Today, my wife and I were taken by Matt Hunt to see some we didn't know, not far from home, within cooee of Oxford Falls and within earshot of radio-controlled model aircraft.
During the morning, I counted the following in flower:
- 7 wattles (Acacia sp.)
- 1 Hibbertia,
- 1 Grevillea,
- 2 flannel flowers (Actinotus sp.),
- 1 Woollsia,
- 1 Boronia,
- 1 Leucopogon,
- 2 Epacris species,
- 1 Eriostemon,
- 1 pea, probably Hardenbergia,
- 1 Banksia.
Most of this has been almost completely untouched since white people arrived in 1788 with diseases which killed off most of the custodians and severed the spiritual and mythical links between the engravings and the culture that sustained them and was sustained by them.
For a quarter of that time, since 1956, I have been visiting and sometimes finding these sites. It's my way of paying homage to the people we displaced. I didn't do the wrong thing, but I have benefited from others who did wrong, and that wrong can never now be righted. We can, at least, recognise that wrong was done.
This is a shark, something which those with zoological training can tell by looking at the tail, which is heterocercal: it has two unequal lobes. Sharks have negative buoyancy and no swim bladder, and they get lift in the water by the sculling action of the lower lobe, which the more rigid upper lobe drives the shark forward: that means that by angling its pectoral fins, the shark gets lift there as well.
The idiot who worked on this made a mess of the tail, and brought is closer to the homocercal tail of bony fish, as well as missing the line of the upper lobe, which is on the left in the photo. The idiot also chopped off the fin on the shark's right.
If I am right, this is a wobbegong shark, but whatever it is, the head is seen from above, while the tail is seen from the side: the Australian Aborigines had different criteria on accuracy, and this depiction communicated better to its audience.
So if you go looking for engravings, take along a few spare litres of water. After all, these things have been rained-on for more than two centuries now.
Reminder: no copyright claim is made on the shots you see here: they are all Creative Commons attribution pictures, but note also that larger (and unenhanced) originals are available on request for any good cause. The photographs seen here have all been digitally fiddled to improve the clarity.