GWION GWION ROCK ART TOUR
3rd to 10th June 2008
10th to 17th June 2008
Departure Months: June 2008
Wunambal Gaambera Country
Flybridge Cabin AUD$12,985.00 per person
Superior Cabin AUD$11,895.00 per person
Double Cabind AUD$10,435.00 per person
3rd June - Broome end in Kununurra
10th June Kununurra end in Broome
With grace and elegance the silhouetted panel of lithe, mulberry-hued human figures appears to float above the ground, commanding our gaze and respect.
Wielding boomerangs or multi-barbed spears and attired with dillybags, armbands and tassel skirts, the figures in such paintings display a range of remarkable headdresses and hairstyles. Often the rock art features ceremonies with medicine men involving healing, law or religion. The journalist Nicolas Rothwell, writing in 2000, called these images the most splendid and most mysterious of Australias many rock art traditions. Equally tantalising are other images of similar antiquity, showing crews of up to six paddling what appear to be large seagoing craft constructed from elongated bundles of reeds. Were these the craft that brought prehistoric man to first settle Australia? These examples of Gwion rock art, or Bradshaw paintings, confined to the shattered sandstone country of the North Kimberley, are believed by experts to date from more than 17,000 years ago, before the last ice age ended. This makes them at least as old as the famed European cave paintings of prehistoric animals at Lascaux, in France.
Wunambal Gaambera traditional owners of the North Kimberley tell one tale that the figures were the work of the Gwion bird (sandstone shrike-thrush), famed for its beautiful, echoing song. The story goes that this bird, which has the power to see spirits invisible to ordinary people, hit its beak until it bled and used the blood to paint the figures with feathers plucked from its tail. It was not until 1892 that the outside world learnt of Gwion rock art, when the exploring pastoralist Joseph Bradshaw sub-mitted for publication some rough sketches, depicting cave art he saw in a remote Kimberley river gorge. It was not until relatively recently that academic interest in this art was revived with a variety of interpretations and controversial theories being put forward.
Due to the inherent qualities of the expedition a moderate level of health, fitness and agility is required for participation. The nature of the expeditions offered, means that in some places and under some circumstances, passengers may experience some discomfort and even danger. As an explorative journey there are risks involved and it is expected that passengers accept and understand that these risks are a part of the cruise. The management and crew undertake to provide every possible safety precaution and to take all due care in the course of the expedition, but ultimately all responsibility for illness, accident or death, or any property damage or loss lies with the passenger.
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