Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Kuku Yalanji bama - The Land of the Yalanji people

Above: Cameron, our Yalanji guide shows us the use of the Karrandal (Latin Alphitonia philippinensis; English - Soap Tree) - by crushing it a lather is produced. The soap also has antiseptic qualities. It smells of linament - nature's Dencorub!)

Before Captain Cook foundered on a reef off Cooktown, before the cane-growers and dairymen, and tourists arrived in the land from Mossman to Cooktown, there lived the Yalanji bama (Yalanji people), taking care of the land and having the land take care of them.

At Mossman Gorge you can take a guided walk through the rainforest with the traditional owners and custodians of this land. The wonderful Cameron taught and showed us things we never would have learned or seen otherwise. It was fabulous to have someone so enthusiastically share aspects of his traditional culture with us.
Below: Ochres mixed with water were used for body decoration. The dots represent raindrops, the stripes the rivers.


  1. thank you so much. you know I love these field trips. They are fascinating.

  2. I think we could all re-learn a lot from people who live close to the land. Sounds like a fascinating tour!

  3. Sally sorry I missed your previous posts about Cairns, just caught up now. Life is good to you!!! How lucky you are to attend conferences that take you to Rome and Cairns.

    I would have loved to take that guided walk with you. I have a clear idea of where Mossman gorge is located and I've sent numerous clients there but I didn't know about these Aboriginal guided visits. That's great!

    I really enjoyed your other posts too. Glad you enjoyed the low isle cruise.

  4. My husband and I took a wonderful tour with a native guide in Alaska several years ago. I was amazed at how beautifully humans and nature coexisted and how many uses there were for all the native plants. Sometimes I feel very disconnected from the earth in my modern civilization.

    Lovely shots today, Sally. I wish everyone would paint themselves -- I think it's so festive!

  5. What a fantastic experience with so much to learn and enjoy. I love the photos and the commentary.

  6. These are beautiful photograph. I particular love the first. Great portrait and fascinating to read the commentary too. There used to be a great restaurant at Mossman called Going Bananas where the mad owner would sit on your lap and feed you!