Guluyambi Cultural Cruise

Posted on October 21, 2012


When we went to Kakadu, my boys didn’t like the flies, mossies or ants. Then we went on the Guluyambi (paper bark boat) Cultural Cruise on the East Alligator River.


Our guide was Neville Namarnyilk who pointed out over 20 crocodiles and the supermarket of trees for food, medicine and making things.

“The Man versus Wild guy swam across the Amazon but not here,” he said.

We got off on the Arnhem Land side of the river and Neville crushed up a green ant nest in his hands. We all tasted the strong limey flavour.

The boys threw spears into the river and when we got back, my boys wouldn’t leave the guys who were making spears and woomeras, so we stayed.

These guys are all cousins from Oenpelli in Arnhem Land, their grandfather was famous and respected. It was lovely to spend time with them.

They cooked a magpie goose they’d caught, on coals and it was sweet. They drank very sweet tea boiled in a large tin. They are very knowledgeable.

These young men grew up hunting in Arnhem Land, they’re very strong at throwing a spears, they did target practice in between tours.

They make the spear tips out of iron wood and use nearby plants for string.

They made my son a spear. What a great gift to give.

Human kindness.

I lived with rangers at Ubirr 22 years ago. Neville said, “Welcome back.”

I have a deep love and respect for the land and its people, which my father taught me, I grew up with his stories of being a teacher at Beswick Creek in the 1950s. I didn’t expect my children to feel the same connection but they did, I’d told them stories too.

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