Litchfield National Park. We booked into the Litchfield Tourist Park which is located 14 kilometres from Batchelor and only about 4 kilometres from the entrance to the National Park. You can also camp at one of the bush camp sites in Litchfield, however these don't have power and only limited facilities.  We were more than happy to pay a little extra for power, shade, facilities and swimming pool. They also have a restaurant.

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Hunting for wild orchids, Western Australia

It seems to be a shame to miss the wild orchid season while I keep you in the Northern Territory on my half lap of Australia so for this week I am going to drag you away from my travels and back to the south west of Western Australia where the wildflowers are blooming. If you missed it, I did share a few local wildflowers back in September.

Monday, 7 October 2019

Katherine & Adelaide River, Northern Territory - Half Lap of Australia, Part 4

Hi everyone, and welcome to Part 4 of my Half Lap of Australia. 
This week we will travel from Western Australia into the Northern Territory, and visit Katherine and Adelaide River on our way to Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory. 

We had not visited this part of the Northern Territory before, so this is all new territory to us. You can see a rough map of our trip through the Northern Territory on the map below, the main locations showing with a red dot or red print. 

Leaving Lake Argyle and Kununurra (last week's blog post) we crossed the border into the Northern Territory 63 kilometres from Kununurra. From there our trip takes us to Katherine, Adelaide River, Litchfield National Park, Darwin, Kakadu National Park, Mataranka, Daly Waters, Karly Karlu (Devil's Marbles), down to Alice Springs in central Australia, before reaching the Northern Territory/South Australian border. 

We left Lake Argyle at around 6.00am which incidentally is 7.30am Northern Territory time. We had lost and hour and a half crossing the border. The time difference and that we had 510 kilometres to travel today to our next stopping place, Katherine, was the reason for the early start. Also we were travelling over new ground, so there were gong to be places we wanted to stop and look at. My diary records that the sun was already "a burning red ball above the horizon, lighting up the rocks red and shimmery across the long grass." 

Monday, 30 September 2019

Kununurra and Lake Argyle, Western Australia - Half lap of Australia, Part 3

Hi everyone, welcome back to my half lap of Australia. 
Last week I brought you up the coast of Western Australia free camping 3,513 kilometres (2,183 miles) from Perth to Kununurra.and the Kimberley.

This week we are in Kununurra and Lake Argyle right up at the top of Western Australia near the Northern Territory border. You can see Kununurra on this map. 

 We had been to Kununurra twice before, in 2009 and 2016 and we chose to stay again at the Discovery Holiday Park Lake Kununurra which as the name implies, is on the shores of the Lake.  Very strangely, and I don't know why, I don't seem to have a photo of our caravan site in Kununurra, so here is a picture of the Lake. It is a shady caravan park with good amenities, close to town.

Monday, 23 September 2019

Half Lap of Australia - Part 2 - Free camp Perth to Kununurra

Hi everyone, welcome back to my half lap of Australia. 

A couple of weeks ago I brought you the first installment - a brief overview of our recent trip through Western Australia, Northern Territory and South Australia - a half lap of our Australian continent.  

This week I am taking you up the coast from our home 2 hours south of Perth to Kununurra - a distance of approx 3,513 kilometres (2,183 miles) - the green line following the North West Coastal and the Great Northern Highway on the map opposite, and our camps marked with a red line.

It's a long way and you need to allow about 6 days to do this distance comfortably. And incredibly you can free camp all the way! 

Here is a sample of a great downloadable map from Main Roads Western Australia to help you plan your trip, outlining the designated 24 hour camp sites, and rest areas and what facilities they have ie toilets 

Not all road side rest areas are equal - so it pays to do your research and work out how far you want to travel each day and where you want to stop.  

Please note: If you pull into a designated "truck bay" you need to ensure you have left room for road trains, some of which have 3 trailers and are over 54 metres long. Long haulage truck drivers rely on these truck bays and don't take kindly to caravaners taking over their overnight stops. 


Sunday, 15 September 2019

September wildflowers in Western Australia

I love September because it is the time for wildflowers in my corner of the world - the south west of Western Australia. I always say there is always something flowering in the Australia bush, which is true, but in spring in September the bush really comes alive with colour and an array of unique wildflowers found nowhere else in the world. 

I know I promised last week to bring you more of my recent travels - half lap of Australia, but because we have been on three wildflower short walks this past week in my area, I just had to share. 

Opposite is Western Australia's floral emblem -  the green and red Mangles Kangaroo Paw - Anigozanthos manglesii

Monday, 9 September 2019

Half lap of Australia

Hi everyone! I'm back! If you are wondering where I have been the last couple of months we have been travelling a half lap of Australia - starting in the south west corner of Western Australia, north up along the Western Australian coast to Kununurra, across into the Northern Territory to Darwin at the top of Australia, around Kakadu National Park, then down the centre to Alice Springs and Coober Pedy in the dry centre, to the south of the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia, before returning home across the Nullarbor -  13,329 kilometers in 7 weeks and 3 days, 16 caravan parks and 11 free camps. Phew!  You can see a rough idea of our trek on this map which I have marked in red.

Monday, 5 August 2019

The Boab - Western Australian icon

The Boab - Adansonia gregorii - icon of the Kimberley, Western Australia 

See more at: The Boab Tree - blog from 2016

Thank you so much for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week. 

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Hello there! I love reading your comments. If you scroll down to the bottom you can comment too! I would love to hear from you.