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Daily Archive for September 21st, 2012

Day 14

Day 14

Fitzroy to Derby

We discovered a sad story about ‘Blackbirding’ (forcing) natives to work in the pearl industry developed by Chinese business men and explorers in Broome in the 1860′s. That made a change from the previous ‘game’ of chasing the natives simply for a pastime.

Once caught, often they were imprisoned in the ‘Boab Prison Tree’ outside Derby on route to Broome, now a famous beach resort. A tree so big that 20 men were squeezed inside for the night, so the  ‘Blackbirders’ and their horses could rest.


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The Boab Prison Tree

Derby itself has a population of 50% native Australians, and is high on the government priority list of towns to ‘improve’. So plenty of social programs are tested and developed there, as well as huge sums set aside for social infrastructure.

Further to a delicious lunch on the jetty we visited the Aboriginie Art Centre, where the curator (who sets up these centers in many towns all over Australia) gave us a tour, explaining all about native religious and cultural beliefs transmitted through art. Louise and Rose were thrilled to get a packet of ‘ochre’ pigments (made from special colored rock) and she explained exactly how to mix them with special sap and how to apply them. The girls couldn’t wait to use them.

Day 12 and 13

Day 12

Kununurra to Halls Creek

Along the road we stop off for a dip in a pool, followed by a bite to eat. Later this afternoon we swam in the pool of the caravan park at Warmun, some post cards, Skype to family and friends to wish them a Shana Tova, (Happy New Year), and our special dinner started with traditional apples and honey, for a lovely and sweet year ahead. Some discussion about ‘our’ New Year before bed time. We felt that this was a great way to start the year!

Spoke to Martin too, who is getting along nicely with newly found friends in Cairns. His ‘new year’ in Australia seems to be going well.

Some odd but regular sights on the highways of Australia: Lollypop ladies, and termite mounds!

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One of thousands of huge termite mounds along the route


Another nice lollypop man. But lots of road works slowed down the driving.


on quitte Kununurra pour Halls Creek

Petit stop à midi à Warmun, pour un ” plouf ” salutaire dans la piscine du camping-station service-bar-poste ….

Arrivée à Warmun, vers 16h, baignade dans la piscine à peine installés dans le camping…un peu de skype, quelque cartes postales et dessins.

Shana tova tout le monde ! pommes et miel, que cette année soit douce et belle pour tous ! pour nous elle n’a pas trop mal commencée …


Day 13

Halls Creek – Fitzroy crossing

We went off the beaten track to climb the extraordinary  ’Wall of China’, which is a natural vein of sub-vertical white quartz rising up to 6 metres in some place, and it’s located in the middle of a privately owned cattle station. Millions of years old, sandwiched between sedimentary rock, more recently ‘moved’ or ‘pushed’ vertically as a fault line, and with either side being eroded with southerly wind, and massive annual flooding, exposing a wall of quartz!



Wall of quartz aka 'Wall of China'


We passed back through halls Creek to fill up again, and saw a sad scene of natives wandering around again. Difficult for our kids to see, and as they explained their fears we tried to explain, once again, in as fair a way as possible the situation, and ‘phenomenan’  of explorers, industrial ‘powers’, colonies, eduction, as well as the native art, way of living, and fitting in to each others societies.

We saw some huge boulders with kids paintings. They brightened up the route!


Boulders along the route...


Boulders, painted by Aboriginie kids, along the route...

Later on the long route we explained ‘km  per hour’ to Rose, and she started to equate distances to speed , and encouraged us to speed up to the next pool, and lunch!

We also saw more fields of termite mounds, and spoke about them eating wood, and wooden beams, treatment of wood for building, and the value of ‘Termite certificates’ (EPC’s) when buying a property!

Lessons of maths, geography, biology, property values all in an hour, and Rose was still asking questions!

That evening we stayed in a very nice  but remote camp ground, with well groomed lawns and a nice pool, and a bar stocked with great beer.


Refreshing swims are a great way to break up the long journeys...


Washing off the dust...and boredom, of long drives...

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