I’d been walking in the Dundunara National Park for years and had heard many stories over the years of the hidden caves and the amazing markings on the cave walls.
They stayed elusive to me until I met and befriended, Billy Awada an indigenous man who prided himself as being the unofficial guardian of the park.
Billy told me the caves were a sacred Indigenous site and as such non-Indigenous folk were kept away. But for my sake and that I had long proved I was a conservationist and respectful of his heritage he agreed to take me to them.
I soon learned why I had never found them. They were well of the track, down a rocky gorge and across a flowing stream. But it was well worth the effort to follow Billy into a part of the Park very few white people had been.
As it was a clear day there was plenty of light cascading into the cave. The light played a significant part in the gasps I made as I looked at the cave walls. Around me was the most magnificent of sights. The entire cave wall was adorned with the most amazing paintings. Some appeared to be hand-prints, some figures I assumed were humans and others that were obviously animals.
What got me especially was the colours on display. The ochres used were ones I had not seen before. Whoever did them had great knowledge of the availability of the ochres needed and when I thought about it, it didn’t surprise me when I reflected on the richness of the park.
“Emu,” stated Billy pointing out the fading yellow print, “not so many round here these days but once they were very plentiful.”
I sat back on the ground and took in all around me. I had my camera clicking away as I wanted to record what I was seeing as it was very unique in terms of Indigenous sites.
As we were leaving Billy asked me to keep the location secret as if the location got out there would be tourists in droves all over the place and as not all appreciated what they would be seeing the temptation to leave inappropriate messages and deface the cave walls would take away the sacred nature of the place.
The secret would be safe with me, this place was indeed sacred and I felt honoured to have been allowed to see it.