01 Aug Listening To Country At Uluru
I loved camping in the red dirt at the Ayers Rock Campground in 2014.
I felt connected to and part of the landscape and spirit that is Uluru.
There was a great atmosphere in the over fill section. With no designated areas caravans, camper trailers, tents and vans all set up side by side. More opportunity for travellers to mingle with each other.
Evening camp fires sprung up adding a glow to the red dirt under thousands of stars on a clear desert night.
During my stay there I visited the Cultural Centre located in the foreground of Uluru. It’s not a museum but rather a place to learn about the Anangu tribe, traditional owners of the area.
To quote Tony Tjamiwa (elder) “We tell the public stories straight and simple, so people can understand”.
I loved the earthiness of the locally made mud brick buildings with thatched roofs and timber, lots of beautiful raw timber. The centre is low key and blends in with it’s surroundings. The place has soul.
The award wining design represents two fighting serpent snakes, Liru and Kuniya. According to the dreamtime legend their great battle resulted in the cuts, scarring and depressions on Uluru.
Inside, a corridor follows an S shape, as a snake moves. The earthy walls are decorated with striking and colourful murals, depicting dreamtime stories. These murals support interesting displays and information written up on beautiful glass interpretation panels.
The corridor leads to a large room’ filled with more stories of the Anangu tribe and their culture. Three things really stood out for me.
1. our indigenous people really understood, respected and managed the land.
2. they embraced the concept of ‘food miles’ (buy local), ‘seasonal cooking’ and slow cooking’ long before cooking TV programs aired.
3. they have understood and practiced for centuries ‘living in the now’ – the new self help concept western society is embracing in search of happiness.
I wrote down the following off a plague at Uluru which sums it up perfectly.
‘This is a good place to listen to country
Take a minute to sit down, close your eyes and breathe deep
Enjoy this moment
Listen to the bird
Can you hear water trickling
Concentrate on the wind Can you hear it? Feel it?’
I would take this ‘lesson’ with me as I continued on my road trip around Australia.
To this day, where ever I am, I take a moment to sit down and ‘listen to country’.