Active Native Well?

I thought I would share some thoughts and ideas on a rockhole I came across a few years ago. This rockhole is north of the Alfred and Marie Range. I briefly touched on this in one of my blogs however this is a more detailed account.

Upon first glance it would appear to be just like a number of other water sources found in the interior; one rockhole impressive by its extreme singularity. If you went 100 metres in any direction you would be hard pressed to know it was there.

However, this rockhole had water in it, and the small birds in the area were swarming around it.

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This was an interesting find; the last rockhole we saw with water in it was at the well known as Mulgan Rockhole off the Gary Highway about 60 kilometres away as the crow flies.

I had a look around and in the near distance saw what looked like a white termite mound. What I found was a large white rock embedded in the ground (monolith).

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This was amazing if only by the fact that there were no similar rocks in the vicinity, if not for hundreds of kilometres. And yet this rock was sitting here; embedded into the ground. It had what appear to be small rocks and mulga branches wrapped around its base.

Nearby to the monolith was an etching in the ground shaped like an incomplete "U", such as you would get by dragging a flat rock across the surface removing and displacing vegetation and small rocks. There was a strategically place single mulga branch place at the end of the etching. Judging by disturbance of the cleared surface I would imagine this etching would have been made or renewed in the last year.

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It was about at this point that my traveling companion for whatever reason decided that he didn't want to be here, and sat himself in the passenger seat ready for an early departure. I can imagine this slight intrusion into aboriginal culture could be quite disturbing for some, however I wasn't finished here yet.

Upon closer inspection of the monolith I discovered something quite exciting. There were 4 or 5 aboriginal rain making boards hidden in the mulga branches encircling the base of the monolith.

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I had never seen anything like this before. These were meticulously carved boards, and they would have taken some time and effort to create. These ones looked antique. I have read that they are extremely rare and only found every 300 kilometres or so and are the most sacred objects that the aboriginal people possess.

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Nearby, seemingly just discarded I found another artefact. I am not sure whether this was a Ceremonial Stick or a Message Stick. The end of it was a bit damaged, as if a Dingo was chewing it.

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Also found seemingly discarded, was a straight carved stick, perhaps some sort of weapon.

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So what does all this mean? Not being an anthropologist I can only offer my amateur hypothesis.

This configuration would be set up like this with the sole intention of asking the gods for water to fill up the rockhole.

The rain making boards are some sort of focal point. I believe the etching would be a two dimensional representation of the monolith, visible from the air. It there is rain at the monolith then the rockhole will fill as well.

I left everything as I found it, though I would imagine unscrupulous types would love to get their hands on it, which is why I will not disclose the location.

Has anyone else come across anything like this?

Cheers
Alan



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Reply By: Battery Value Pty Ltd - Saturday, Feb 27, 2010 at 17:46

Saturday, Feb 27, 2010 at 17:46
Wow, what a find! Thanks so much for sharing this and the photos!

Best regards, Peter
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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Saturday, Feb 27, 2010 at 18:58

Saturday, Feb 27, 2010 at 18:58
Absolutely fascinating Alan. Please commit this post to a blog so it doesn't get lost on the busy forum.

I'm interested too in the response of your passenger - there are some places that you can (somehow) sense are very special. Seems this was one of them.

Please blog this experience.

Cheers

John
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Saturday, Feb 27, 2010 at 19:04

Saturday, Feb 27, 2010 at 19:04
Ooops... sorry Equinox... don't know where "Alan" came from.

Cheers

John
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Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Saturday, Feb 27, 2010 at 20:36

Saturday, Feb 27, 2010 at 20:36
Alan is written at the end of his post John. My guess would be that Equinox's name is Alan, or a derivative thereof.
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Follow Up By: equinox - Sunday, Feb 28, 2010 at 14:40

Sunday, Feb 28, 2010 at 14:40
Hi John,

It was the kind of place that felt very special. I could have left straight away but perhaps regretted it later. I may never had the chance to re-visit so the decision was easy for me.

Cheers
Alan
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Reply By: Mick O - Saturday, Feb 27, 2010 at 19:38

Saturday, Feb 27, 2010 at 19:38
I reckon that you've stumbled across the rendition of the Watersnake Man, the maker of rain and the site would possibly be Tartjarr, the great rain-making site of the Gibson Desert.

Very sacred to the Ngaanyatjarra people.

Cheers Mick
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Follow Up By: equinox - Sunday, Feb 28, 2010 at 14:41

Sunday, Feb 28, 2010 at 14:41
Could be Mick.

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Reply By: Bonz (Vic) - Saturday, Feb 27, 2010 at 20:33

Saturday, Feb 27, 2010 at 20:33
What a fantastic find Alan, seems to me that the local aboriginal tribe are still practising their ways and thats great!

The photo's are excellent, and quite unique.

Thanx for a fantastic post !

Bonz
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Follow Up By: equinox - Sunday, Feb 28, 2010 at 14:44

Sunday, Feb 28, 2010 at 14:44
Hi Bonz,

It is good to see, and so interesting too.

Cheers
Alan


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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Feb 27, 2010 at 22:11

Saturday, Feb 27, 2010 at 22:11
Hi Alan
My special location is also a very sacred site, but for different reasons. For the untrained eye it is just another depression in a very small sand dune. I have been told by museum staff that any more than 3 and it is a very special site. I am not a detective, but could count at least 15 complete graves, with at least 3 not disturbed plus countless other sites where the bone was as small as a pea. There were also a number a very old fire places well away from the actual burial sites with many strange and different pieces of stone.

The photos will say it all.

Cheers

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Follow Up By: Member - RockyOne - Sunday, Feb 28, 2010 at 12:27

Sunday, Feb 28, 2010 at 12:27
My two teenage boys and me were out hunting in our $360 Suzuki LJ-50 two stroke, three cylinder real 4x4, with a station manager in Central Queensland when he took us to an aboriginal site. A large ring of stones then smaller ones plus lots of other interesting mini sites. The huge power like towers were all in a straight line, but they do a purpose built dog leg just to avoid this site. We have been told this is where the boys got the treatment to enter into man hood. Bet they wish they had some beetle nut to chew.Lucky this site is on private property so maybe the hoons won't degrade it.
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Follow Up By: equinox - Sunday, Feb 28, 2010 at 14:48

Sunday, Feb 28, 2010 at 14:48
Interesting pictures there Stephen; it makes you wonder why they chose that dune and not the next one along...

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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Feb 28, 2010 at 15:16

Sunday, Feb 28, 2010 at 15:16
Hi Alan
The burial site is not in typical desert dune country. The land around this site is all samphire flats with the very smallest of dune less than 1 metre high in the middle, surrounded by Box Gums. The dunes then became high ground. From what I can say is that wind erosion has caused the exposure of the well intact graves. It appears that after the burial ceremony, the body was covered in sand, then clay from the samphire country placed over the sand, to keep it intact. Then on top of the clay were placed pieces of timber, which is still there today on the graves that have not been exposed. The picture below shows two graves, close to each other, not exposed and still with timber covering the grave.

Cheers

Stephen

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Reply By: Member - John (Vic) - Sunday, Feb 28, 2010 at 12:51

Sunday, Feb 28, 2010 at 12:51
Al agree with the others what a great post.

It leads to a million questions.

Have you spoken to anyone like the Museum people or any of the local Aboriginals themselves about the site?

Interesting that you think its been visited and the marking done recently, why would they still maintain such a site in this day and age and so potentially far from a community?

Agree also you should blog this so its not lost.

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Follow Up By: equinox - Sunday, Feb 28, 2010 at 14:52

Sunday, Feb 28, 2010 at 14:52
Hi John,

I haven't spoken to anyone about it.

It would have had to be done fairly recently, as the etching would surely degrade in time. It wouldn't surprise me if they came and had a look ever year or so on their "Walkabout".

Cheers
Alan

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Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Sunday, Feb 28, 2010 at 15:23

Sunday, Feb 28, 2010 at 15:23
The other point Al is those wooden artifacts seem to have been well protected from the weather??

The message stick (If thats what it is?) you said was possibly discarded, it also looks in very good un weathered condition, Guessing it was recently left in the open??

As I said a million questions and my curiosity would be such that I would have tried to speak to an expert of some description to learn more about what it all meant.

Walkabout from where?? care to speculate as to what community may be looking after the site? ;-)

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Reply By: Hairy (NT) - Sunday, Feb 28, 2010 at 18:23

Sunday, Feb 28, 2010 at 18:23
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Follow Up By: equinox - Sunday, Feb 28, 2010 at 19:14

Sunday, Feb 28, 2010 at 19:14
Good Grief Hairy,

If I saw that I would probably jump back a few paces..

It looks like the skull has been dug up put back on top of the sand.

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Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Sunday, Feb 28, 2010 at 19:18

Sunday, Feb 28, 2010 at 19:18
Hairy some more details to go along with the pictures would be good.
I'm interested to know the story behind them.

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Follow Up By: Hairy (NT) - Sunday, Feb 28, 2010 at 20:12

Sunday, Feb 28, 2010 at 20:12
Really don't know much about him.
Its at Fowlers Bay and they reckon he's over 100 years old.
The sand moves continuously and the locals told me he had been uncovered for a couple of days.

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Reply By: gbc - Sunday, Feb 28, 2010 at 20:46

Sunday, Feb 28, 2010 at 20:46
awesome stuff - all I ever find is old dumps.

I can relate to the passenger's feelings. I've well and truly had the heebie jeebies at sacred sites. Laura was probably where I felt of the strongest feelings.
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Reply By: Member - Dennis P (Scotland) - Tuesday, Mar 02, 2010 at 10:20

Tuesday, Mar 02, 2010 at 10:20
Hi Alan,
I MM'd you on this, did you not receive it?

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Follow Up By: equinox - Tuesday, Mar 02, 2010 at 21:13

Tuesday, Mar 02, 2010 at 21:13
MM sent!!!

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