November 8 - 14, 2015: Issue 239
By George Repin
Located on the Kimberley Coast of Western Australia Raft Point is the site of “galleries” of indigenous rock art of the Wandjina period. Unlike Bigge Island no examples of Gwion Gwion art (occasionally referred to as Bradshaw Rock Art) are in these “galleries”.
Wandjina art was first recorded in the Kimberleys by George Grey, an explorer, in 1837. Characteristically the painted figures appear to have haloes around their heads with mouthless faces and round eyes on either side of an ovoid nose. They are believed to be over 4,000 years old.
Raft Point is an impressive rock headland. Boab trees are notable on the easily accessible beach.
Boab trees on the beach
The tree Adansonia gregorii, commonly known as the “boab”, is indigenous to Australia occurring in the Kimberley region of Western Australia and east into the Northern Territory. It is easily recognised by the swollen base of its trunk giving it a bottle-like appearance. Trees range in height from 5 to 15 metres. The trunk base may be very large with some trees recorded with bases five metres in diameter. The trunk may be so large that hollowed-out boab trees have even been used as lock-ups. The Boab Prison Tree in Derby was used in this way in the 1890s to hold indigenous prisoners awaiting sentencing.
The tree is a succulent, flowering and deciduous - and very slow growing. A boab at Wyndham is 20 metres high and is estimated to be 2000 years old.
Species occur in Madagascar, mainland Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.
The tree has many uses. Most parts are edible. The young leaves are rich in Vitamin C. Indigenous people have valued it for its ability to store water in dry seasons. The bark can be used to weave fabric to make clothing or ropes.
Many common names have been applied to the tree including “bottle tree”, “upside down tree”, “gouty stem tree” and “dead rat tree”. Some indigenous Australians call it “gadawon”. The species name recognises the Australian explorer Augustus Gregory.
Young boab trees
The accessible rock art at Raft Point is in two recesses under overhanging rocks – one above the other. These two recesses are referred to by some as the lower and upper galleries. The photographs accompanying this article are examples of paintings in both galleries.
Photographs taken by George Repin in 2002
Above and Below: Rock art in the "lower gallery"
Above and below: Rock art in the "upper gallery"
Previous Reflections by George Repin
The Nineteen Thirties Remembering Rowe Street The Sydney Push Saturday Night at the Movies Shooting Through Like A Bondi Tram A Stop On The Road To Canberra City Department Stores - Gone and Mostly Forgotten An Australian Icon - thanks to Billy Hughes Crossing The Pacific in the 1930s Hill End The Paragon at Katoomba Seafood In Sydney How Far From Sydney? Cockatoo Island Over The Years The Seagull at the Melbourne Festival in 1991 Busby's Bore The Trocadero In Sydney Cahill's restaurants Medical Pioneers in Australian Wine Making Pedal Power and the Royal Flying Doctor Service Pambula and the Charles Darwin Connection Gloucester and the Barrington Tops A Millenium Apart Have You Stopped to Look? Gulgong Il Porcellino Olympia Durham Hall Sargent's Tea Rooms Pie Shops and Street Photographers The Ballet Russes and Their Friends in Australia Hotels at Bondi Alma Ata Conference - 1978 Keukenhof - 1954 The Lands Department Building and Yellowblock Sandstone The Goroka Show - 1958 A Gem On The Quay Staffa The Matson Line and Keepsake Menus Kokeshi Dolls The Coal Mine At Balmain The Hyde Park Barracks The Changing Faces Of Sydney From Pounds and Pence to Dollars and Cents Nell Tritton and Alexander Kerensky Making A Difference In Ethiopia William Balmain J C Bendrodt and Princes Restaurant Azzalin Orlando Romano and Romano's Restaurant Waldheim Alcohol in Restaurants Before 1955 King Island Kelp The Mercury Theatre Around Angkor - 1963 Angkor Wat 1963 Costumes From the Ballets Russe Clifton at Kirribilli Chairman Mao's Personal Physician The Toby Tavern The MoKa at Kings Cross The Oceaographic Museum in Monaco The Island of Elba Russian Fairy Tale Plates Meteora Souda Bay War Cemetery Barrow, Alaska Cloisonné Tripitaka Koreana Minshuku The Third Man Photographs and Memories Not A Chagall! Did You Listen? Did You Ask? Napier (Ahuriri, Maori) New Zealand Borobudur Ggantija Temples Plumes and Pearlshells Murano University of Padua Ancient Puebloe Peoples - The Anasazi Pula The Gondolas of Venice Cinque Terre Visiting the Iban David The Living Desert Bryce Canyon National Park Aphrodisias The Divine Comedy Caodaism Sapa and local Hill People A Few Children Cappadocia Symi Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre Aboriginal Rock Art on Bigge Island ANZAC Cove (Ari Burnu) 25 April, 1997 Hotere Garden Oputae Children of the Trobriand Islands Page Park Market - Rabaul Rabual Kotor, Montenegro Galleries of Photographs I Lascaux Galleries of Photographs II The Cathedral of St. James – Šibenik, Croatia Ivan Meštrović - Sculptor Delphi Gallery of Photographs III The Handicrafts of Chiang Mai
Copyright George Repin 2015. All Rights Reserved.