Tuesday 23 August 2022.
Highlights: The rugged Australian Outback, Learning the history of Argyle Mine and local Aboriginal history, The Five Rivers at Wyndham
An early start to the day with breakfast at 6 am and on the road by 7 am for 346 kilometre drive to Emma Gorge (plus a surprise extra trip to Wyndham). Today’s drive again gain us all a front view to the rugged and beautiful Australia Outback including some burnt and burning areas.
A major highlight of the day was going to the Lake Argyle area and being meet by local Aboriginal leader Ted Hall who explained the history of the Argyle Diamond Mine. The mine was in operation between 1980 and 2020 and is now undergoing 15 years of close down and environmental rehabilitation work.
Ted explained the history of how the mine was found, they were looking for uranium not diamonds, and how the area was listed as Aboriginal historical site before diamonds were found. This meant that this isn’t the normal situation of native title being established after a mining area has been leased. Instead the mining company had to negotiate to be able to mine. Originally they signed a 20 year deal with four key Aboriginal Elders for $280,000 each per year a bargain deal.
When this deal was up however local Aboriginal women got involved, as historically they should have been the ones negotiating access based on local custom and Dreamtime stories of the area. These women negotiate a new deal which bought TAFE education to local aboriginals, money into a development fund and shares in Rio Tinto for long term financial security.
Ted told some great stories and is an amazing man. We did have one interesting moment as one of our group had a giant spider drop onto their back!
From here we did a bonus trip to Wyndham and more specifically a climb to top of a mountain to see the Five Rivers which gave us a fantastic view of the area.
Wyndham used to be a live cattle export port but is now home to only 900 people and a big crocodile!
On the way to Emma Gorge and the El Questro Wilderness Park we stopped and visited Parry’s Lagoon for a bit of bird watching and in Kara’s case crocodile spotting as se found a half submerged big crocodile.
On arrival at the Emma Gorge Resort we realised just how remote we are and how lucky to stay at this stunning and remote oasis. After inspecting our ‘tent’, more like a cabin, Kara and myself visited the pool to refresh our feet and later kicked back at dinner enjoying some alcoholic beverages 🙂