28th January 1933 cont. - Aboriginal women carry their pitchis with a baby on the hip

source icon The next day we made a very long mornings trip mainly through uninteresting mulga woods, catching up with the natives after about ten miles. While passing them it was interesting to see the women going along carrying all the family goods, often in a pitchi on their heads, with a baby on the hip and both hands full of their husbands spare hunting weapons. They travel like this all day, swinging the pitchi round on their head to pass between trees and straightening it up again without touching it with their hands.

During the morning we passed the last bit of Haasts Bluff and crossed an undulating stone plane towards an isolated group of mountains which never seemed to get any closer for hours and hours. However, we eventually came to the base of it (Muneruka) at about 2 p.m. and camped in a rocky watercourse coming down from a split in the ranges.

This ended the days trip and we spent the afternoon exploring the nearby hills from the tops of which a wonderful view of the surrounding country could be had.

The plain stretched away to merge into the horizon beyond which the tops of mountains appeared to be floating in mid-air. Range after range of the Macdonnells could be seen to the north and south mostly of rock. It was very hard to judge distance, height or perspective here as the atmospheric conditions varied so much. That evening the air seemed clear, no dust and we felt sure that we could identify Central Mount Stuart, and even Ayres Rock and the Olgas to the south-south west. There seemed no doubt that the map, such as it was, was very inaccurate and Mt Liebig in particular, seemed to be quite a few miles further north of its marking on our map. We were warned of things like this before we started.

As the light changed the proportions of the hills, ranges and plains changed by the minute. It is quite incredible how huge a row of hills can seem in the evening as compared to a row of pebbles in the morning light. I think that very few whites had ever been in these parts and those that had been, often made their maps in ignorance of the unreliability of their visual perceptions. the bearings were reliable enough but the dimensions were in the eye of the beholder.

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