rock art and rocking the canteen at primary school.

First report: I have scored myself a job on the gas plant here in the red plains of Karratha.

I had an interview on Monday and was offered the job – the interview was in the gorgeous carpark view cafe at Karratha Centro; it’s all class here.
I then celebrated until my lips were stained joker-esque red and my makeup and lampshade were still on in the morning. This is because I was offered tenfold per annum of what I have been making as a poor tuna pasta salad eating Griffith University bum.
However, paperwork and blah blah has to all happen and I have to have a medical and an induction and get a bloody license to even get on the site. Which is good. The site is enormous and ’tis great that health and safety are utmost. Disadvantage that I ponder presently whilst sucking on my marlboro: the smoking rule on site …
10-10.30am you can smoke on site. AND THAT IS IT. I really don’t want to be a bitch in my first week there so I’m considering a full nicotine-patch costume/suit under my sexy yellow and blue high-vis overalls and steel-cap toe boots. Don’t worry, I’ll provide pictures but I may be scowling in them.

So have been practising the early starts this week. My gorgeous Aunt manages the school canteen at her son’s school (my darling eleven-year old cousin) So Monday was a write-off because Sunday was a BBQ/party at the family household which my aunty arranged as a ‘Welcome to Karratha’ party for me. This meant bizarre conversations about circumcision and me drugged out of my face on codeine and sparkling wine (I had a bad back) which lead to Meatloaf ‘paradise by the dashboard lights’ being played on youtube whilst I shamelessly sang all the words in a vain air-guitar pose, which then lead to me being the last one standing and husbands returning to take their wives home (husbands disappeared quite quickly after the circumcision chat) and me singing Al Green songs to myself till the early hours.
Anyhow, Tuesday saw me up at 5AM! I know. Helped my aunty in the canteen from about 9-2PM at the primary school in Dampier. Hilarious. I was serving Slushies and making sandwiches and I could have taken every single darling home. They were all ‘yes please’ and ‘thank you.’ Jesus wept – I loved them all. You know, those cute little year ones and twos that mumble their words and have cute little voices and no knowledge of how their faces looks when they haven’t pre-ordered a Slushie and can’t have one. Oh!

OK, I don’t want kids but just maybe hundreds of nieces and nephews that I can gush over … for twenty minutes.

Saturday saw us at the school fete. My aunty had a fairy stall and was costumed appropriately! My lovely Uncle ventured that we might visit the local tavern for a beer whilst my aunty minded the stall – which we did. So we entered the early 1980’s at the ‘Mermaid’ (low ceilinged wooden shed) I soon figured out I was one of four women in the place and it was an ocean of high-vis overalls and testosterone. After a couple of Heinekens we arrived back at the stall and whilst my Fairy aunty went for a Fairy fag, I minded the stall and without much business began writing in my notebook. This is what I wrote:

Karratha School Fete –
Foam covered children
Stopmping Scottish power tripping Glenda – P&C president tigress with a purpose amidst suburbian foilage of stalls selling over priced iphone covers and hand-made jewellery from the ‘sacred earth’ that is Karratha.
Sausage sizzles and 80’s songs for the kids to bounce to –
Sweating parents and sugar-fuelled children
Target-styled mothers intent on spending their coin on useless shit, making kids smile for a day, or two hours before the sun goes down; the spectacular setting drowned out by tantrums and sleep deprived year 6’s.
Broome brewed beer and baby weight bellies. Hand made crafts and jars and cupcake holders and boxes and nylon flowers and prams and straps and fathers with new borns, clutching their existence. 

OK so far – and I’ve been here two weeks tomorrow – I miss my ever gorgeous housemates Kitty and Tony and MoMo. They’ve been sending me pictures of fucking Christmas decorations they’ve done at our house in Gold Coast and I’m sadly not a part of the festive spirit at my adopted family home, however I am here in Wup Wup for a reason, and that is dollar. Aloe Blacc is my anthem at the minute.

I also miss:
east coast beaches – my espresso machine – not having to buy two pairs of flip-flops in a week because the puppy chewed them – not having to wash my hands seventeen times because the puppy pissed on them – fast internet connection – a breeze that doesn’t feel like a hairdryer – cans of sweetcorn that aren’t ten dollars and of course my darling, sweetie sweetie, darling friends.

Anyhow, after a beautiful bayside walk this morning (I think I had five flies in each ear at one point) my aunt took me to the Burrup Peninsula. This place is a red rock haven and teeming with history, ancient history. My aunt told me as we skipped, hopped and stumbled over boulders that she had been taken there before by an environmental guy from the gas plant, well versed in Aboriginal history. Anyway. Oh my god. We walked on what used to be a river bed for about five minutes and soon we were in the middle of a tiny gorge. Apparently the environmental guy John said some of the Aboriginal petroglyphs we were looking at are 5-6000 years old.
I was all materialistically tired, low on caffeine, needed a fag etc but this put me on edge. I was in total awe.

 I couldn’t spot any of it at first but as I got used to the brickish terracotta that surrounded us I could see. (The rock with the faint white on it has an animal etching but as aunty told me, some of the animals depicted may be long extinct so we can never know what it is).
I could see the etchings of animals and plants that had been cut into the rocks and boulders so long ago it’s unfathomable. Because my aunt had been shown by this guy who had a good idea of what they meant; she showed me the etched symbols of birds, emus, kangaroos etc. We didn’t walk so far because it was getting on 10AM and the flies were stuck to our faces like we were shit but she said John had shown her a petroglyph of a man with a hat on which apparently depicted the times of the first settlers and so experts can discern the period between some parts of the rock art and others.
But of course, good old colonisation/imperialism wiped the Jaburara people out so we will never know what they all really mean. But god, it is remarkable. I found myself looking at etchings of emus and kangaroos that were drawn thousands of years ago. It makes me remember how insignificant I am, in time.

The white markings on the biggest rock in this picture are birds. Etchings of birds. In November 2007 the Aboriginal rock art of the Burrup peninsula -exactly where I was today – was listed among the ten most ‘at risk’ places in Australia.
This place is unreal. And you can just walk through it. There are no museum red ropes or preservation areas. Which in one one way is unbelievable but in another, so bizarre. Why not? If these rock arts are thousands of years old? But today, that was what made it beautiful. We were there in the persistent heat and the unbearable flies and I kept thinking they did this, they walked where I am walking, in the same heat with the flies sticking to their faces.

Walking the riverbed to the big carved out rock that signified water, we stood over the Shell Middens where they would eat and commune and camp. There are so many shells and apparently these are the shells of the limpets etc they used to eat. Incredible.

So that was my adventure today. Now my adventure is two bottles of cleanskins Shiraz and too many expensive cigarettes, so I must end my tale. But just a reminder, if you are feeling lonely, these are my new best friends, Nikey and Rubey …

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, I know. I need a shag.

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