Before leaving Kakadu we took a run from Jim Jim Billabong
up to Jabiru, the town originally set up for the workforce of the adjacent
Ranger Uranium Mine, to obtain a permit from the Northern Land Council
to visit Injalak Arts and Crafts, located at Kunbarllanjnja in Arnhem
We were advised to enter Arnhem Land early the following
morning in order to ford the notorious Cahill's crossing on the East Alligator
River at low tide.
Inspired by a host of photographs and press clippings
on display at the Land Council's office graphically recording the predicament
of the numerous trucks, four wheel drives, a road train and a mobile home
that had all been swept off the causeway over recent years by fast moving
currents, we stuck strictly to the advice provided.
Almost as soon as we crossed the East Alligator River,
the change in scenery was dramatic...almost reminiscent of Jurassic Park.
In fact, it made Kakadu appear rather bland by comparison.
The wetlands, billabongs and sandstone escarpments
were particularly impressive ...their hues mellowed by the soft light
of the early morning sky.
Injalak Arts and Craft Gallery is located about 18
km from the East Alligator River and abounds in a range of local arts
and crafts, many unique to the area.
We spent and hour or so browsing the Gallery and felt
like kids let loose in a candy store...there was so much to choose from...but
being mindful of the several months travelling that lay ahead of us...and
our limited budget...we showed unusual restraint in our purchases...in
the end, three small, but very special paintings.