Days 13, 14: Quinkan Rock Art and Laura Dance Festival

19th, 20th June, 2015

After brekkie we packed up and headed into Laura for our lunchtime Quinkan Rock Art Tour. That was amazing! Our guide, Johnny, took us in his Landcruiser through Crocodile Station to aboriginal lands. For the past 35,000 years the people would spend the dry season at the coast fishing, then shelter here in the hundreds of caves that honeycomb the sandstone escarpment during the rainy season. This occupation constitutes the longest continuous art and culture in the history of mankind.  It was awe inspiring! Johnny also related customs and ways of life he’d been taught as a child, referencing the artwork frequently as this, and the songs and ceremonies of the group, is how their life was recorded and passed on to the next generation.

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Altogether an enjoyable and informative experience not to be missed.

To see more photos of from our Quinkan Rock Art tour please CLICK HERE.

From there we headed out to the Festival grounds, about 10K south of Laura. The camping is on the grounds over an extensive area. Despite it being open for camping for a couple of days and there being hundreds of campers there over a very large area we managed to find the perfect site a short walk from the action!

The Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival is held every second year and highlights the songs and dances of the many Cape York Peninsula communities.  We all loved the dancing and I’ll let the photos tell their story. We stayed Friday and Saturday nights.

To see the many fantastic photos from the Dance Festival CLICK HERE.

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Day 12: Cooktown to Old Laura

18th June, 2015

Took a drive up Grassy Knoll for fantastic views over Cooktown and surrounds, then re provisioned, refuelled and we headed towards Laura. We’re planning on attending the Laura dance Festival on Friday afternoon and Saturday.

Panorama of Cooktown from Cooks Lookout. Cooktown is to the left, Mt Cook in the distance. Click on this photo to see it full size - it's worth it.

Panorama of Cooktown from Cooks Lookout. Cooktown is to the left, Mt Cook in the distance.
Click on this photo to see it full size – it’s worth it.

The small aboriginal township of Laura is in Quinkan Country which is nationally and internationally significant for its ancient rock art, particularly their depiction of “Quinkans”. Quinkans are spirits from aboriginal legend. There are two types of quinkan, the Imjim (bad) and the Timara (good). The Imjin were small and fat-bellied, with large ugly heads, long teeth and claws. They stole children and took them to their caves. They travel in giant leaps across the land. The Timara were amusing, unusual spirits who like to play tricks on people. The Timara were very tall with big ears and so skinny they could live in the cracks in the rocks.  At Split Rock we did a self-guided tour of the rock before before going to the Quinkan Centre in Laura to book our tour for tomorrow.

Rock art at Split Rock depicting Quinkans

Rock art at Split Rock depicting Quinkans

The Quinkan Centre is an information centre illustrating the area, its geographical, aboriginal and white history. A great educational resource which we really enjoyed wandering around and learning so much.
Then it was off to Old Laura to camp at the old Homestead. The Homestead had been pivotal in the pastoral industry supplying meat for the goldfields.  There were other campers there but we couldn’t see them or hear them. Our campsite was huge, amongst shady trees – no facilities. Ahh peaceful bliss.

Ric and Gill were a bit worried their vehicle might not make it to the Cape and back. They may have had a point!

Ric and Gill were a bit worried their vehicle might not make it to the Cape and back. They may have had a point! At Old Laura Homestead.

For more photos from our adventure today CLICK HERE.