Tuesday, 16 April 2024

Marvellous Innamincka

We had a huge day setting up the Kinipapa Remount and ‘Hotel’ is an understatement because it’s more like a resort!  Beautifully laid out, great rooms, great pub meals. Thanks Nichelle, Geoff and all the crew for making our stay so comfortable.

For the uninitiated, one claim to fame for Innamincka is it’s pretty much the site for the Burke and Wills expedition’s demise. A story of endurance, ignorance and bad luck, it’s an intriguing story. A good demonstration of local knowledge really. A bunch of Yanduruwandha-Yawarrawarrka people can hang out in perfect health whilst the poor Europeans wither and die. Still, it was an incredible trek from South to North by the expedition in what must have been to them an inhospitable land.  Not that you’d know it now. The rivers are flowing full of fish and mussels, swamps and lakes abound with frogs and birdlife. The frogs even come into the rooms at times!

We got the projector set up and did a dry run Thursday night. Starlink enabled remote connection to NSW where our technical guru, Craig, could oversee the works in real time, adding, changing and building on the run.  Amazing pioneering technology. Really emphasising the WFH revolution!

The next day the show was up and running for all the intrepid travellers, tourists, locals, TO’s from the Yandruwandha-Yarrawarraka and crew from SANTS.  It looked great! The beautiful Artwork of Yandruwandha and Yawarrawarraka Artists was wonderfully animated as everyone strolled across the National Parks Building at the edge of the now green desert. Indigenous and other local people sat around the fire, watching in awe and trading stories as the animation unfolded.  Illuminart were so pleased to provide a vehicle for people to tell their stories in the very place where the stories came from. An onsite moving Art installation that people had travelled hundreds of kilometres to see, and the lucky tourists who were there on the night received a rare treat. It was a real coming together of different peoples.

Having shown the looping story on opening night it was time to ensure that the automated programming put together by Craig works as planned.

On a personal note, I went to ‘The Dig Tree’ just out of Innamincka with members of SANTS, where they were recording oral histories of some Women who were Traditional Owners of the land we were projecting on. Am excellent bit of down-time for me to hear them speak, and also to witness the site where Burke and Wills met their lonely deaths. We left with more questions than answers from our visit. Why did they die when King, their compatriot, didn’t? How did Burke ‘alienate’ the local Indigenous people? Why did Wills die with him? What did they mean when they said Burke “punished” Gray when he caught him stealing food.  Did it have anything to do with Gray’s death 3 weeks later?  There was even talk that King had ancestors from the time he spent being looked after by the Yantruwanta people before his ‘rescue’ by Alfred Howitt some 70 days later.

We marvelled at how much water was in the Cooper Creek, the budgerigars that abounded in the Coolabah trees, and pondered how these trees that were hundreds of years old had witnessed so many events beneath their spreading limbs. The country here is amazing, and I feel so lucky to see it blossoming with so much water around. And the biggest surprise of all, frogs in the rooms. Did I say we were in a desert?!

Let us know how you go with your travels by stopping past our Facebook page.

Find out more about the Kinipapa remount and Paroo’s Outback River Lights Festival.


#travellingaustralia #nomads #kinipapa #illuminartstoriesinlight #sants #YandruwandhaYarrawarraka