Friday, November 4, 2011

Nga keeat Billimina

In the rugged Grampian ranges.Along rough bush trailsHidden in the high ground around the valleys
Often under shallow overhangs like thisLie special placesNga keeat Billimina
In the language of the people of the land “Welcome to Billimina shelter.”

Billimina is a special place, this shallow overhang which lies behind a cleared dance –floor has a rock face literally covered with thousands of markings.

In fact this is the single largest collection of symbols in one shelter in the whole of Victoria.

Most are like these simple vertical strokes.“Tally marks” early and unimaginative European explorers called them. The archaeologists who explored this site can tell us that it was in use for thousands of years

And that the paintings here were made across a period of at least hundreds of years.

Some are vivid as if painted days rather than decades or centuries agoOthers are faint and faded and slowly being covered by the dark blotches left by the natural weathering of the rock
Some are clearly human-like figures.Maybe representations of the people who were here, maybe of spirits.

The knowledge is lost, or perhaps the descendants of the people wish to keep their secrets.

But do not mistake secrets for hostility most of the people are welcoming.

In the words of a local community elder:
“We have always lived here.

Now you have come,
Respect our culture.
It is now part of your heritage"
And most do.
But I must finish with a sad side of these ancient places

Over 100 are known just in the Grampian Ranges. Only 5 are made public
The rest lie hidden

Because while most respect these places for what they are the few…

Mean that such sites must be protected.In a few days more rock art

Next: Waterfalls in the Grampians


Linda G. said...

Wow. Those are fantastic photos. Makes me want to see the ancient rock art in person someday. Thanks for sharing them here.

Old Kitty said...

May these ancient and spiritual and above all sublimely beautiful works of art and profound means of communication be preserved forever. Otherwise we lose part of ourselves if they are gone.

Thanks for sharing, take care

Anne Gallagher said...

Such fascinating places that are still alive right here on our little planet. Thanks so much for sharing them, Al, I wouldn't get to see them any other way.

Kathleen Jones said...

These are beautiful Al - so sad that there are people who would deface these sites. Obviously no sense of history! I love the drawing of the two figures - one of which (male? with the stick) appears to be hand in hand with the smaller figure - child? woman? It all seems very human.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Wow, super! This is just the kind of thing that floats my boat. Thanks so much for sharing.