You could see the orange glow of Mars just above the horizon. Further up is Jupiter. Next to it Saturn with Pluto hiding in the middle*. The spectacular night sky show of the heavens was just commencing…
Scanning closer to the horizon, the darkness was broken by a scattering of lights filtering through the bushes. Distant muffled voices of nearby campers offer some reminder, or even reassurance, we were not alone as we lay gazing out from our tent window.
It’s a draw card for selfies for those who dare to risk their smartphones.
Here at Karijini National Park, it’s the impressive water holes, like mini lakes, such as Fortescue Falls, that are the huge attraction during the heat of the day. A water fall feeds the natural water pool. It’s a draw card for selfies for those who dare to risk their smartphones. Ascending above the waters edge is a natural amphitheater of steps. It seems the natural setting where you could more imagine the likes of seals soaking up the sun. Instead it’s people of all ages. Some reading, others just enjoying the experience.
North of the park is another of Karijini’s highlights, Hammersley Gorge. Descending down the cliff face, carefully measuring each foot step, a large natural water pool provides a welcoming relief. It’s not only refreshing but enticing. The magnificence of its raw natural beauty, the deep red cliff face on either side of the gorge, is stunning.
As if a giant crack just a couple billion years ago split the rocky ground wide open.
Or Joffre Gorge in the middle of the park. As if a giant crack just a couple billion years ago split the rocky ground wide open. To then fill with water, creating a narrow meandering water course making its way through the length of the gorge. Surrounded on each side by the rugged steep cliff faces, it draws you further up the four hundred metre stretch of water. The silent ambience swimming up the gorge only broken by the ripples of water.
But outside this national park with its magnificent gorges and oasis of water pools, it’s hard to imagine how or why anyone could survive in this hot and arid land. Except for one thing. The massive resources that lay below the surface.
Its mind boggling to see the extent of this huge construction works spanning an otherwise barren wasteland.
The mining operations extend right to the fringes of the park. Just north of the park, a massive construction project is underway. FMG mining is developing the nearby Solomon mine site. Endless trucks and road trains break the otherwise monotonous landscape to serve the construction of a new railway and road network. Its mind boggling to see the extent of this huge construction works spanning an otherwise barren wasteland. That is just one region. The scope of mining in this part of the country is massive. The resources and machinery being continually transported on the highways north is just one indication of the scale and economic impact of this industry.
But a wasteland is not how the traditional owners of this land saw it. Australia’s indigenous people had a special connection with the land.
It seems to take generations before we often realise the blindness of our thinking on many social and environmental issues. Looking back fifty or so years, it’s often a what were we thinking revelation.
Only now are we starting to seriously seek the expertise of the aboriginal traditional owners for their guidance to prevent recent devastating bushfires. Experience learned from their tens of thousands of years managing the land.
I heard an aboriginal talking about their life being raised on a cattle station here in the outback. The old stockman said, he didn’t care if he earnt a dollar or a million dollars. He just loved being connected to and looking after this land.
I wonder if in fifty or a hundred years we will have another what were we thinking revelation.
I wonder if in fifty or a hundred years we will have another what were we thinking revelation. To look back at the land we now mine for short term economic gain. To perhaps then realise what we had is gone. What the indigenous people of this land had understood for tens of thousands of years before us. But what we failed to appreciate and destroyed over just a couple hundred years?
In the mean time, surrounding these special preserved natural treasures, there’s no denying our current thinking is a broad acceptance of the economic benefits this massive mining industry generates.
For further information….
* Check out the skyview app. I discovered planets I never thought were so readily visible.
Karijini National Park is about an hour and half from Tom Price. Tom Price is a fully serviced town with a large well stocked supermarket at city prices, pub, fuel, etc.