Middle Lagoon, Cape Leveque, Bush Tucker and the Milky Way

image
Cape Leveque

After a sad goodbye to the grandparents, we drove out of Broome and down 90 kilometres of a very bumpy dirt road and then turned off down an even bumpier dirt road, where we drove another 32 kilometres to the Aboriginal-owned land of Middle Lagoon. 

By the time we arrived, something was rattling in the car and one of the doors on the back of the trailer had been blown open, the lock busted. Miraculously, nothing had fallen out.

And we were lucky to get a camp spot above the beach with panoramic views of the ocean—the most picturesque site we’ve had.  In the evening the kids met up with a dozen other kids and made damns in the sand of the receding tide as the sun set and parents watched from above.

image
Kids on the beach at sunset, Middle Lagoon

After sunset, a full fat yellow moon rose up over the camp.  During home school the next day, K wrote in her journal:

Last night the full moon was so bright we had moon shadows walking to the toilets.  We gazed up at the night sky to look for shooting stars.  I saw airplanes and the Southern Cross, but no shooting stars.  The moon was so bright we did not need a torch or a lantern to guide us!

image
Home school

The next night, after sunset and before moonrise, we turned the lights out and looked again for shooting stars. I showed K the Milky Way.  “We’re going to miss this when we go back to Sydney,” she said.

“We can still go camping,” I offered.

“But we won’t see the stars like this,” she said.

And she’s more right than I would’ve suspected.  The next day I happened to read an article in The Guardian Weekly about light pollution around the world and learned that “99% of people living in the U.S. and the European Union” can’t see the Milky Way.  And, with LEDs, the situation is worsening.

The night sky is the stuff of legends, creation myths, poetry.  Milton described the Milky way as “a broad and ample road whose dust is gold, and pavement stars”.

We’re blessed that there are so many spots outside the cities of Australia that are free from light pollution. . . and we’re still waiting for K to catch one of those shooting stars . . .

image
K in tree at campsite at Koojaman

After Middle Lagoon we drove to Koojaman, another campsite on Aboriginal land.  image

image
Sunset, Kooljaman

I’ve been reading a bit of history on this region, the Kimberley, which was the last place in Australia to pay their indigenous employees.  Most of the stations here hired Aboriginals for no money, and “paid” them with bread and tea; it wasn’t until the 1960s that they began to receive wages.

These days things have changed.  The Bardi and Jawi people have reclaimed some of their land, including both of the places we camped, thanks to the Native Title Act.  

K and I took a cultural tour with a local Aboriginal man, Bundy, who told us about one of the stories from Bardi dreamtime, and how it connects to which foods are safe to eat in the bush.  Then we went for a walk and sampled berries from various trees, and learned about the medicinal qualities of the bark and leaves of other trees.  It was a humbling experience to listen to a man tell us about a culture—his culture—tens of thousands of years old.  image  

Advertisements

Author: sarahklenbort

I'm a Sydney-based writer, casual academic, mum, former president of the P&C, and founder of Auslan Afternoons, a play group for parents of deaf children who are interested in learning Auslan.

6 thoughts on “Middle Lagoon, Cape Leveque, Bush Tucker and the Milky Way”

  1. Hooray for all the fun on the Dampier Peninsula! The old grandparents are missing both generations, but can’t say we’re sorry to miss out on the corrugated road experience to Cape Leveque. We are still aglow from the [tamer] fun in Broome. Keep writing, K! Keep blogging, S!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We found Middle Lagoon a bit too late after staying at Kooljaman. We also loved One-Arm Bay and the shell factory and especially Pender Bay (there is a very beautiful cafe on the bay and a gorgeous beach with amazing shells – we saw a lot of bays there at Whalesong Cafe!) There’s a lot of people up there at this time of year but it is still beautiful. I hope you enjoyed Bundy and his tour!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. thanks for telling me about your blog! I just read your whole last 6 months! I’m on school holidays in Barcelona, hiding from the heat of the day, and am now very homesick! haha. I need to take my van and explore more of Australia. There are many places you have been I am familiar with, but so many more to explore! Food for thought! And love to see the uke getting out! Mine came with me too! Enjoy!

    Like

  4. What a joy to read about your grand adventure through Australia, Sarah! Thank you for taking the time and effort to share your wonderful writing and gorgeous photos of the landscape and your darling family. Looking forward to future installments!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s