Just down off Nullo Mountain on the western edge of the Wollemi National Park where I was lucky enough to tag along with a survey party recording indigenous sites. Uncle John Shipp led the team of six up through thick bush to escarpments ringing with the songs of lyrebirds. Up in these panoramic places we searched for remnants of stone tools hidden over time on the sandy floors and ’lore’ painted in ochre on the overhanging cave walls.
Some sacred sites were already recorded by National Parks and Wildlife but others were fresh finds and their co-ordinates had to be logged along with descriptions and photos. One newly discovered cave was 65 metres long with lots of red ochre stencils of hands belonging to previous male custodians. Others were sprayed with yellow ochre, the colour of women.
It was a real privilege to walk this spectacular country with Uncle John and the A team and to feel the ancestors all around us. Our finds help us to understand the history of this remarkable area but there are still many missing pieces in the jigsaw puzzle. Some landowners are fearful that such expeditions will jeopardise their tenure and have refused entry but this is simply not true. Maybe one day they’ll see the light and help this professional Parks mob complete the picture of this important part of New South Wales formerly known as Wiradjuri country.