After breakfast we went out on a tour of the park which is vast. Kata Tjuta is also within the park and I was fascinated to hear from the guide the importance of these enormous rock formations to the Aboriginals of Central Australia.
They were formed at different times, though many millennia ago and are of different kinds of rock. Therefore they have eroded differently. Although both formations are considered sacred by the Aborigines of Central Australia, they serve different purposes in their culture and religious ceremonies.
Kata TJuta is used for male ceremonies, Aboriginal women never go there. Aboriginal boys are initiated into manhood at this site. They are initiated at the age of 24, which seems rather late and the ceremonies which include body painting and the smashing out of a front tooth, also include circumcision performed with a sharp stone! I can hear the sharp intake of breath from my menfolk from here.
Once a boy becomes a man he is expected to marry and although he is 24 his bride will be 13 or 14 years old. He will not choose his bride but he will be chosen by the girl and her mother. Marriage is for life. Divorce is unknown and anyone who leaves their spouse is considered an outcast.
Ayers Rock is a females deity. This morning when we got close to the rock we could see that it does not have the sheer sides as it appears from a distance. In fact erosion has formed many different shapes in the rock. Our guide entertained us with the story of creation, Aboriginal style. The story concerns a man and a woman naturally and he pointed out the different shapes and marks in the rock that are used to tell the story to Aboriginal children.
These cave drawings are very ancient, no one knows exactly what they mean but it is speculated that they were drawn as part of a lesson to young boys.
The desert bloomed for us, not a common sight!
It was a fascinating morning, but very very very hot! In the afternoon we flew to Cairns, another half hour time difference! It is also hot here and very humid!