Tiwi Islands, Australia

Today I took a 2.5 hour ferry ride to Bathurst island in the Tiwi Islands north of Darwin. Two others and I were met by our indigenous guide, Viv, who took us to Tiwi Design, an artistic centre where many local  indigenous artists produce both silk screen printing, paintings, pottery and carvings.  The work of some of these artists costs thousands of dollars. The artists have been producing here for over 30 years. We were met by some of the artists who performed a welcoming ceremony which started with a smoke ceremony followed by dancing.  We had a “cuppa”and some damper which is popular in Australia but unknown to me. Usually, it is made simply with self rising bread and water, but is then cooked in a frying pan and not baked.  Viv took us on a tour of the historic part of the town. For those who know something of Australian WWII history, even if only from the movie Australia, you will know that Darwin was bombed many times. A Catholic priest on Bathurst Island saw the Japanese planes coming over the first time and tried to warn the city to no avail. He then led a rescue effort to get some people on the island back to Darwin for evacuation.  Those facts are represented in the movie, scenes of which were shot on the island. The original telegraph building  and the old church are still standing. There is also a very nice museum. It contains artefacts and pictures which represent the indigenous history of the island.  After lunch, we each chose a design for a screen printing, chose the fabric and paint colours and were shown how the process worked.  The designs were those by famous artists.  We each received our printed item as a souvenir.  This is my last stop in Australia. I am off to Shanghai for some retail therapy and to see a few museums. I will not likely post anything further at this time. The blog will resume next summer with a trip to Ireland and Scotland.  Our photography on Bathurst Island was restricted but here are a few pictures.

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Telegraph office                                     Church

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Welcoming ceremony                         Hundreds of years old tree

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