This was one of Old Man’s favourite places; a site he took me to when he wanted to ‘tell story, ‘ for he had camped here as a child with his ‘old people,’ and listened closely to their stories, night after night.
Catfish Creek - AUD$350
During the Dry Season the local tribes would burn off the country, reducing the amount of tinder-dry bush that could burst into flame during the lightning storms of the following Wet. New grass would attract the wildlife to where the tribesmen waited with their spears.
Chicken Hawk - AUD$350
In the caves of this huge massif Old Man’s people would shelter through the storms of the Wet Season. A tiny handprint shows where his mother brought him when he was very small. This is also where he went through Law.
Fallen tree Nardab - AUD$350
I was looking for something in the landscape to introduce Old Man’s story about his ‘old people’ passing away. This shattered fallen tree, smoking in the last light of the day, seemed appropriate to that tale.
Fallen tree Nardab
Heart Shaped Rock - AUD$350
I was looking for a last picture to finish the book. At the summit of Ubirr was a pool with a heart-shaped rock. For me it symbolised the love that Old Man had for his country, and also the love that I had for that Old Man too.
Heart Shaped Rock
Injuwanyjuwa Moonlight - AUD$350
In Aboriginal belief Injuwanyjuwa is the creative being who made this landscape and then turned himself into this rock. No-one is allowed here on their own. A giant crocodile that lives in the billabong is like a guardian to this sacred place.
Jim Jim Falls - AUD$350
I came here on my first day in Kakadu. The Wet Season was just beginning, so the road to the Falls was due to close the next day. I was the last visitor for the year.
Jim Jim Falls
Knockem down Storm - AUD$350
These storms herald the end of the Wet. They arrive suddenly, galloping across the country and knocking down the speargrass, which during the Wet has grown taller than a man.
Knockem down Storm
Misty sunrise Nardab - AUD$350
The Dry Season mornings can be cold and foggy, the mist soon burnt off by the rising sun as flocks of honking magpie geese fly from one billabong to the next.
Misty sunrise Nardab
Moonlit Woolybutts - AUD$350
Old Man had begun to tell his tale, so I felt there was a gentle symbolism in how these two trees seemed to talk and listen to each other in the silver moonlight.
Mushroom Rock - AUD$350
Old Man had brought me here on our first trip into his country. Underneath the rock paintings stare down at you from the ceiling, the floor dimpled with holes that held the ochre, the rockface shiny from so many years of use.
Spirit Tree - AUD$350
Old Man told me his country was ‘calling out for him.’ I told him I didn't know where my home would be when my trip was finished. He told me not to worry. He said that my country would call me. ‘That tree, he call you in the night.’ So I thought I should try to capture that feeling in a picture.
Ubirr Sunrise - AUD$350
The sun rises over the distant ramparts of the Arnhem Land plateau. Soon the sun will warm the rocks and you’ll be looking for shade, and in those shady places is where you’ll find the paintings that Old Man looked after all his life.
Ubirr Trees - AUD$350
As the sun sinks over the floodplain this place fills with birdsong, the sound of an agile wallaby thumping through the undergrowth, a chorus of frogs, the shrill of cicadas, the calling of black cockatoos on their way to roost in the treetops.
Old Man by the fire - AUD$350
As Old Man looked into the lens I told him, ‘Old Man, look into the lens as if you’re telling the person looking at this picture ‘Now YOU, you look after this story.’ In the light of the flashlight, I can see those old eyes of his. Even now.
Old Man by the fire
Old Man in the truck - AUD$350
This picture was taken on one of our last journeys together. I wanted a picture to remind me of the times we had spent together travelling though his country, me at the wheel, he with his lip pushed forward, pointing the way ahead.
Old Man in the truck
Old Man in wheelchair - AUD$350
A life of smoking had left Old Man with hardly any breath to speak. It didn’t stop him however, for he still had so much that he wanted to say before he passed away. That is when he began to tell his last story; his wishes for his people.
Old Man in wheelchair
Old Mans footprint - AUD$350
I wanted Old Man to leave his signature upon the story that he had told. Aboriginal people can tell from a footprint who it belongs to. What better way for him to leave his signature. Upon the earth to which he would soon return.
Old Mans footprint
Old Man and Ricky - AUD$350
Ricky was like a little Old Man himself. He was Old Man's great grandson. Only four years old, he would follow Old Man everywhere. Old Man wanted him to listen closely to every story that he told.