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Kakadu & Top End

Violet Lawson's Wurrgeng Cultural Walk

Violet Lawson

Violet Lawson

We meet Violet at the start of the Gun-gardun walk near the Mardugal camp ground and set off...
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Starting the walk

Starting the walk

...stopping again and again to learn something new about the land through which we are passing
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What you use a termite mound for

What you use a termite mound for

Violet explaining some of the uses for termite mounds
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Collecting the pandanus

Collecting the pandanus

The pandanus provides the raw material for traditional Aboriginal basket work
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Making string from pandanus

Making string from pandanus

Violet shows us how it's done and soon has some of the group giving it a go. It's not easy
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Making string from pandanus

Making string from pandanus

No matter how experienced you are, it's a slow job, easier if you are sitting down
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Red dye from a local plant root

Red dye from a local plant root

Once the string is made, the roots of local plants provide dyes for the final colours
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Dyed pandanus string

Dyed pandanus string

Violet shows us a bundle of dyed pandanus string
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Partially completed pandanus mat

Pandanus mat

A partially completed mat
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A handful of green ant nest

A handful of green ant nest

Anyone who has done a long walk in Kakadu has encountered green ants. Many know of them as a source of vitamin C...
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How to clear your sinuses using green ants

How to clear your sinuses using green ants

...fewer know that they can be used to treat colds. Violet shows us how it's done
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Paperbark water supply

Paperbark water supply

As the tour progresses, we learn that certain trees contain water which can be obtained in an emergency
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Nectar from a grevillea

Nectar from a grevillea

Others provide bush tucker
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Learning the use for yet another tree

Learning the use for yet another tree

Others provide bush tucker. Still others provide medicines
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  • Violet Lawson
  • Starting the walk
  • What you use a termite mound for
  • Collecting the pandanus
  • Making string from pandanus
  • Making string from pandanus
  • Red dye from a local plant root
  • Dyed pandanus string
  • Partially completed pandanus mat
  • A handful of green ant nest
  • How to clear your sinuses using green ants
  • Paperbark water supply
  • Nectar from a grevillea
  • Learning the use for yet another tree

Violet Lawson is one of Kakadu's senior Aboriginal traditional owners. Her parents lived a traditional life, moving around the park on foot and on horseback. (They did, however, also ensure that she did her school work.) Violet decided that she wanted to share her culture with some of the visitors to Kakadu and began offering short cultural walks in 2006. She named her tours "Wurrgeng" - the name of her favourite season, the cool, dry time when the park is at its most comfortable for most visitors.

We began including Violet's walks in some of our tours in 2007. Those who took part enjoyed them so much that we have now included them in most of our tours which spend a night at Cooinda. The photos on this page were taken on three different trips in 2007 and 2008

As we walk, Violet gives us stories from her own life. By the time we finish, we have a much greater appreciation of what traditional Aboriginal life was ... and is today. We begin to understand what the park really means to those who live there.

To see which trips include Violet's walk, see our Kakadu and Top End trip list and look for those dry season trips which include a Yellow Waters cruise. These are marked with the symbol Y.

Willis's Walkabouts, 12 Carrington Street, Millner NT 0810, Australia walkabout@bushwalkingholidays.com.au

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