Kinchega to Mutawintji We passed through the small town of Menindee and forgot to look at the spot where explorer Burke and his party camped while on their journey to the Gulf of Carpentaria. The road from Menindee to Broken Hill is bitumen, a nice change from dusty dirt roads. Lunch was in the gardens by the Duke of Cornwall mine in Broken Hill after we had visited the info centre, filling with diesel and getting spare parts for the van’s water tank. Terry and Rob installed the new plastic parts and we filled the tank with water before leaving the Broken Hill. By 2pm we were on the bitumen heading up the Silver City highway. Five km after the turn off to Mutawindje NP the bitumen runs out and a rough and tumble corrugated road slows you down on the 70km trek into the park. Arrived 4pm when we settled into the park and Terry noticed the tank still had a slow leak. First night at Mutawintji was a mild night with lots of stars. No campfire. At Mutawintji Whole day in camp. Ann & Rob did the Homestead Creek circuit walk to look at Aboriginal art in the caves. We did the gorge walk, a 3hr walk but you can do it in 2 hrs. Flat walk across saltbush clay pan plains, then along a dry creek bed that runs into the gorge. Best part of walk is in shade along creek and into shady gorge. Lots of goats infest this place wreaking havoc to the vegetation. I believe the Aboriginal managers of the park need to ramp up the goat eradication program as too many are being left by the contractors who are banned from moving from the roadways to shoot them. The gorge is blocked at its far end by big rockfalls that can be climbed easily. It was a very hot day so we explored the gorge floor. Gorge appeared to be made of eroded sandstone layers that fractured and split. Some dark rock with sparkling (mica?) crystals was also there in small quantities. Lots of red gum along creek and casuarinas along the  hills and ridges; lots of overhangs in the gorge, some quite high up. We wondered if any had rock art but only looked around the base of the gorge. Rod went over later and did a few climbs up to check but said he found no evidence of rock art. We did find a couple of small roo skeletons, fur and skulls in two of the lower overhangs which suggests that wild dogs may also be in the park. However in one of the first overhangs we came across, on the right side of the gorge just near the first rock tumbles, we thought we could make out two very old sketches of big fish positioned mouth to mouth. Their outlines looked like Murray Cod. As Aborigines walked over from the Darling River to attend ceremonies here in former times, it is conceivable these fish were known to the family groups and maybe this overhang, which would become flooded if a really large body of water came down the gorge, may have been a ceremonial attempt to increase or introduce the fish to the area.  The creek appeared to sink into the clay pan 2 - 3 km away- and when in flood would create a large shallow pool, so it would have been a long time since any permanent water was likely to have been in this small water system. Although the Aboriginal ranger later told me he knew of no fish art in the park, this faint possible example followed a line of thin white quartz along the rock face on the walls of the overhang.  Some rock art uses naturally occurring rock features to give a bas relief effect of body shape to the animals depicted. Other white outlines were extremely faint. It was quite large, almost 1.5 metres long and 40cm deep. We spent the afternoon loafing round camp as it was too hot to go for further walks. All creeks were dry so there were no swim spots. Rob did the gorge walk and got back quite late.
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Grey Gypsies of Australia
NSW Desert Parks
Mutawintji National Park
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