Trail guide Richard Hunter shares his oral culture at a storytelling spot used for generations.

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    Walkers get an early morning start across the tidal zone near Quondong Point, about halfway along the walk, 45km north of Broome.

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    This grinding stone was left at a campsite long ago. “No need to carry them around, eh,” Richard Hunter explains. “Just leave them where you need – just like today, it’s still here for us.”

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    Children splash around a tidal zone at Quondong Point. Young Goolarabooloo men will hunt local turtles with handmade spears and harpoons. A successful hunt will see a turtle gutted and cleaned, its entrails boiled up for broth and the meat cooked in a fry pan with bush seasoning.

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    From a distance this stand of rocks appears unremarkable, however closer inspection reveals an ancient grove of petrified trees that stand guard over the expanse of the Indian Ocean.

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    “Your hands are your best tools,” Richard Hunter tells the group as he creates delicate decorative ornaments. Richard says that founder of the Lurujarri trail, Paddy Roe, was also a fan of making things from scratch.

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    Barred Creek, also known as Nuwirrar, is about 35km north of Broom. The campsite is considered a good place for crab hunting and fishing.

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    Terry Hunter Jr and his young son share a walk on the beach at Yellow Creek on the final afternoon of the 2012 journey.

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    Teresa Roe – daughter of Paddy Roe, founder of the Lurujarri Trail – has raised her ten children, as well as the seven children of her late sister, and numerous members of her extended family in the remnants of what was once the Broome Native Hospital. Teresa still lives in the building today, caring for the various grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and nephews, friends and family that pass through.

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    It is the trail volunteers that are the beating heart of the Lurrujarri Trail operation. Most volunteers have walked the trail themselves in years past. Each has been touched in some way by their experience with the Goolarabooloo. Each morning, fire-warmed porridge fills the stomachs of hungry walkers, as camp is broken before the mob moves out in the cool of the morning air.

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    “The old man he bury the last old people in these dunes,” Richard Hunter tells the group as they reach the edges of an expansive dune system. “I seen people ride motorbikes and drive cars on it, eh. No good, we gotta protect this place.” These dunes are laced with the bones of the old people who have been buried where they passed on, in the older camps that are now left in peace out of respect.

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    Quondong Point is just south of James Price Point, the site where an enormous gas processing and shipping hub has been proposed. In the fight against the industrialisation of the Kimberley coast, the Goolarabooloo have enlisted the support of many independent environmental groups to gather data about the region’s unique environment. Humpback whales, which frequent the waters during their annual migration to and from important nursery areas to the north, are being counted by volunteers and marine science graduates who share a scaffold platform.

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    Richard Hunter’s storytelling begins early each morning and punctuates the daily routine of walking, hunting and gathering. Stories begin spontaneously. If a story was missed by anyone, others would relay it as walking resumed, mimicking the natural oral flow of stories within the mob.

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    Ronnie Roe is a grandson of Paddy Roe, the inspiration for the Lurujarri Trail. Ronnie was listening to his beloved football team, the Collingwood magpies, on a tiny radio held to his ear, when a Land Cruiser burst into camp with a freshly shot cow carcass roped loosely to its roof. “Cattle roam the bush, left over from the old cattle stations,” says Ronnie, as he expertly dissects the carcass to ready it for the hotplate.

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    At Barren Creek, walga walga (salmon) are caught with spears and eaten fresh off the hot coals.

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Gallery: The Lurujarri Heritage Trail

By AG STAFF | December 13, 2012

Walk alongside the Goolarabooloo community on a journey that traces their 82km songline north of Broome, WA.