Journey through the apocalypse

Ria Warrawah, Wooredy and Truganini

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  • Published 20171107
  • ISBN: 9781925498424
  • Extent: 264pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

HALF BURIED IN the sand, uprooted stalks of kelp are like splashes of dark blood against the white quartzite, ground fine as talc. In the translucent shallows, tendrils flounce lazily as the water gradually turns to turquoise then a deep Prussian blue at the horizon. Behind the crescent of beach, matted tentacles of spongy pigface disguise accumulated detritus of crayfish, oyster, abalone and scallop shells, rubbish middens that have been thousands of years in the making. This beach reclines at the far end of an exquisite table-shaped body of water in the far south-east corner of Tasmania that is known as Recherche Bay, so named by the French explorer Bruni D’Entrecasteaux, who rested his ships Recherche and Esperance in the bay during April and May 1792.

Before the French arrived, this place was called Lyleatea. It was an important ritual site for the Nuenonne people, who journeyed in bark canoes from Bruni – the long offshore island to the north they knew as Lunawanna Alonnah – to meet with the Needwondee and Ninine people, who travelled overland from the west. For millennia they made this trip: the same seasonal migration; the same ritual feast.

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