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Friday, June 29, 2007

End of Term Excursion: Aboriginal Culture

We went walkabout for a week. To complete this term's study on the geography and cultural melting pot of Australia and Aboriginal Art, we took a week long camping trip to Cape York Peninsula.

The Laura Dance Festival was the pinnacle focus of the trip and neither Boy, Step-father or I were disappointed. Some photos appear below but also check out my info article over at Imaginif: The Culture of Dancing Corroboree for Child Safety.

Whereas Boy has previously visited Split Rock at Laura, my attendance (and a handy tour guide book) ensured a degree of Rock Art painting, culture and myth appreciation. Boy has grown up around Indigenous Australian culture, has heard the words, the language, and knows some of the myths (Quinkins are a favourite in our family), but he had no deeper appreciation than knowing that bread from the bakery can be bought sliced or whole.

Imjim Quinkan - A malevolent spirit. Still very feared.

The story has it that the Quinkan bounces across the rocks on his long knobbed penis. OUCH! The women who married Quinkans are portrayed with breasts that stick out sideways. The breasts were also used for bouncing across rocks.

These Aboriginal Rock paintings and etchings (top pic with Boy) below are approximately 50,000 years old.

1) Woman, Quinkan, Echidna. 2) Flying Foxes (staple tucker [food]). 3) Woman, Red Dingo, Quinkan

Tall Spirit
(they like to hide behind tall Gum trees and can be hard to see)

Another focal point at the Dance festival was meeting up with my foster brother - Joseph McIvor: a celebrated Aboriginal artist, who lived with my family in Cooktown and Cairns during his high school years. Joseph was my brother's best mate and they were always together. It seemed logical that Joseph just live with us and have the opportunity to extend his art through training and access to resources that he may not have otherwise been able to gain access to. Joseph held a Didgeridoo making stall at the Laura Dance Festival and Boy got right into the making of a Didj (pictured).

Boy with his completed Didgeridoo and Joseph McIvor.

Following our attendance at the Laura Dance festival, we spent 3 days in Cooktown, a place I lived as a teenager and young first time mother. The weather was miserable and freezing (by Far North Queensland standards) but Boy's highlight was the abundance of Wallabies around our cabin. The following photo's are of wild wallabies - not zoo tamed creatures.

We are currently on school holidays and Boy refuses to raise any blogs on what he learnt on his camping trip to Laura and Cooktown. Guess how our new school term will be beginning then!!


Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

So THAT'S where you've been!

It looks like so much fun.

I had these visions of slow summer days up here, going on local field trips to places like Salinas Ruins National Monument and the White Rock Pueblo Ruins. Maybe even Chaco Canyon. But N. just got back from camp is away again for 3 weeks. So I guess those field trips will be in the fall.

What a great end-of-term trip for you and boy!

Megan Bayliss said...

Hey E
yes sorry. I was so busy leading up to going away for a week that I just didn't have time to post about our absence.
I caught up with your blog and saw that N was away on camp.
It makes me laugh you know, we plan all these wonderful trips so we can assist the teachable moments for our kids, and then the little blighters have their own life and become involved in much more exciting things than we planned!
This time for us though, we all had a FANTASTIC trip away. The learning was solid and useful.
Would you believe it is freezing here! I want to move closer to the Equator.

Dana said...

Thank you so much for this post. We are getting ready to study a little about Aboriginal culture. I'm looking for some lessons about sand art at the moment. (My husband is Australian, and so we're taking the summer to learn about the other half of my children's heritage).

Angel Mama Pearls of Wisdom said...

Great post. It looked like so much fun. I am new to hosting these carnivals so if you have any hints I would greatly appreciate.


Angel ():)

Megan Bayliss said...

Hi Dana, do you know about the Carnival of Australia? It often contains helpful posts for our home school lessons. I am hosting it here tomorrow.
We live close to a place where the sand is coloured and used for making bottles of layered coloured sand. Mostly though, the rocks are ground to make colour for painting and skin decoration. Sing out if I can ever help you with info.

Angle Mama, Carnivals are just great fun. The All for Women Carnival is just the best because there's no collation of posts - all the women enter their own. I also email previous participants to remind them of upcoming carnival deadlines and then email once the Carnival is up.
There are so many Carnivals around that creativity and themes are important. I much prefer to read a Carnival edition that has had some thought and editor comment put into in rather than read a list of links.
Good luck on your Carnival Merry Go Round. I'll be posting to the All for Women Carnival when you hostess next Monday.

typingisnotactivism said...

nice lookin 'yidaki' bro! thanks for sharing more stories Megan --> this looks like a great way to grow up. rocks and splinters can be amazing teachers.

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