Ayres Rock, or Uluru, in the Northern Territory of Australia

Written By: Gary Wonning

Uluru (Ayres Rock) is one of Australia’s most recognizable natural icons. The world-renowned sandstone formation stands 1,142 feet high,2,831 ft above sea level, with most of its bulk below the ground, and measures almost 6 miles in circumference. Both Uluru and Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) have great cultural significance for the Traditional landowners, who lead walking tours to inform visitors about the local flora and fauna, bush foods and the dream time stories of the area.

As the bus rumbled to a stop at the base of the giant monolith, my intuition was telling me to leave my camera gear in the bus. I had come all this way, I wasn’t going up that rock without my camera, I wanted some photos. My guides did everything possible to keep me from taking my gear, but I took it anyway.

Although the local Aborigines discourage climbing “The Rock”, many still do. For those that do, the view at the top is well worth the long climb. For those that climb, the only assistance available is a waist high chain to grab on to as one makes his way up the sometimes almost vertical path.

It was an extremely difficult climb, my right shoulder wasn’t entirely healed from the motorcycle accident, I had little strength in my right arm, as a result I needed to stop and rest every few feet.

Climbing to the top, the view is spectacular. Making one’s way across the rim, the view is breathtaking, not only in the distance but also on the rock itself.

At the top of this giant monolith, can be seen several pits and circles that were carved from the rock itself that must have been used for some ancient ceremony.

I found the pit, Hilda, my psychic had told me about the previous autumn. I lay down in it and tried to meditate, but there was too much activity surrounding me to continue. However, knowing how the universe works, I probably accomplished what I needed to. Sometimes we just need to touch base with the past.

I did take several photos while there, however, when I returned home and developed the slides, every one of them was completely black. Should have listened to my gut.

One of Uluru’s most unique features is that it appears to change color as the different light strikes it at different times of the day and year, sunset is a particularly remarkable sight when it briefly glows red. Although rainfall is uncommon in this semi-arid area, during wet periods the rock acquires a silvery-gray color, with streaks of black algae forming on the areas that serve as channels for water flow.

Special viewing areas with road access and parking have been constructed to give tourists the best views of Uluru at dawn and dusk.

As we watched the glow of Ayres Rock fade into the sunset, it was time to find our campground only a short distance away. It was well after dark when we arrived and set up camp for the evening, soon steaks were grilling on the campfire.

Gary has been a writer/photographer for over thirty years. Specializing in nature and landscape photography, as well as studying native cultures.

His travels have taken him to most of the United States, as well as Australia, Belize, Egypt and the Canary Islands.

He has studied the Mayan culture of Central America as well as the aborigines of Australia. Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in various parts of the world.

He has published several books about his adventures.

For more information, please consult his website,www.journeysthrulife.com.

Your comments are welcome

The Aborigines Have Lost Their way

Written by: Gary Wonning

Alcoholism and drug abuse is a major problem among the Aborigines because they have lost their purpose in life. They have lived in the outback for thousands of years and know of no other way of life.

Their way of life is becoming not only unpopular but impossible as well. Regardless of how much the government helps them, for the most part, they are unable to adapt.

To the aborigine, life was all about survival, we are taught a work ethic in order to improve our lot and to make a better life. The aborigine knew no such thing, because of their extreme environment, their only focus was survival, they don’t understand and laugh at us for working so hard.

People say to them that it must be great to live off the land, their reply is “If you think it is so great, try it!”

In the extreme environment, only the healthy babies were kept, they were suckled for seven years and if the mother couldn’t keep up with work and the child, the baby was killed.

It was a matter of survival.

Most tribes contained twenty to thirty people, with four or five in each family, some lived to be 100 and some had more than one wife, many times if the husband died, another man would take his wife so he could support her.

If the tribe became too large and there wasn’t enough food, the weaker ones were either killed or left to die.

They would rub animal fat on their bodies to shut down sweating in order to conserve water. They still don’t wear many clothes because of the heat, clothes create body odor.

In the dry years, women would not ovulate, they had zero population growth, sometimes the droughts would last ten years, so there would be no children born in that time. The lack of food and environmental stress ruined the sex drive.

When a woman first felt the kick of a child, the first animal they saw was believed to be it’s totem or spirit animal because that is the closest source of energy. It could be a snake, kangaroo or anything.

Same totems can’t marry, they know inbreds become stupid.

Because of the lack of rainfall, it took about six acres of land to support one person, they survived by eating whatever was available, including termites, ants and grub worms.

One of the highlights was meeting Ted Mitchell, one of the last Trackers, someone who could find an individual regardless of the environment. The story was told that a young child had gotten lost in the bush, after searching with helicopters, dogs and search teams, Ted was called in to help, within a half an hour he came back with the child in his arms.

The aborigines believe that when we visit a place, we leave an image, and a person trained to see that image can follow someone regardless of the terrain or how long they have been gone.

Their teachings show many examples of such happenings, as well as casting spells on someone thousands of miles away, the victim being affected by it even though he has no knowledge of the spell being cast.

The aborigine who has been taught the Dream time is very intuitive and extremely aware of his surroundings, Crocodile Dundee was all Hollywood, but not very far off on this perspective.

The songfest came to an end, our time to leave had arrived, we packed up our swag, our personal belongings and made our journey back to Cairns and civilization.

Gary has been a writer/photographer for over thirty years. Specializing in nature and landscape photography, as well as studying native cultures.

His travels have taken him to most of the United States, as well as Australia, Belize, Egypt and the Canary Islands.

He has studied the Mayan culture of Central America as well as the aborigines of Australia. Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in various parts of the world.

He has published several books about his adventures.

For more information, please consult his website,www.journeysthrulife.com.

Your comments are welcome

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Aborigines Of Australia

Written by: Gary Wonning

Aborigines have been traced to Iraq, Iran, Malaysia, etc. They are Caucasians, aborigine refers to religion, or belief, not a color of skin. If you follow their way of life you are an aborigine, regardless of color, anyone who claims to be aborigine can get welfare from the government.

When some of them took their shirt off, their chests were white, they are dark because they have lived in the sun for thousands of years.

They say color breeds away, after first mating, regardless of color it gradually fades after each generation, fading away ½, ¼,1/8, in Australia, you can either be Australian or Aborigine, you can change each census, and you can be anything you want, German French, etc.

Being Aboriginal has nothing to do with color or physical features, same as being Christian, they believe there are only two types of people, aborigine, and the rest.

There is no scientific evidence they have been here more than twelve thousand years, however, legends state they have been here much longer, possibly as long as forty thousand years.

They believe the Australian aborigine negroid were possibly here 200,000 years ago, they then migrated to Africa

They often ask, “How come every painting is 40,000 years old?”

Most rock paintings are not very old, most are less than 200 years, the ocre flakes off in time, especially if exposed to weather. Many times the paintings were used as teaching aids.

They believe nature has caused thousands of species to disappear, it has nothing to do with the environment or man’s destruction of nature, it is a natural process.

Fire is part of nature, and shouldn’t be put out, it is natures way of clearing old brush so large fires won’t result.

They don’t know where they came from, however, they theorize at some time they migrated from Asia.

Women can be leaders but men are usually the leaders, it’s through blood. If there is no one in the bloodline, next best man takes over.

Suicide is a disgrace, they didn’t see life as a burden, they have such a connection with spirit they could die when they wanted. They follow a spiritual seeking and when they get depressed, if there is no one else around, they talk to themselves.

They believe there is no better learning than life learning, knowledge is not important, it’s how you feel about it.

There are as many as 1200 different tribes in Australia, there are still tribes no one knows about as not all of Australia has been explored.

When the white man came, many people were living underground, they didn’t know what to think of whites at first.

They believe there is a time and place for everything.

Many believe in UFOs, the extraterrestrials are named Mimis.

If we would be more trusting and follow our instincts, everything would be provided, it’s all about faith.

When someone dies, they would be dried out, wrapped in leaves and bark, then taken to their home and put in trees to protect them from wild animals. Some tribes would cut the heads off and then buried them separately.

The living and dead are a link between the present culture and its mythic logical origin.

Older paintings were said to have been done by spirits from the dream time.

Aborigines are still very proud, they won’t rummage through garbage or paint graffiti on restrooms.

They can sense spiritual sites, and determine which ones are the most important.

A sacred site is a place where aborigines find a manifestation of divine power, a sense of contact with creative form.

All nature is sacred, but in a creation place, spirit power manifests more readily, these are place where great events of creation took place.

The members of a group share common totem and each individual has a totem.

They are starting to move into the white society, but retain many of the ancient customs, in most cases when housing is provided, many still sleep outside under the stars.

One of the most disturbing events I encountered: another photographer and I had ventured down to the river and saw several children playing soccer in the water, amongst several hundred hypodermic needles and beer bottles.

Their culture like ours is changing and disappearing forever,

Gary has been a writer/photographer for over thirty years. Specializing in nature and landscape photography, as well as studying native cultures.

His travels have taken him to most of the United States, as well as Australia, Belize, Egypt and the Canary Islands.

He has studied the Mayan culture of Central America as well as the aborigines of Australia. Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in various parts of the world.

He has published several books about his adventures.

For more information, please consult his website,www.journeysthrulife.com.

Your comments are welcome

Rock Art

 

Written By: Gary Wonning

an excerpt from my book about life in the outback of Australia

Rock Art only has meaning to the author, it tells the story of some happening, it is ancient graffiti.

A Corroboree or songfest is the retelling of old stories, creations, they recreate through song and dance. They are practiced so the old ways won’t be forgotten, red facial paintings and costumes were all teaching aids, and stories and music are memory aids.

The stories and legends are laws on which Aborigine life is based.

We had to be careful, some of the aborigines don’t want to be photographed, they believe the picture carries the spirit of the person being photographed and if photographed it could destroy the spirit, the spirit resides in the photograph and thus leaves the person.

When the white man first appeared they wouldn’t let anyone photograph the rock art as they thought it destroyed the spirit of the painting.

While visiting White Horse Galley, we had the opportunity to observe Didgeridoo player Marcell Riguett. He was the first nonaboriginal to be granted permission to play here. This was my first opportunity to actually observe the Didgeridoo being played, it was interesting in that the musician actually breathes in through his nose and out through his mouth at the same time.

Gary has been a writer/photographer for over thirty years. Specializing in nature and landscape photography, as well as studying native cultures.

His travels have taken him to most of the United States, as well as Australia, Belize, Egypt and the Canary Islands.

He has studied the Mayan culture of Central America as well as the aborigines of Australia. Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in various parts of the world.

He has published several books about his adventures.

For more information, please consult his website,www.journeysthrulife.com.

Your comments are welcome

Quinkan County: Queensland Australia

Written by: Gary Wonning

Quinkan County was named after the Aboriginal spirits or ”Quinkans” who inhabit the sandstone bluffs at White Horse Gallery. This gallery contains the world’s most significant rock art displays.

photo, aborigine boy

Cooinda at morning sun.

Four fun filled evenings were spent here during my walkabout, listening to tribal elders, fellow travelers, locals, and drunks all spinning their stories! (The tribal elders, were believable!)

Gary has been a writer/photographer for over thirty years. Specializing in nature and landscape photography, as well as studying native cultures.

His travels have taken him to most of the United States, as well as Australia, Belize, Egypt and the Canary Islands.

He has studied the Mayan culture of Central America as well as the aborigines of Australia. Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in various parts of the world.

He has published several books about his adventures.

For more information, please consult his website,www.journeysthrulife.com.

Your comments are welcome

Off To The Land Of Oz

Written By: Gary Wonning

Seeking adventure and a desire to have as much contact with the aborigines as possible, I had requested to spend all of my time in the outback even though I didn’t really know what the outback was. This was to be a journey of a lifetime. The real vision quest was about to begin.

The journey became a real test of faith and the adventure of a lifetime. The NIE (National Institute of Exploration) was a fly by the seat of your pants type of organization, and to keep the costs down had arranged all the travel as cheaply as possible.

Many of the flights were last minute flights and much of the travel in Australia was on an arrangement where we traveled for free in exchange for the publicity the different locations and venues would get from the sale of our books. About one hundred fifty photographers were covering Australia, it would be a boon for the country and quite an experience for us.

Two days before we are leaving and no tickets, I began getting calls from the CEO of NIE, and every time he called my flight would change. Finally, at about midnight the night before we were scheduled to leave, Barry called and said my ticket would be in Indianapolis at the ticket counter of United Airlines when I checked in on Sunday. Somehow knowing the trip was going to happen, I knew everything would work out.

My dad was taking me to the airport the next day and he wasn’t impressed when I told him I didn’t have a ticket yet. He seemed to think I was crazy to go under these circumstances, I tended to agree with him.

Checking with the agent at the desk, he knew nothing. After some conversation, the agent checked some obscure location and lo and behold there it was. I’m on my way!

Gary has been a writer/photographer for over thirty years. Specializing in nature and landscape photography, as well as studying native cultures.

His travels have taken him to most of the United States, as well as Australia, Belize, Egypt and the Canary Islands.

He has studied the Mayan culture of Central America as well as the aborigines of Australia. Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in various parts of the world.

He has published several books about his adventures.

For more information, please consult his website,www.journeysthrulife.com.

Your comments are welcome

Darwin, The End of The Trail

Written By: Gary Wonning

Breaking camp at Alligator River campground, we started saying goodbyes, this would be the last day some of us would be together. I can’t believe this bus is still running. I hope it makes it to Darwin, some of the passengers have to catch a plane today and they don’t have much time to spare.

After a quick stop at the airport, the next stop was our hotel, we were flying out early the next morning and we had the rest of the afternoon off. Some in the party would continue on for another day, the tour officially ended the next day.

After checking into our room Steve and I decided to head for the beach and catch a few sunset photos.

An amazing journey into the outback of Australia

The author has been a writer/photographer for over thirty years. Specializing in nature and landscape photography, as well as studying native cultures.

His travels have taken him to most of the United States, as well as Australia, Belize, Egypt and the Canary Islands.

He has studied the Mayan culture of Central America as well as the aborigines of Australia. Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in various parts of the world.

He has published several books about his adventures.

For more information, please consult his website,www.journeysthrulife.com.

Your comments are welcome

photo, aborigine boy

Young aborigine boy dressed in ceremonial garb