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