Twenty thousand years of stories

Anbangbang shelter, Kakadu National Park

Something that never ceases to fascinate me about Kakadu National Park is the length of time that Bininj – Indigenous people living in northern Kakadu – have been living here.

On a warm day I really enjoy heading up to Anbangbang Shelter in the Nourlangie region, which has been used as a seasonal living area by Bininj for at least 20,000 years!

It’s cool, dry and spacious and it’s easy to imagine people sitting around campfires, talking, cooking and making baskets and spears, whilst the torrential downpours of monsoonal rainstorms occur outside.

An archaeological dig in 1981 uncovered stone tools and a wide variety of animal bones and other organic materials, demonstrating how Bininj have adapted their lifestyle to the changing climate since before the time of the last ice age when the climate was cooler and more arid.

Even after visiting the shelter many times I’m still struck by the notion that perhaps 800 generations of Bininj have been able to maintain their connections with this place, all the while looking after country and continuing their cultural traditions.

I often come away with new perspectives into the meaning of home, habitation, culture and indeed my own place on earth.

Gary Scott, Seasonal Interpretation Ranger Kakadu National Park