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Victoria Valley Murujuga

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See below for the 2011 experience

THE TOUR 23rd July - 30th July 2011
FARA's fifth Burrup Heritage Tour returned from the warmth of the Pilbara at the end of July, with another bus full of travellers in awe of the unique heritage offered by this extraordinary country.

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A diverse group of 50 people spent a week exploring the treasures of the Burrup under the expert guidance of FARA's wonderful supporters - Robin Chapple, Gary Slee and Ken Mulvaney. Although some of this year's participants were restricted in their agility, every person had ample opportunity to experience and learn about the range of styles that tell the story of continuous human occupation of the area over possibly the past 30,000 years.

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Scaling the hillsides with care, the group witnessed the changing face of the rock, depending on the angle of the sun, the presence of shade or the viewing position. Participants experienced the joy of discovery that keeps Ken, Robin and Gary going back to unlock the mysteries of past ages. Their knowledge and ability to communicate meant we could all begin to understand some of what resides in this unique precinct.

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The prolific nature of the art makes it clear to all visitors that any development on Murujuga (Burrup Peninsula) cannot avoid disturbing valuable rock images. The looming presence of industrial development adjacent to areas of concentrated archaic faces, macropods, waterlife and ancient geometric patterns was a salutary experience for participants. For many it strengthened their resolve to ensure that future development is curtailed.

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In particular, seeing the two sites that are proposed for ammonium nitrate plants reinforced the lunacy of pairing industry with this wild landscape. Regular lunches at Hearson's Cove took participants down a road that would become the entry-way to industry that will add air emissions that threaten the future existence of the rock art.

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A 'day off' was enjoyed travelling to Roebourne to learn the sad history of the old gaol and to wander down the street to two Aboriginal art centres. There was a frenzy of buying of the exuberant artworks direct from the artists. Lunch and a leisurely afternoon followed at historic Cossack where we were privileged to have the Roebourne artists join us for long, slow chats over tasty hamburgers and under shady trees.

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Evenings were a relaxed affair back at camp where all could share the excitement of the day, uncovering the two degrees of separation that is WA, make new friends and demolish the great food prepared for us by Cross Country Tours.

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The daily chatter, feedback from our travellers and written evaluation forms all confirmed that, yet again, FARA's Burrup Tour was a very special experience for everyone on board.

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New discoveries were made including archaic faces and the realisation that the "Climbing men" engraving at Deep Gorge is a portion of a much bigger rock.

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