Words, David Allinson
Last Sunday I was fortunate enough to get out for a walk with the Kununurra Hash House Harriers, a local bush walking society. Or, as a local described them to me, a ‘drinking club with a walking problem’. They were very friendly and the walk was stunning — we took a track up on to one of the local ranges, and ended down near a spring that emerges from a cave. The contrast in environments between the ridge and the spring was incredible. The first was a scrubby, tree-pocked landscape, against the backdrop of the characteristic red earth of the Kimberley. It was incredibly hot: the rocks had been baking all day, which gave me the impression I was walking across a frying pan on a low heat. As we descended to the spring however, the flora took on a much lusher, greener appearance. As we entered the cave it suddenly came to life: there were bats flying just above our heads, with tiger snakes hanging from the ceiling in their attempts to snatch the bats as they flew past. Buried in the earth nearby was a sleeping echidna who had taken the cool cave as a refuge from the oppressive heat outside. I wasn’t sure if the spring was sacred, so I decided not to cool off in the water (despite how inviting it was).
The work that I’ve been doing continues to be fascinating. The Aboriginal Heritage Act (WA) may soon be amended, and I have been asked to write a report on how the changes might affect MG Corporation. The day to day-business of the organisation is surprisingly fluid, allowing me to balance my longer-term projects against the varied daily business of an Aboriginal Corporation. I’ve also been getting more involved in meetings and consultations. The Dawang Council met on Thursday. It was a reminder of the fascinating challenges that face lawyers working in the native title area, especially when trying to impose decision making processes onto complex group dynamics during meetings. It is also wonderful to be given the opportunity to go out with Community Liason Officers to visit the local communities and to get a better understanding of the complex familial, political, and country-based relationships that form the background to the work of MG Corporation.
I also put up the Christmas decorations today — they now call me The Tinsel Whisperer.
You can read part three here.