Walkatjurra Walkabout finishes in Leonora

The Walkatjurra Walkabout for 2014 finished in good spirits, and we have all said our goodbyes to our desert home.

P1000088The last week of the walk passed quickly and relatively smoothly, with everyone feeling a lot better having kicked Giardia out of camp, and with less vehicle dramas.

We had former Senator Jo Vallentine and Auntie Jeanette join us with Sarah, Paul, Alfie and Claire at Tarmoola Creek. On the walk to Tarmoola Creek we went past a 40 year old road sign made by Uncle Richard, which was one of his first jobs with Main Roads. That night we celebrated Steffi’s birthday with amazing bliss balls and a Giardia card.

The next morning we farewelled some of the group returning back to their organic garden, and continued on the road to Kutunatu Ngurra. Kado met us on the road, and told us the story of the area we were walking through and of Kutunatu.

The following day we had a fully packed community day at camp, with a talk on the anti-nuclear campaign by Marcus and Jo, a talk on the situation in West Papua from Alfie, and a clay workshop from Sarah Valentine. Throughout the talks we plaited bracelets and headbands in Aboriginal colours to wear that night.

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That evening, Uncle Glen had planned for us a very special gift, a corroboree. As the sun went down, Uncle Richard introduced the story of the Emu Dance which was to be performed. While Uncle Glen sung and played the clapticks and Romaan played the didgeridoo, Sean lead the Emu dance followed by the kids.

photo 3photo 2photo 1That night, we were joined by some of the local mob for a bbq, with meat shot that day by Frank and Sean, and epic vegan pasties.

The next day was our final walk into Leonora. It was great to have everyone walking in together with a sense of pride and community, with all up over 50 people joining the final stretch.

photo 1In the park we had another bbq, and Marcus and Uncle Glen were live radio stars. That afternoon, we celebrated with a bus ride out to Malcolm Dam, an appropriate reward after a long hot walk.

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Our final camp day at Kutunatu flew by as we packed and cleaned down everything (Marcus’s skanky car/support vehicle taking the longest).

Kado gave us a very informative and insightful talk about native title. Kado also gave us a great Ngalia language lesson. That afternoon we were visited by a tourism manager from the Leonora Shire Council, who was blown away by the walk and vision for potential eco-tourism.

That night we had our final group circle, where we all had a chance to talk about our experience on the walk and express our gratitude to the traditional owners, to the walk organisers, supporters of the walk, and to each other for the shared journey. We were aided in this love fest by the loving earth chocolates which were donated to us.

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We took the long way home via lake Ballard and Boondi Rock. Arriving in Perth, it felt very strange to be in another world of concrete and cars. It was made easier by the friendly faces awaiting us at Earthwise, with delicious food. The dinner was a great chance to catch with people who had joined the walk earlier or in other years.

 

We showed photos from this years journey, Sharron and Alfie sung for us like we were still around the campfire, and Marcus, Blibo, Mia, Jo and others spoke about the impacts of the walk and it’s place in the wider campaign.

Walkatjurra Walkabout 2014

 

 

 

Walk Update and gathering in Perth

Hi everyone..

Well the walk is nearly over and we will be back in Perth on Sunday the 25th.

Please come and join us at Earthwise in Subiaco on Sunday the 25th at 4pm for a dinner and talk about the walk.

We would love to see heaps of people and share stories from another amazing Walkatjurra Walkabout.. Please bring a plate of food to share..

For more info call Marcus on 0400505765

Also we have nearly reached our fundraising goal on Everyday Hero 😉

If you would like to make a contribution to help us reach our goal just click here… https://give.everydayhero.com/au/walkatjurra

All donations are tax deductible

 Here is an update from the last week!!

Poison Creek was full of water and we all benefited from a refreshing dip amongst the ancient river gums – blue and red dragonflies flitting, orange and back butterflies, birds singing, all enjoying the results of the refreshing downpour that only a couple of days previously at Agnew had left us all a bit damp.

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Uncle Glen and Aunty Roxy gave us a fabulous day on our second rest day when they facilitated ad large community painting which we all contributed to – first putting on the ochre background then splashing on green and yellow using local plant branches as our paint brushes. The next step was to mark all the camp sites with black dots and surround them with semi circles symbolising people by the camp fire. Then we added black footprints of different sizes to signify the walkers of the journey, including paws around the site where we tragically lost Ginny, Lochie’s dog, to 1080 bait.

IMG_1312IMG_1324IMG_1325The next step was colourful flowers in lavender and other colours to contrast with, and bring out the ochre, and the final step was our handprints in black and white. We are all thrilled with the final work.

But there was more – Uncle Glen taking us out into the bush to look for tucker – we found a large witchetty grub (bardi) then soon after found a Bungarra goanna’s burrow, which Uncle Glen dug out and pulled the goanna out. We took it back to camp and Craig roasted it for us.

IMG_1349 From Jones Creek we have had three days of walking through mostly flat country, past the lush oasis of Doyle’s Creek and then later Boxer’s Well. Aunty Roxy, Chrissa and James walked with us and Roxy showed us some of the plants and bush tucker, including the delicious bush yams and silky pear.

IMG_1404 Frank and Cyril have had a lot of success with hunting Kangaroos and those that wanted to, have had a taste, Uncle Glen also showed us how to start a fire by sawing a woomera in the groove of a split log, a very energy intensive exercise!

IMG_1439 Kristi and Zoe and their families of 4 children each left us on Thursday as did Roxy, daughter Chrissa and grandson James. We were then joined by Tim, Susan, Stephanie, Suganda and Bindi and then later by Jay, Anna and Elizabeth

IMG_1359 We have had a full moon and also a bit more rain. Sean has now joined us and Richard Evans is back.

Bilbo is still looking for a solution to the truck gear box but in the meantime is doing a miraculous job of getting the truck to each new camp site. With only 30 km’s now to Leonora the truck will be limping in with out a clutch..

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There is a lot of events planned for the next 5 days as we finish up another Walkatjurra Walkabout. We will keep you posted, but if any of you are in Perth, WA area and want to catch up with everyone then make sure that you come along to Earthwise in Subaco on Sunday the 25th at 4pm

Walkatjurra Walkabout 2nd week

IMG_1122_2Well its been pretty hectic out here on the walk the last week or so and we have not really had a chance to send an update out. Sorry about that and here I go on trying to capture the last week of the walk…

IMG_2287 I probably should start with the break down off vehicles!!! I think that 4 years of walking out here have taken its toll on the kitchen truck. The clutch went out on us about three days ago and we have been limping it to camp each day while we check old abandoned vehicles in the bush for a possible spare part!! Our only other option is to drive 400km’s to Kalgoorlie for the part we need and we are not really keen on that idea as we had to do a mad drive there just 6 days ago to get new bearings for the trailer as they seized up coming down the back road from Yeelirrie.

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Then just near Agnew a couple of days ago we had a massive storm that completely flooded our camp!! It all happened so fast at about 3am in the morning that most of the cars didn’t get moved in time and we had to spend most of the day digging them out of the mud ;-)!!

IMG_1262_2 Everyone is still in really good spirits and some are even finding it somewhat exciting even though Kristy car didn’t start after the storm for a few days and we were continuing with the walk and just towing it down the road for a few days until we figured out that it had some how got about 10 litres of water in the petrol tank!!

IMG_1242_2 So we are now camped at poison creek and all the vehicles are going again, except the truck and some of the mob are out here helping to have a go at it with some amazing bush mechanic skills.

IMG_1228_2 Kado’s stories along the way have been a real important part of people understanding the land that we are walking through and the history of this area. Glen Cooke an Elder from out Warburton way arrived a few days ago and now Roxanne and the kids from up at Wiluna are here with us as well. They have been sharing many stories of the land and culture around the fire and today they are showing people how to find honey ants as we camp for a few days here at Poison Creek.

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Richard and Sandra Evans arrived on Friday night and Richard gave an inspiring talk this morning about how the Aboriginal led Western Australian Nuclear Free Alliance got started and Sandra collected some bush medicine and made a good healing tea for those are feeling a bit of a cold coming on after the big rain!!

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Chris, Frank, Cyril and some of the mob from Leonora have been out here for the last few days and taking some of the young boys out hunting last night. They came back with a huge amount of food, so today we are feasting on the catch 😉

Although the walk has been extremely challenging this year for a number of reasons it has been a good reminder of how tough it can be out here. We have been encourage all along the way by Kado, Glen, Richard, Sandra, Roxanne and all the mob out here who are working so hard to protect their country and keep their culture strong.

We were also thrilled to here that the uranium price has dropped again to $28, which makes any uranium mine out here completely unprofitable. We also just heard that Toro Energy who are trying to open the uranium mine at Wiluna are having an extremely hard time financially and their share price has dropped to nearly a four year low 😉

We would all like to give a massive thanks to all the people who have been sending us messages of support and all those who have made donations to the walk.

We have managed to get most of the solar equipment that we need and just need to get a few deep cycle batteries to make it all happen. We will be looking at the situation with the kitchen truck at the end of the walk to see if it is worth setting it up on there for future walks. Or as the walks grow and are becoming a regular event out here there may be a need for us to upgrade the kitchen truck that has served us so well!!

Walkatjurra Walkabout 2014

The Bardi bus will be back on the walk next week as it also had a major steering failure and needed some major mechanical repairs to get back on the road.

So hopefully this last two weeks will see everything come together and we will have an awesome walk in to Leonora on the 21st of May with all the mob, the 20 plus children that are out here

Walkatjurra Walkabout 2014 begins!!

Walkatjurra Walkabout 2014This is my first time on the walk, and my first time to Western Australia. When I read about the walk, the spirit and intention of the walk really resonated with me. I came with little expectation as to how it would be when here, but with a belief that I needed to come and that it would be an important journey. We are a bit over a week into the walk, and I feel so blessed to be here. From the beginning, the crew organising this event have been so welcoming, opening up their home to me when I arrived from Melbourne.

Meeting everyone in Perth on the first morning, there was a sense of excitement as people gathered from all walks of life. The group bond began forming as we started the long drive across this red land. By the time we arrived at the community centre in Kalgoorlie, I already felt part of a community. We received a warm welcome from the Kalgoorlie community that night. Geoffrey Stokes shared with us the film Utopia, which was an important foundation for beginning the journey, to acknowledge the pain that needs to be healed by respecting the first people and this land.

Kalgoorlie The next day, we drove through Leonora, meeting some of the community there. As we drove on to Yeeliree, the landscape flashed by in minutes what will take us hours to walk, and I am looking forward to being able to properly appreciate all the changes in this landscape.

Arriving in Yeeliree that evening and being welcomed to country by Vicky was very heart warming and special. Where we camped was so beautiful, clear stretching skies and red dirt, mulga trees all around. We had a chance to camp for a couple of days, settling into the new pace and vibration of the land, breathing in the fresh clean air. Marcus shared with us some of the history of amazing walks such as this, which have happened across the world. I felt connected to all people and their struggle for a safe future. We learnt more about uranium mining and nuclear energy, bombs and waste, and the insane cost we all have to pay.

Yeelirrie Working as a team, we started the first day of the walk with a strong spirit and sense of why we are here. As we walk this land together, the vibration of our footsteps will echo throughout our lives. When Kado arrived, it was very special to hear the creation story of this land and the sacred places, which really brings everything alive.

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Setting up camp, cooking and cleaning together, we are learning to work as a big family. When some of us have struggled or fallen sick, the tribe has come together to take care of each other. It feels so powerful to be part of a strong community, something that I personally lack in my day-to-day life.

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Now we are having a few rest days at Jones Creek, where we can have some quiet time to reflect on this first amazing week. I look forward to learning more about this country and culture, and understanding more each day.

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