Rocks At Yinara

Yinara is the mother of the spirit daughters who played on the water’s edge. She knew when the first law-giving man, Marrala, the Emu man, descended from the stars into the ocean and rose with the dawn of day on the sandy shore. She warned her daughters not to look upon this physical manifestation as he passed by, but they did. In doing so, they too manifested in the physical realm. The rocks at Yinara signify this transition. The seven sisters, the stars in the constellation of Pleiades shone in the night sky to mark this event.

The rocks at Yinara are on Reddell Beach, also known as Riddell Beach, in Broome, a town in the Kimberley region of Northwest Australia. The dreamtime story belongs to the indigenous aboriginal people of this area, a mythical story to commemorate a creation site of immense significance.

I have known this beach for over thirty years, a drop in the ocean of time in comparison to the age of the culture and its people who are the keepers of the creation stories. Here lives the oldest culture in the world, remarkably still intact, still practicing their customs. Here, in the Kimberley, is an ancient land that has largely remained unsullied by western ways, by development and destruction. Over the years I have been privileged to experience the wonder of this beach. I have also seen the signs of destruction gradually creeping in and I have felt the potential loss. The song I wrote is for this place. It is for what will be lost if we are not vigilant.

Reddell Beach is a sacred site. It is a wonderful pristine environment and the beautiful waters of the Indian Ocean lap this shore. The red pindan cliffs rise against the clear sky. The rocks, such a vast array of different types, colours, and shapes, eroded over time, are a wonder to behold. Behind the red cliffs and gentle dunes are rare remnant rainforest thickets and bloodwood forests, abounding with native fauna. Here grows the rare keraudrenia plant, only recently discovered. The bird life is extraordinary, for Broome and its surrounds, including Roebuck Bay, boasts the greatest diversity of shorebirds of any place on earth. The waters are home for whales, endangered dugongs, dolphins, turtles, and pelagic fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel. There are rock pools teeming with life and colour. Reef and corals can be seen when the ten metre high tides recede. Dinosaurs walked on this beach.

Reddell Beach and its bush hinterland have previously been designated as an environmental and cultural corridor, a part of the Minyirr coastal park, established by a revered law custodian for the area and now maintained by his descendants. It is a place of great heritage. To walk here is an honour, a delight. It is a place of extraordinary beauty, a place of peace and contentment, a place where one can be nurtured. This place is a gift for our enjoyment and enrichment. It is something we can’t create or replace, but we can imbibe its energy and embrace the blessing it bestows upon us.

Yet into this pristine paradise lurks a manifestation most foul. The oil and gas industry has its eyes set upon the Kimberley. Reddell Beach and its bush hinterland is now considered a likely location for an industrial precinct that will support the proposed development of a LNG gas hub at James Price Point, another pristine location of immense scientific, environmental and cultural heritage a little to the north of Broome. Prices Point, or Walmadan, if the oil and gas industry have their way, will be the location for a huge port and industrial complex. This would be Australia’s largest development of this type. The bush will be clear-felled. The coastal reefs will be blasted and dredged. The abundant flora and fauna, the whales, dugong and turtles will not be spared in the quest for these foreign owned companies to plunder resources and make their precious profits. The oil and gas industry is hell bent on destruction at all costs. They are war mongers, destroying communities and environments so they can continue their practice of being the greatest polluters of our earth. We breathe the fetid air it expels. We imbibe the toxic cancerous chemicals it emits. Our oceans are besmirched with its careless oil spills. Our unique and pristine environment will be forever lost. Our community, rich with cultural heritage, famous for its multi-cultural quality, will be transformed into a gathering of lost souls feeding upon the blood of our mother earth. What is sacred will be cast asunder for money, a sacrilege we will pass onto our children. They will suffer our folly, and they will decree us fools when they sit in judgement of their forebears, we who did not fulfill our responsibilities to safe-guard the land and our heritage, we who did not protect what is sacred.

Best Regards,
Russell Roberts

This entry was posted on Saturday, April 2nd, 2011 at 4:29 am and is filed under Russells Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Rocks At Yinara”

  1. Niki Maslin Says:

    Well spoken and sung Russell R

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