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  • We head back south to visit Mutawintji National Park and to meet Mark, our Aboriginal guide. He takes our group to the visitor centre, where we are introduced to one of the stories of the park. It travels far back in time through earthquakes, floods, and drought. It gives us a glimpse into the geological past. The people were bad and forced to flee, followed by drought and then flood (a familiar story). All around us the red broken cliffs show the ancient people who were punished, a constant reminder.

    Eventually Kuluwirru (the God of the Malyankapa and Pandjikali people) relents and brings the people back to paradise — Mutawintji, meaning a place of green grass and waterholes.

    Mutawintji is also a place of ceremony and sacred stories. A place strong in spirit. There are places where only men can go, and places only for women. These are now out of bounds. But we are shown other rock overhangs where there are hundreds of hand prints. Young men coming back from ceremony would put their hand print on the wall to show that this is their land and where they belong. The last ceremony was in the 1940s Mark tells us.

    There are also rock engravings showing emu and kangaroo tracks. And there are stories engraved into the rock to remind the people of their obligations and how lucky they are to live here. A story at least 8,000 years old and still being told today.

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