Day 78. Gapuwiyak and Raymangirr

This morning we walked to the site of a plane crash about half a kilometre from the end of the Gapuwiyak runway. In 2001 a Cessna crashed shortly after takeoff, the 26-year-old male pilot was the only one on board and died immediately. It was quite an eerie and sad thing to see the mess of wreckage amongst the beautiful tropical bush land.

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78 AnnaAfterwards I went back to the Art Centre and bought one of the mats. I had seen it earlier in the week and loved it; I think it will be a lovely reminder of our time in Gapuwiyak. It was woven by Anna (pictured); she is the daughter of Lucy who we had met earlier in the week. Anna is Gutjan as well which makes her my sister. According to Yolngu tradition, she is still learning, as you are not ‘allowed’ to be as good as your mother or those older than you are.

Later we managed to get our footy fix as Gapuwiyak played a home game today against one of the Yirrkala teams. Gapuwiyak got up in a close game. Yay! There is a full time AFL development officer called Mick based here in Gapuwiyak. He has been here for about a year and does other men’s health and development as well as the football side of things. He informed us that unsurprisingly the players are much more focused on attack than defence. It made for exciting, but somewhat aggravating viewing. It was quite nice watching the footy in the sunshine, Katrina a friend from Melbourne reported watching her boys play today through fog, with the high for the day in the low teens.

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Note the fence doubling up as the locker, to store your shoes while playing, and below the bike with no wheel. Still makes a good seat.

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In the late afternoon, Adam took us out to Raymangirr homeland on Arnhem Bay in the back of his troopie. He is the teacher at the homeland school there. Homelands are the traditional home of specific Yolngu clans. They are much more basic than the towns and the schools are run differently with a much greater emphasis on practical skills and traditional culture. Many of the families will spend time between the homelands and the bigger towns. There was supposed to be a ceremony as part of a funeral today but as some of the dancers had not arrived the dancing was put off till tomorrow. There was however some more sedate yidaki (didgeridoo) playing and chanting happening. Funerals are major deals here often lasting days, and are often months after the person has died. Some of the local children took us down to the beach and showed us a mother pig and her piglets. Many of these children we had met in Gapuwiyak in the preceding week.

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