Yiwarra Kuju / One Road
January 31, 2012 6:23 AM   Subscribe

Running nearly 2000 kilometres through Western Australia, the Canning Stock Route is the longest stock route in the world. And since 2006, Indigenous Australians from WA's Mid-West, Pilbara, and Kimberley region have been sharing their stories about this region through the Canning Stock Route Project.

The following links contain images and recordings of indigenous Australians, some of whom are deceased.

The people involved in the project have produced many films and publications, but most spectacular are the artworks created by dozens of artists, all of whom help tell the story of a land in which their ancestors have lived for tens of thousands of years. These works have toured Australia in major galleries, and are currently exhibited in Sydney.

Some of the most striking paintings are the maps, which uniquely mesh familiar Western cartography with indigenous art styles and ways of visualising landscapes.

There's much more to see on the project's website. Grab some coffee, sit back, and take some time out to watch the videos and click through all the images and artist biographies (hint: right-click on most of the paintings and select "View Image" [or your non-Firefox browser equivalent] to get to larger size images like this or this). It's worth your time.
posted by barnacles (14 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Thanks to desjardins, whose brilliant Cartophile blog prompted this post.
posted by barnacles at 6:29 AM on January 31, 2012

The following links contain images and recordings of indigenous Australians, some of whom are deceased.

This is a very unusual disclaimer. No offense intended, but I'm curious about its presence. Is there a taboo against photography or recording among indigenous Australians?
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:38 AM on January 31, 2012

Not against photography per se, but against photography and film of those who have since died, for sure. I have no idea how widespread it is, however.
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 6:49 AM on January 31, 2012

I doubt there would be any offense taken! Many indigenous communities have avoidance practices regarding images and discussion of the dead, and it is not uncommon to see such disclaimers when tv programmes or websites include images of people who are deceased. I figured it was respectful to include them here, too.
posted by barnacles at 6:52 AM on January 31, 2012

I did not know that. Thank you.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:15 AM on January 31, 2012

The Canning Stock Route is also a legendary 4x4 journey, because of its length and remoteness rather than its technical difficulty. One of two well known ones - the other being crossing the Simpson Desert.

You need to pay someone to drop some fuel along the way and if you break down.. if your vehicle breaks down completely and you cannot bodge a repair it is eye wateringly expensive to pay for someone to go out and pick up your vehicle.* $5000, 50% up front. That's the recovery, not the repair fee.

To arrange a fuel drop at Well 23 phone the Capricorn Roadhouse at Newman on (08) 9175 1535. Also phone the The Kunawarritji Aboriginal Community Store at Well 33 to make sure your fuel has arrived (08) 9176 9040

Occasionally people drive the Canning Stock Route and find some cad has nicked their fuel. Which is inconvenient, as you can imagine.

*At a station a few hundred km off the Gibb River Road I once saw a nice looking 4x4 which had been left by its owner because the cost of having it towed to Derby + the repairs was more than it was worth.
posted by MuffinMan at 9:36 AM on January 31, 2012

You can avoid the hassle of dealing with a fuel drop by simply riding a bicycle. Doesn't mean it won't be incredibly challenging, even with the ultimate adventure bike.
posted by lantius at 11:05 AM on January 31, 2012

Here is a pdf document on best practices for referring to deceased indigenous persons from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's (the national broadcaster) website.
posted by Alice Russel-Wallace at 2:19 PM on January 31, 2012

Excellent post!

The Canning Stock Route recently killed Mercedes' Geländewagen demonstrators during a press event. Note that the vehicles affected were the "posh" G-wagen, the W463. The lone remaining undamaged support vehicle was a W461, the military/agricultural G-wagen.
posted by Harald74 at 1:43 AM on February 1, 2012

I had no idea the Canning Stock Route had this kind of importance. Thanks for posting this! I wonder if the exhibit will be in WA again at some time, I'd love to see it.
posted by harriet vane at 4:31 AM on February 1, 2012

This is awesome, thank you.
posted by Fnarf at 4:57 AM on February 1, 2012

Harald74: "The Canning Stock Route recently killed Mercedes' Geländewagen demonstrators"

I get the impression that German automotive engineers don't often deal with fine dust. I heard from an Opel India employee that their engineers in Germany were unwilling to believe that their beautifully designed cars couldn't deal with the famously dusty Indian conditions, despite mounting evidence. Eventually the reliability problems got so bad that GM shut down Opel in India completely.
posted by vanar sena at 5:49 AM on February 1, 2012

You need to pay someone to drop some fuel along the way and if you break down.. if your vehicle breaks down completely and you cannot bodge a repair it is eye wateringly expensive to pay for someone to go out and pick up your vehicle.* $5000, 50% up front. That's the recovery, not the repair fee.

I've taken care of, and worked for, the towing business in Halls Creek. I recall it being full payment up front. Which I suppose is devastating for some people, and outrageous to others, but.. you know..

If you're really wrecked on the Canning Stock Route.. say you've busted both axles..

It's about 170-80km on dirt just to get from Halls Creek to the northern end of the Canning at Billiluna. That dirt's the Tanami Track, which can be almost undriveable in a flatbed or tilt-tray for 3 or 4 months a year. Some years it's officially closed to all traffic for that long. Even when the Tanami is freshly rebuilt and graded, flatbeds and tilt-trays are just about the worst possible vehicles to drive it in. Little wheels, long and rigid, not particularly powerful. In short, it's a risky and dangerous business just to get out to you, even if you're broken down right there outside the Kururrungku Store in Billiluna.

If you're wrecked further down the Canning, think about the fact that someone's about to bring a small truck designed for city driving along the same dirt track that killed your kitted out 4WD. Then they're going to load you on the back, and wobble their way back to town over the next few days. And it'll be a lot more dangerous on the way back than it was on the way out. Both to the truck and the driver.

So.. you know.. my sympathies don't really lie with the recreational driver who ends up needing to be rescued. Rather, they lie with the blokes (and sheila) who put their own safety, and that of their vehicles, at quite substantial risk so that others might do their adventure thing..

Not really having a go, Muffinman. Just covering a Spanish trucker's back. Some may say he overcharges! Others say he chopped off a man's finger with a machete! Still others say he shot a thief in the arse, and was promptly made a JP!

But I say he is a brave and noble soul. And that he's always good for a free coke.

posted by Ahab at 7:30 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

vanar sena, we have some of the same complaints in the Nordic countries regarding the cold. Technology that works just fine in central Europe craps out after six months of weather ranging from cold and damp to icy cold and dry. Seems like the engineers in question needs to experience local conditions in the flesh to appriciate how fundamental the differences are.

On the subject of the G-wagens, I got the impression that all failures were shock absorbers. Probably a function of slightly underspecced suspension, and journalists driving. BTW, Australian aftermarket suspensionsions are widely regarded as the gold standard for overlanding and general off road driving.
posted by Harald74 at 12:05 AM on February 2, 2012

« Older "As we shall see, the presence of one or more...   |   Is the Earth getting lighter? Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments