Caring for Country: Hayes Springs, Mparntwenge. Salt Springs, Irlkerteye

Caring for Country: Hayes Springs, Mparntwenge. Salt Springs, Irlkerteye Journal Article

Dialogue: the Journal of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia

  • Author(s): Veronica Dobson
  • Published: 2009
  • Volume: 28

Abstract: Our old people in the early times taught us about the importance of water sites on the lands that our people lived on for centuries; these were our drinking waters. Spring sites were very special, significant places for my people. On their homelands these waters were permanent. Before white men came and sank bores for communities and missions, people used waters from rockholes, soaks, springs, inpe holes, and from waterholes in creeks. The animals that people hunted drank the same waters: the euros, kangaroos, wallabies, emus, perenties, goannas, bush turkeys, birds, snakes and all the little animals that live in the waters. We have always cared for these water places: kept them clean, made sure that the waters didn’t dry out The desert people, who are Traditional Owners of these lands, have the knowledge of where these waters are: kwatye apirnte, springs; kwatye arnerre, rockholes; kwatye ngentye, soakages; kwatye inpe, waters in small or large round holes, covered with flat stones, in hills or at the foot of hills; kwatye lherele athertneme, creek waterholes; kwatye alaye, swamps; kwatye utnarlperte, waters in tree roots. There were also kwatye wape, waters in tree hollows; and kwatye awenge, waters in rivers that last for long periods of time. These waters were used for drinking, swimming, bathing and other uses. These waters have been on the land since the creation time, before bores, tanks, dams and taps were ever thought of. On these sites waters were always there; they weren’t manmade like everything now All Aboriginal people in their traditional areas on homelands scattered around Central Australia have lots of sacred sites. They are where waters or cave paintings or meat animals or seed-bearing plants or other plants that are used for food or medicine are located.

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Suggested Citation
Veronica Dobson, 2009, Caring for Country: Hayes Springs, Mparntwenge. Salt Springs, Irlkerteye, Volume:28, Journal Article, viewed 13 July 2024,

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