[In 2013, the T-Team, next generation embarked on their pilgrimage to Central Australia. Purpose: to scatter Dad’s ashes in his beloved Central Australia, in Ormiston Gorge.
Over the next few weeks, I will take you on a virtual trip to the Centre and memories of that unforgettable holiday in 2013, with my brother and his family; the T-Team Next Generation.
This time, the T-K Team visit Emily Gap.]
Lunch With the Ants
Our plans changed. Anthony decided we could take a risk with our fuel situation, and so, since we were in the vicinity of the Eastern MacDonnell Ranges, we would visit Emily Gap and have lunch first before getting the gas for the Ford.
‘After all,’ I said to Anthony, ‘it is almost two o’clock, and I’m hungry.’
He just had to reply, ‘Hungry? Unlike you, I can wait till teatime.’
‘Hmm, yet another similarity you have to my father. Only he could fast from breakfast as well as lunch.’
As we rolled into the shady climes of the Emily Gap car park, I remarked, ‘But such a lovely place to sit and have picnic, don’t you think?’ I had already sourced some nuts and chocolate from my bag in case he disagreed with my suggestion.
‘We’ll go for a walk first to see the rock paintings and then have some lunch,’ Anthony grumbled. ‘I don’t want to walk on a full stomach.’
While Anthony marched ahead to find the rock paintings before they disappeared, I trailed behind and nibbled my nuts and chocolate. Needed reinforcements to do the walk.
Anthony vanished around a corner. A few minutes later, he appeared, jogging towards me. ‘They’re here! Come look!’
‘Oh, yeah,’ I replied, remembering 1981 when TR baited us with some significant discovery of Indigenous art. That art turned out to be less ancient and more modern.
I followed Anthony. Around the bend, he pointed. ‘Look! There they are.’
Gazing at the entrance to a shallow cave, I said, ‘Oh, yeah! So, there are. They look like giant caterpillars.’
We spent some time examining the array of caterpillar paintings and carvings; the totem of the Eastern Arrernte people, we assumed.
‘I think my dad took us to Jesse Gap,’ I said as we walked back to the picnic area. ‘I have never seen those paintings before. When he took us out to the Eastern MacDonnell’s all we saw was artwork of the Western kind, graffiti. When we suggested visiting Emily Gap, it was already nearly dark, and Dad thought there would only be graffiti there too.’
In the shade of the gum trees in the picnic area, we “shared” our lunch of canned tuna and buttered bread with some inch ants. Had to put our food on a rock and then move the picnic rug, but the inch ants followed us.
After lunch, we found the BP petrol station that Richard had told us about. And finally, the Ford had its fill of LP Gas. Then on our way back to the Caravan park where we were staying for the night, we swung by the local IGA, where I bought mince, button mushrooms, two onions, shampoo and conditioner. Would you believe that the shampoo and conditioner I had brought from home, had not lasted the distance of our two-week Central Australian journey?
In the golden light of late afternoon, while I helped Anthony put up the tent, I watched another family, pitch theirs. The father sat in his director’s chair and directed the rest of the family, women, and children, how to put up their tent.
But, ah, what bliss to cook tea in the light of the common kitchen. Spag Bog, and plum pudding. Dessert, hot chocolate.
© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021
Feature Photo: Emily Gap Rock Paintings © L.M. Kling 2013