Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Qld - Cooktown
Cooktown is a quiet, historic coastal town on the banks of the Endeavour River, surrounded by beautiful countryside. It is also the closest town to the Great Barrier Reef. It was here in 1770 that Captain Cook beached the “Endeavour” and named the river after his ship.
In the late 1880’s gold was discovered at Palmer River and Cooktown became the centre to service the mining camps of Queensland’s largest gold rush.
The streets are wide with beautiful old buildings and everything that is important to view historically is within walking distance of the down town.
We spent an enlightening day with Willie Gordon, a local aborigine, who took us on a tour of his clan’s ancestral rock art sites. We walked over their land, stopping along the way for Willy to show us some of the many survival techniques of his people. We made soap from leaves, special poultices for cuts, grasses to weave into baskets, seeds to eat and countless more. Some brave ones amongst us even tried some green ants. Willie explains the meaning behind the rock art, giving a unique insight into Aboriginal spirituality and survival. He helped us appreciate how amazing they were at living and utilizing what nature provides.
We also drove through Hope Vale, an Aboriginal community (well known in the area for local paintings and artifacts) on our way to the coloured sands.These were spectacular and very similar to the ones on Fraser Island.
As usual for us, we were going to spend one day here and ended up spending three. I loved all the history in the area.