As an Aboriginal man, there comes a time when all the stories you’ve been told growing up, and your connection to country and culture that’s in your blood, just falls into place. That was the moment I knew I wanted to start Kaarak Dreaming so I could share that Nyoongar knowledge, history and way of life.
Originally from Pingelly, I grew up around Boddington and Armadale and settled in Dwellingup about nine years ago with my wife Carol.
There’s just something really special about this place and we both love it. The wildlife, the location, everything. When you’re driving and you get close to town, it’s like you’re taking off layers of the city like you’d take off a cardigan. It’s such a great feeling.
Dwellingup sits in a very special part of Western Australia, in the hills that form the ancient Dreaming Trail that runs from Albany to Uluru. When I take people on tours, they can feel the spirits of the old people bless them in this place. The breeze will stop when I’m talking about the old times, the ancient times, and they know it’s the spirits.
A lot of people who book tours with us are from interstate and overseas. They love to camp and caravan by the river. All of them say they want to learn more about the natural environment; the flora and fauna. They’re really interested in things like bush medicine and bush tucker. They want to understand what it’s like to be Aboriginal and I love to share that knowledge.
I’m teaching them about the oldest living culture in the world. That’s important and I’m proud to do my part to cement our place in history and the present.
The main thing I want people to take away from a tour with Kaarak Dreaming is a connection to country – something they will feel any time they return. It’s about walking from two worlds – white and Nyoongar – into one where we all have the same connection. Dwellingup is a place you can do that.
Kaarak means red tailed black cockatoo and those birds always make their presence felt on my tours. Their call is something you’ll always hear when out in country.
As well as running tours, I am also an artist and there is endless inspiration around here. As well as teaching people about traditional Nyoongar art, I am also commissioned to create public art which I love because I get to identify a Nyoongar perspective of the area – what it means to my people.
Some things you can learn from a tour with Maitland
- The Nyoongar six seasons and the traditional way of making a fire
- Traditional artefacts and Nyoongar music, art and language
- The connection to country; flora, fauna, bush tucker and bush medicine
- Ancient Dreamtime stories and the Aboriginal history of the region
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