The Kangaroo Society
In the harsh deserts of Western Queensland, the men of the Marrinyama tribe carry on ancient traditions in a fight to save their culture, and just maybe themselves, in the process.
‘Right,’ Lance bellows in a purposeful though unhurried tone, ‘time to wake up the ancestors.’ After hours of preparing their bodies for this ritual under a withering desert sun, it was time to dance. On the bare ground of a remote bush camp named Mugai Biungo Ndia, translating a little disconcertingly as ‘Big Tallman Flesh Eater Place’ (for a 6’1 journalist) ancient desert rituals began to play out out to an audience of one. To the rhythms of two boomerangs clapped together, Matthew and Adrian made their way along the Bora (sacred) ground, a patch of red earth bordered by stones no more than ten metres in length and just a metre wide.
Stamping their feet and moving with intense concentration they acted out the slow and sharp movements of the Kangaroo and Emu dances. Almost as quickly as it had begun it was over. The ancestors, Lance explained, now knew they were here, and that they were still strong.