The next day, we only had the morning in Sydney. We were scheduled for a walking tour back around the Rocks area. It was an Aboriginal tour with a company called Dreamtime Southern X. The tour talks about the culture of the Dreamtime culture of the local Aborigines in Sydney. It was just me, Trevor, and our guide. I think the company planned it that way on purpose because it was his first day on the job. He was really nervous, and his previous job was in a warehouse, so this was something entirely new for him.
The tour started with him putting a few stripes of this grey clay on my wrist. This is his tribe’s welcoming ceremony. They have different coloured clay for different purposes.
I thought the tour was going to talk a bit more about the Dreamtime culture’s ideas of the world’s creation or the history of his people in the Rocks area, but it was just a random assortment of facts. Still interesting stuff, though.
I asked him if the treatment of the Aborigines in Sydney has improved, and it pretty much sounded like what we have in Canada–yes, there has been some progress; yes, politicians have said some nice words and made some nice promises; but there’s still a long way to go.
I also asked him about the Australian Aboriginal flag.
The flag was designed in 1971. The black represents the Aboriginal people themselves. The red represents the Earth and the Aboriginal people’s special relationship to the land. The yellow circle in the middle represents the sun, the giver of life.
A possum’s fur was a great material for keeping babies warm. They would carve a seat for their babies out of wood, and leave them in the seat, wrapped in the fur.
When they would go hunting, Aboriginals would use two boomerangs. They would throw the returning boomerang a little high to get the attention of the animals; then they would throw the non-returning one lower to strike a blow.
In the dreamtime culture, they believe that once upon a time, whales used to walk on land. (Now that would be a sight!)
Once the tour was over, Trevor and I went in search of a car rental place. After a couple unsuccessful attempts, were eventually told to visit the airport. And that’s how we got our little white Suzuki something or other. I somehow forgot to take a picture of her, but I called her Suzie Kee. Suze for short.
We had a solid 9 hour drive to Byron Bay ahead of us, and it was already 4:00 when we left the airport, so we didn’t quite make it. We stopped 90 minutes from Byron Bay and slept on the side of the highway in a little rest area.
Australia is awesome when it comes to their road safety. They have signs everywhere encouraging drivers to pull over and rest. They even offer areas where drivers can pull over and have a snooze. Considering how expensive Melbourne and Sydney were, it was nice to get something of great value for free from Australia: A place to sleep.