A Guided Tour of Australia’s Blue Mountains Follows Ancient Aboriginal Songlines

Hidden on the threshold of a cliff in Australia’s Blue Mountains, tucked away in the woods, a wallaby has been painstakingly carved into the rock. It’s historical, estimated to be at least 7,000 years vintage, and represents the infant Rainbow Serpent—a writer god, one of the key figures in Aboriginal Australian beliefs. Each Aboriginal extended family envisions these gods in a distinctive shape, and the wallaby is common to the Darug people, who lived in these mountains.

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Pre-colonization Aboriginal culture is a concept to have lasted more than 60,000 years in Australia, from prehistory to the overdue 1700s whilst European settlers moved in, forcing a way of life exchange. The Australian Museum estimates that there were approximately 750,000 human beings on the continent speaking more or less seven-hundred different language dialects before Europeans arrived. The tribes have been nomadic, transferring from one hunting ground to the subsequent, following seasonal versions and shielding fragile ecosystems from overuse.

“Their way of life is the complete opposite of the contemporary way of existence in every component,” Evan Yanna Muru, an Aboriginal Australian and owner of Blue Mountains Walkabout excursion agency, informed Smithsonian.Com. Yanna Muru leads guests on complete-day walkabouts all through the Blue Mountains, sharing know-how about the lifestyle and how pre-colonization individuals of the Darug clan lived inside the area.

Each of Yanna Muru’s walkabouts observes sacred songlines—the call was given to the paths that Aboriginal culture says creation gods, like the Rainbow Serpent, took thru Australia. Walkabouts themselves are sacred things, too; it changed into a proper passage for young Aboriginal men to live by myself inside the barren region for up to 6 months to study the expertise they wanted for the next section of their lives, following sacred songlines on their paths.

Through his walkabouts, Yanna Muru strives to teach visitors a part of the Lore of the Dreaming or part of the collective expertise of Aboriginal elders. He leads contributors through the mountains, alongside a partial songline that follows the beginning of the toddler Rainbow Serpent (depicted inside the aforementioned wallaby carving) and ends close to a waterfall he refers to as the “womb of the Earth Mother”—because the mother Rainbow Serpent became chargeable for growing lakes, rivers and waterfalls. On the way, visitors study bush tucker, local ingredients to the Australian wasteland that the Aboriginal population survived on—like wild fig and yams—and medicinal vegetation, which includes the leaves of the lemon-scented tea tree that furnished a form of natural deodorant, and mint and eucalyptus, which might be considered drugs supposed to sharpen your thoughts and ease signs and symptoms of infection. At one stop on the excursion, Yanna Muru shows how to create multi-colour paints from ochre within the surrounding rock and encourages everyone to paint their own interpretation of Aboriginal artwork onto leaves and themselves.

For Yanna Muru, the walkabouts are a manner to maintain and raise cognizance of an indigenous culture that is at risk of disappearing. Today, Aboriginal humans make up only 2% of Australia’s populace. The remaining full-blooded member of the Darug extended family died off within the late 1800s, after European settlers introduced smallpox, took their land, and killed many in conflicts. The more youthful technology with mixed Darug and European ancestry is looking to shield and revive the subculture—a hard venture in increasingly more current society. To emerge as absolutely recognized as Aboriginal through the clan elders, followers of the tradition want to go through an initiation ceremony, the info of which might be stored mystery till it certainly takes place. Today, Yanna Muru says, most effective about 10 percent of the network is deciding on to undergo the ritual.

“We want to alternate the method of coaching, or the knowledge will be misplaced,” he stated. “This [tour] is my way of converting the approach.” But, he says, “a day is only a taste, and you might not get sufficient knowledge in just at some point.” At the quiet of each walkabout, Yanna Muru sends guests home with giant notes on the Aboriginal way of life, and how to live the way of life; however, he cautions, “Knowledge is a stepping stone to awareness. It isn’t information until it is practiced.”

Jessica J. Underwood
Subtly charming explorer. Pop culture practitioner. Creator. Web guru. Food advocate. Typical travel maven. Zombie fanatic. Problem solver. Was quite successful at developing wooden tops in the aftermarket. A real dynamo when it comes to exporting glucose in Bethesda, MD. Had moderate success managing action figures in New York, NY. Set new standards for selling crayon art in Salisbury, MD. In 2009 I was getting my feet wet with sock monkeys for the underprivileged. Spoke at an international conference about merchandising toy elephants in Nigeria.