Red Centre Way (Mereenie Loop): Between the Lines, Day 24/Trip 2019 (Tuesday, 21st May)

Palm Valley – Hermannsburg – Gosses Bluff – Kings Canyon Resort (250 kms)

In this post, I will talk mainly about the things/thoughts that happen between the attractions and sights.

So, let’s get the sights etc out of the way.  Watched children canoeing in the river early in the morning.  Into the Hermannsburg Mission (third time) for coffee, where we saw our new friend “Pete from Geelong”. Drove down the Mereenie Loop (4WD road) to King’s Canyon at speed. Took a via-a-via to visit Gosses Bluff, the site of a large meteorite strike 142.5 million years ago (take note!)

Palm Valley Campsite
Wifi in the wild

One of the pleasures of travelling in this way, is making new friends, and in some cases re-meeting the same people as one travels the same basic route.  We met “Pete from Geelong” at Palm Valley, and he was the guy who helped me with my “bashplate” problem. He is travelling around with his brother and sister-in-law (2 cars); and they look very different – the brothers not he and his sister-in-law. Pete comented on his Mum and the milkman!  Pete is a “rough diamond” but with a heart of gold. We learned that he cared for both his father and his disabled daughter. We ran into him at the Hermannsburg Mission and at Kings Canyon and … [climbing Uluru .. but that is for another post.]

Pete from Geelong

“Pete the brother” and I visited Gosses Bluff.  We met a couple who seemed somewhat skeptical about the science behind the meteorite strike, and dates associated with long ago events; I surmised we might be talking to Seventh Day Adventists (or worse :).  This got me thinking about myths and fairy tales that start along the following lines:

Once upon a time …

In the beginning God created …

In the dreamtime, …

Gosses Bluff Crater

According the the Indigenous people of the area, the crater happened as a result of five (?) women dancing across the skies (creating the Milky Way) and one dropped an infant in a cradle (the meteorite), thus creating the crater.  So far, so good. In fact, it is testament to their observational and imaginative powers. But, the signboards went on the try and equate “this story” with the science, and I do object to this. I object to this in the same way that cretinists (oops, creationists) try to claim that the biblical description of the creation is somehow scientifically valid.  So, my question is, why are the Indigenous Dreamtime myths – and they are many and varied – given so much prominence and indeed creedence? That said, there are some fine stories .. and perhaps that is their power .. they are fine stories passed on by word of mouth from generation to generation.

I have talked about high-speed driving on gravel and corrugated roads before.  Peter took the helm – so to speak – and I had him thundering down the road at 100kph.  After a few minor hiccups, we decided to reduce the speed to 90kph. I took over after a lunch, and further decided that 80kph was optimal – in smoothing out the bumps, and being a manageable speed. We were flagged down by a guy travelling in the opposite direction, who asked had we seen his swag.  No, were hadn’t. A couple of hours later we checked into King’s Canyon, and there was a swag leaning against the counter. Some good Samaritan (no escaping one’s own stories) had picked it up and left it at the resort. I have no idea if it was reunited with its owner; one can but hope.

Arty artefact
Along the Mereenie Loop
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  1. Lesley Ellis 24/05/2019 at 10:38 #

    I love the old creation stories. They are just so imaginative and each one is so different. I think of them as early attempts to provide a rational framework for why our world is like it is.
    Stories are so important in imagining, and imagining is a part of the scientific process. I get really fed-up with artists thinking scientists are not creative or imaginative. Some of the most amazing leaps in science have been on the back of imagining what might be happening and then testing it. After all Einsteins great theories started as thought experiments.

    • harperdj 25/05/2019 at 01:45 #

      Thanks Les .. it was the conclusion I was fumbling towards in my post.

      • harperdj 25/05/2019 at 02:26 #

        And, if I recall, the discovery of the Benzene Ring came about after a *dream* about women dancing in a ring. What a great dreamtime story.

  2. Hamish 25/05/2019 at 19:18 #

    What’s a “swag” ?
    Great pics , but I’m not going to comment on how God created the universe………….

    • harperdj 25/05/2019 at 20:54 #

      Once a jolly SWAGman camped by a billabong …

  3. Shelley 26/05/2019 at 01:24 #

    Fabulous photography as always David. Love the sunrise reflected in the water … or was it the sunset?

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