9 April 2015: Trip to Tiwi Islands
Wanderoos and grandson Nathan were looking forward to our ferry trip and day on the Tiwi Islands. Nathan was captivated by puppies on deck, whilst GirlRob tried to capture photos of sea snakes and giant turtles in the ocean. We landed on the red soil of Bathurst Island, and were welcomed by Wurrumiyanga / Nguiu people with a smoking ceremony, pleased to hear about the totems or stories of each dance. The damper and billy tea on offer went down very well, before we were taken on a tour of the small township.
We heard that the striking Tutini poles are made from the trunk of an ironwood tree, and carved and decorated to celebrate the deceased person’s life and spiritual journey, ready for the Pukumani (burial) ceremony.
Next was a wander through the Patakijiyali Museum with its old photos and stories of the Island's history, its place in WWII, its heroes, the culture and lifestyle of the people.
The Catholic Church has a long revered history with the Tiwis - and an interesting blend of both cultures is still practiced. We heard about the radio watch in WWII (including how, to their detriment, Darwin ignored their warning of the Japanese invasion)
We were thrilled to not only tour the arts and craft workshop, talking to/watching artists at work, but also to receive an excellent lesson in screen printing. GirlRob was pleased with her rainbow turtles, but Nathan's shark stole the show!
Spent (lots of!) money in the Art store, so we will be able to look at our indigenous painting on the wall of our house and thus remember our wonderful day for many years to come.