The Australian Bush & The Aboriginal
by David Marsh - Veda
(Alice Springs. Australia)
Tilmouth - © Veda
Australian Outback - © Veda
Yuelamu - © Veda
I hitch-hiked from the U.K. to Australia in 1963, landing in the Northern Territory town of
Darwin with I0 pounds sterling in my pocket.
I needed to get work quickly!
My first job was with a team of surveyors well out in the bush, literally miles from
anywhere. I loved it.
An aboriginal man sold me an old motor bike which regularly seized
up as I rode the bush roads across the top end of Australia. I'd sit at the edge of a
desolate, dusty road until it cooled down.
At times I rode two days on dirt roads without seeing anyone.
Since that time I have travelled extensively, but the outback of Australia and aboriginal
people have always been a focal point.
I now work mainly in numeracy and literacy with
the Central Australian aborigines.
Working cross culturally is a natural step in one's own evolution after tasting the flavours and lifestyles of other countries.
Isn't travel about exploring one's own psyche, one's inner
resources, about who we are?
Why do we place ourselves out of context?
It's more than just an idle curiosity about what's out there. It's all about what's happening
inside us; we want to know how others are doing it.
There's much more happening than
simply the rapture of the sights we see.
I think we should all learn to connect it all inwardly. It's important.
In Africa my strongest feelings were of the domination of the wild life, the power of the
predatory animals, whereas in Australia (I mean the real Australia, the bush, not the cities)
the captivation is the land.
The power of the land is immense in the outback.
The Australian aborigines have been "singing" the land into existence for an estimated
This essay is too short to go into the aboriginal concept of time, space and
evolution; a preliminary study for me has been essential learning - there are as many
dimensions beyond our conventional concept of time and space as there are older
cultures. And these we can recognize as dimensions of ourselves - albeit, maybe not as
vivid as an aboriginal realizes it.
Travelling through the outback, the bush country - either expansively mind bending arid
landscapes or spectacular mesas, hillsides, creeks and swimming holes, one will come
across focal points of energy.
In fact the whole centre of Australia is charged with energy,
the result of the "singing", the corroboree, the "waking up" of the country by the aboriginals
over all those 50,000 years.
For many aboriginal people the ceremonies are still an obligation. Sites have to be visited
and "business" done on a regular basis, so consequently the land is alive and nurtured,
The land is indeed "sung" - you only need to be open enough to
connect with it.
That's how the aboriginal people communicate with and leave their
footprint in the form of energy.
That's what travel can be about - the openness to discover our wisdom, our own energy
through the inner connection made available by such rich cultures; an opportunity to
become a better, more whole person.
There are many paths to wisdom, nature in
communication with man is one of them.
The populations of the different communities in the centre average around 200 to 300
people or more.
Sometimes there are outstations of just a single family group.
gathering is still done, as is adherence to the requirements of tribal Law. Law dictates
appropriate punishments for crime, birth and death procedures, relationship ties as well as
ceremonies for creation or "dreaming" re-empowerments and many other facets of tribal
On the more secular side, because there is a very slow transition to "white fella" ways,
most bush aboriginals lead a very sedentary life, being limited by the small amount of
industry in the bush communities.
Life has often been reduced to a walk between the store
and the house - many day to day survival tactics have been abandoned. The old
aboriginals of the centre never wore clothes, never built a shelter or made a garden in a
land where temperatures climbed to the high 40's C in summer and tipped below freezing
in winter nights.
Only the fittest survived the nomadic life here.
But the aboriginal people still use their time caring for the land in their roles as "caretakers".
These caretaker responsibilities have for millennium been allotted to tribes or families,
each over particular areas. In this way the whole of Australia was mapped out and was
taken care of by the aboriginals through their Law.
The concept of ownership has barely
impinged upon the bush aboriginal culture. The dancing and "singing", protection and
preservation of species of animals is all part of caretaking.
Because of the secrecy, in some cases, to the casual traveller much of this is unseen.
Closer contact is necessary to observe other activities of collecting and processing bush
foods, hunting and general ceremony.
The aboriginal people have preserved the land during all these years. Some areas are in
pristine condition and the energies still vibrant.
But since the coming of the white fella to
Australia the central lands have been extensively degraded by overgrazing cattle, mining
Many animals and plants have become extinct and sometimes the bush
is turned to wasteland in the hot season after over grazing.
The central aboriginal people
have benefited from some modernization, but at the same time have suffered disease,
alienation, disempowerment and degradation of their own Law, which has been uprooted
by often inappropriate western law and culture.
Aboriginals tend and nurture and respect the land, whilst modern cultures exploit and
degrade the land.
Let's just at least be aware of this.
Maybe a couple of pictures of the outback will captivate you. It's certainly a place to
astound you - the vast wilderness of Australia.
Do visit, and try to meet the aboriginal
people out in the bush.
Greet them - they are often shy, but they respect your friendliness.
On the odd occasion you may meet - especially the older women (elders) - incredible
simplicity, compassion and openness like you will never find in the average Oz.
Australians are known for openness, but often Australian aboriginals have an additional something
About the Author:
Veda ((Swami Vedamurti Sarawati)) lives and works in the fringes of Tanami desert, in Central Australia, helping Australian Aborigines to be better prepared to face the demands of the working world.
He's recently published an article about his experiences in Peru.
You can read the whole article here.