Kakadu’s Junior Rangers are an intrepid crew of 11 and 12 year olds from the nearby schools in Jabiru, Pine Creek and Gunbalanya. The Junior Ranger program is part of their school curriculum, giving them their first hands-on taste of ranger work in the park.
Year 6 student Campbell Temperley is one of these fearless explorers. His keen interest in the environment and indigenous culture led him to a visit with Lennie Wood. This is his eye-witness account!
I was invited by Lennie Wood to town camp just outside of Kakadu National Park to make a spear – and watched as Lennie showed me the steps involved.
First Lennie cut and dried out a length of bamboo for about five weeks. Today he began by burning all the sections over a small fire on a flat rock. The fire was made from a special type of bark and each section of bamboo was heated until brown and then straightened.
To make the bamboo (spear) shorter, Lennie cut a ring around one of the back sections and broke it off. Then he used a sharp knife to split the thick end of the bamboo ready for the blade. We made a three pronged spear using steel rods about 30 cm long and sharpened to a point with a metal file.
Lennie inserted the prongs and held them in place by wrapping strong fishing line around the bamboo really tightly. This took a lot of skill and strength!
Later on we went to Burruburryu to test them out. I didn’t catch anything but our group was fishing with handlines and caught some bort, a massive sleepy cod and a small tarpon.
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