I’ve just come back from a camping trip into the Carnarvons in Central Queensland. My father put the survey through from Boxvale Station in 1934 and as a child he took me out there. He showed me sites that are not on the map; rugged panoramas and important cultural sites remain in pristine condition to this day, though the original owners were massacred in the 1860s. The hand stencils in this cave show a whole row of hands with the little finger missing; I was told by Fred Conway that it indicates the loss of a child. These are among the last stencils ever made.
Most of the landscape is undergoing transformation into crop land or cattle pastures and only the most inaccessible is still unchanged. Nearly all the Brigalow has been cleared except for small stands up in Lonesome National Park at the head of the Arcadia Valley. It is in these wild places that I feel most connected to my father. I’ve come to feel that sense of connectedness that the traditional owners had for it over forty thousand years or more. I feel saddened but at the same time the isolation is refreshing.