Aussie outback adventure #5 – Aboriginal Art and Women’s business

Art and Women’s Business were on the agenda for days 5 & 6 of our Outback Aussie Adventure.

Women’s Business:

I was privileged to take part in the ‘Women’s business’ talk with Josie and Glenise Coulthard while at Iga Warta. Men could have joined the group to hear the stories, but it was stressed that only women can actually tell the stories. None of the stories are secret either as I had always thought was the case.  We had a small group of women join us for the talks – the men in our group were happy to go climb a big hill 🙂

Please note that permission was given to share our experiences and photos of art works.

The Women’s talk was a gentle ‘walk and talk’ and at times it became emotional as we shared personal stories. The first stop was Josie’s garden where she explained the custom of burying the placenta after birth and the issues involved in doing so. She has her grandchildren’s afterbirth buried in her garden with plaques celebrating the event.  She told us of the importance of the placenta and birth stories of the Adnymathanha people.

We heard some of the history and the family clan systems that they live by. At the creek we talked about the uses of various trees in everyday life and their love of the earth.  We heard stories of Josie and Glenise’s life growing up in the area. Josie and Glenise are sisters and both married Coulthard brothers Terry and Kingsley.

We also visited Damper Hill, which is a special women’s site, and heard interesting stories from the past and not so distant past. It was a fascinating few hours and I enjoyed every minute of it. They stressed the fact that the stories they told us were relevant to the Adnymathanha people and others elsewhere may have done things differently.

Malki Cave Art:

After lunch we walked a few kilometres into the Malki cave art site with our guide Cliff, He set the scene of the paintings as we walked and when we arrived at the site we were asked to sit quietly for a few minutes to get a feel for the place. It was quite a surreal experience to know we were seeing art work that had been painted thousands of years ago.   Cliff explained that the art work could not be repainted as there are no initiated people left to do so.  Considering the age of the paintings they were in great condition and a thrill to see.  Cliff had been told the stories and so was able to share them with us, although there were a few he didn’t know the meaning of.  We spent ages looking at them and again felt honoured to be in such a beautiful place, witnessing such amazing history.

The Red Gorge and Rock Engravings:

The two guardians

The two guardians

The next morning we continued our art tour with a drive and a 4km walk into the Red Gorge.  This place was amazing!!  The huge red rocks towering above us in the gorge were great in themselves but then Cliff pointed out the start of the ‘gallery’.  The engravings or ‘petroglyphs‘ are images that are created by removing part of the rock surface by incising, picking, carving or abrading as a form of rock art.

The Red Gorge is the largest site in the Flinders Ranges for engravings and must be seen to be believed!

We climbed a hill for the view of the two guardians who look after the Red Gorge and ate our lunch amongst the ancient rocks.  As we progressed down the gorge the engravings were to be found on both sides and we spent ages poring over them and discovering with delight many pictures of echidnas, lizards, feet, hands, animal tracks, circles of life, the sun and other important images to the Adnymathanha people, who lived in the area over 50000 years ago.

Stunned and exhilarated we made our way back to the car and returned for dinner at Iga Warta.  What an amazing few days we’ve had.  If you’ve not been to this area before I strongly recommend a trip.

We had a fabulous experience! It was an adventure way more than I ever thought it would be and I hope you are enjoying my posts, as much as I enjoy sharing them with you.

Art and Women's Business

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You can find my previous posts on our outback adventure here:

Day 1 of walking  – An Aussie Outback Adventure #1

Day 2 of walking – An Aussie Outback Adventure #2

Day 3 was a day of social history and culture  – An Aussie Outback Adventure #3

Day 4 of walking – Aussie Outback Adventure #4

Stay tuned for more updates!  If you haven’t been to this part of the world I would highly recommend it.  Immersing yourself in the culture and environment is very therapeutic for the soul.  Have you ever been anywhere like this?  I’d love to hear your stories.



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  One thought on “Aussie outback adventure #5 – Aboriginal Art and Women’s business

  1. September 4, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    Thank you for sharing Deb that was so interesting.❤️🌹

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 4, 2017 at 8:47 pm

      My pleasure!! Glad you enjoyed reading it.


      • September 4, 2017 at 8:57 pm

        I did Deb this trip of yours sounds amazing I have enjoyed tagging along , if only in spirit , as they say .🌹

        Liked by 1 person

  2. September 4, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    The arts are so beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing!! x

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 4, 2017 at 8:47 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! The artwork is so old and so amazing to see.


  3. September 4, 2017 at 9:06 pm

    Absolutely amazing photos Deb and so very interesting. x

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 5, 2017 at 8:19 am

      Thanks Miriam, it was so magical being there and learning so much about our history.


  4. September 5, 2017 at 6:00 am

    Thank you for sharing this Debbie. Fascinating, and powerful artwork.

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 5, 2017 at 8:20 am

      I agree Su, it was absolutely amazing to see it all.I’m glad you enjoyed reading about it too.

      Liked by 1 person

      • September 5, 2017 at 8:34 am

        🙂 I’m so glad that the woman have a chance to share their stories, and that indigenous artwork can be appreciated and understood in situ.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. September 5, 2017 at 2:52 pm

    Looks and sounds like a wonderful experience!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. September 5, 2017 at 8:44 pm

    That all sounds wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. September 6, 2017 at 6:50 am

    What a fascinating day Deb. Would have loved to have had such an experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 6, 2017 at 7:04 am

      The whole 2 weeks were incredible Sue!! So much history, beautiful country, walking and learning. Thanks for stopping by!!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. September 8, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    That carving at the top is amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 10, 2017 at 8:02 am

      Thanks Ellen, it was all just fantastic to see! So much history and the stories that gorge could tell….


  9. September 12, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    That was an amazing post, how very interesting. It would be such an experience to see it all first hand and to feel the atmosphere of history. Thank you for sharing this with the Blogger’s Pit Stop, we value quality posts.
    Blogger’s Pit Stop

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 15, 2017 at 11:03 am

      Thanks very much Kathleen, I appreciate the encouragement and engagement from you all. I love sharing these sorts of adventures. 😊


  10. September 12, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    Thanks for sharing this amazing and fascinating culture, Debbie.

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 15, 2017 at 11:02 am

      It’s been such an interesting trip Ruth, I’ve loved every minute of it and just had to share.

      Liked by 1 person

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