Places, Places we went
Comments 9

Spinifex and Smoke

Spinifex Plain Karijini National Park Pilbara Western Australia

“We rose early, for we were eager to make contact with the man and the woman who had signalled us. Travelling almost due north of the bearing we had obtained the previous evening, we had gone eight kilometres when Mudjon called a halt and proceeded to fire the Spinifex once more.” – W.J. Peasley, The last of the Nomads

As the sudden appearance of strangers could cause alarm amongst some of the Aboriginal groups that still lived a traditional way of life in the ’50s and ’60s, the practice of setting fire to clumps of spinifex when approaching an area possibly inhabited was adopted by most patrols and expeditions. Not only would the smoke announce your presence, it would also invite a reply.

I have been of the grid for some time, consumed by urban life, coping with mundane matters. To avoid sudden surprise, I’ve chosen to signal some smoke by posting a picture of this spinifex-studded landscape in Karijini National Park, first in a series of posts long due!



  1. What a wonderful anecdote about exploration in a time when most of the rest of the world was already subjected to western civilisation’s exploitation.

    Now that we’re sufficiently forewarned, Maurice, I’m looking forward to what you have install for us with great anticipation!

    • These are amazing stories Dries, with contacts between people that didn’t know of each other’s existence; as well of that of motor vehicles, airplanes and radio’s. The last group wandering into our civilisation so far was in the mid ’80s! To see and feel under which circumstances they had to survive only deserves our deepest awe and respect.

      • Absolutely Maurice! And the arrogance with which “our” culture treated them, for so long believing these people to be “a class below” to put it very euphemistically, is really shameful. Had we only learned from them, and their interaction with their environs, we would not have had to cope with half the environmental issues we sit with today.

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