• LOCATION 17 | Virtual Solar System Drive: From Narrabri to Siding Spring with Fred Watson

    Sandstone Caves

    Travelling through this part of the country, it is important to connect to the country.

    In a few kilometres, we will be approaching the Sandstone Caves walking. This short 3.5-kilometre loop trail takes 1.5 hours, and is steeped with indigenous and natural heritage.

    Unlike its name implies, they are not deep caves, but pits in the soft and beautifully textured standstone of the area providing shelter from the heat and rain. The stone was ideal for early Aboriginals to engrave symbols and stories that were significant to them, including emu trails, wallaby tracks and kangaroo footprints.

    The Gomeroi, like many other tribes, taught young men a secret language, called tyake, during their rites of initiation. In these systems, the normal profane terms used in everyday speech had to be substituted with the special mystical vocabulary.

    There are also hand stencils, carved trees, grooves in the sandstone where stone axes and spears were sharpened and a number of cave shelters all to be seen along the way.

    If you do take the time to do the walk you can take these wise Gomeroi words with you along the way:

    Nhalay Yarrul
    Burranbalngayaldanhi
    nhalay yarrul ghalidu,
    maayirru.
    Yilambu yarrul biruubaraay
    warramayaanhi.
    Mulamula, nhalay yarrul!
    Ngamila!

    This rock
    Water & wind have caused this rock
    to change over a long time.
    The caves were made long ago
    The rock is soft.
    Look out!
    Don't touch!

    Yilambu
    Yilambu dhurray marandu
    yarrul barraldanhi ganugu.
    Mubirr yarrula garray.
    Ngamila!
    Garriya minyagaa ngiilay gang

    Long Ago
    Our ancestors made stone tools.
    They sharpened their axes.
    They marked the rock.
    Look out!
    Don't collect anything!

    Dhawun
    Giirr dhulubaraay dhibaraay,
    yuularaay dhawun nhalay.
    Minya minyabul ngarriylanha ngiyani.
    Giirr dhamali dhawundu nginunha!

    The land
    Around here there are plants,
    animals and food.
    We have everything we need.
    We live with the land.
    Let the land touch you

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Virtual Solar System Drive: From Narrabri to Siding Spring with Fred Watson