One such guide is David McCormack, a proud Alywarre/Arrernte man, who now leads visitors on cultural tours on the country he grew up on. Although McCormack cannot share the women’s Dreaming stories, he is a wealth of knowledge about bush tucker, medicinal plants, weaponry and dot art. “During the painting workshop, I like to explain what each of the symbols mean and how to interpret a painting,” he says. “I also show guests the kind of things my people would paint.”
Walk through the gorge with a local guide and you will feel the pull of invisible threads that connect Aboriginal people to their country, culture and community. Taste the sweet flesh of a bush coconut and be startled by the sudden movement of a black-footed rock wallaby, the thud of its tail bringing the Euro Dreaming story to life. Step by step, the puzzle unravels as you gain insights into a deeply spiritual and nurturing way of life. When seen through Indigenous eyes, there is nothing confusing about it.
Explore Standley Chasm—Angkerle Atwatye on Intrepid’s Premium Red Centre & Uluru trip, or visit Welcome to Country to learn more.
The writer is a descendant of the Awabakal people of the mid-north coast of New South Wales.