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On Leichhardt's path Kakadu 1845 : reflections bushwalking a time tunnel

Baschiera, Dan (2012). On Leichhardt's path Kakadu 1845 : reflections bushwalking a time tunnel. (3rd ed.) [Australia : The Author, 2012?].

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Author Baschiera, Dan
Title On Leichhardt's path Kakadu 1845 : reflections bushwalking a time tunnel
Publisher [Australia : The Author, 2012?]
Publication Year 2012
Edition 3rd
Total Pages 119
Field of Research 430101 History - Australian
Abstract Leichhardt’s original hand drawn map shows the heading north he took in Kakadu National Park to where he met Jim Jim Creek. Marked with the asterisk is his expedition’s camp of the night of November 16th 1845. The next day he followed the creek downstream to stand atop the cliffs of the now famous Jim Jim Falls where he realised, with an enormous relief, that in the valley below he may have finally discovered one of the three Alligator River catchments. The mouth of any of these rivers, he knew, would give him the coordinates to guide him toward his destination – the Victoria settlement in Port Essington.

After two days trying to descend the cliffs, he spent the evening of the 18th of November 1845 alone above these magnificent falls enjoying the gorgeous colours of the outback twilight that Kakadu can produce. Leichhardt assisted his poor eyesight to look out across the dimming plains with the small sighting scope on his sextant. The funding for Australia’s first scientific expedition was so limited it did not have a proper telescope…

Probably unbeknown to Leichhardt as he scanned the valley before him, a few eyes from an ancient civilisation had been following his every move. The young Aboriginal bachelors living atop the escarpment would have been fascinated by the brass work of his large lattice sextant. What did this ‘first contact’ mean in the Dreamtime? Such a strange object needed demystifying and so was painted on the rock wall of a shelter. This shelter lies directly on Leichhardt’s path of November 1845.

The ‘first contact’ painting in Kakadu is not guns but possibly a scientific instrument, Ludwig Leichhardt’s sextant. The gun paintings came later...


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Created: Thu, 09 Jan 2014, 16:20:26 CST by Iwona Rohoza