The Anthropologist

We have an unexpected surprise at happy hour when two blokes tear into the camp in an old rusty ute with a couple of dogs in the back. Craig and David are locals and they enthral the boys with their stories of life around Quilpie and Charleville. David’s ancestors bought a mob of cattle in Melbourne and drove them northward following the rivers until they reached Quilpie. These days David has 255,000 acres at Quilpie and his son runs a helicopter mustering business. Seeing a good sized crowd around the fire, Craig of Aboriginal descent, suggests that he give a talk and disappears. ‘Talk?’ we wonder. It turns out that Craig is an anthropologist working for the government researching indigenous culture. His personal hobby is collecting aboriginal artefacts especially from overseas to bring them home. He shows us ancient coolamons, shields, boomerangs, nulla nullas, axes and sharpening stones and we get to hold them. There is even a ceremonial headdress.
Craig explained how the Easter Island people died out because they outgrew the food on their island and then turned to cannibalism before they eventually died out. The Maoris of New Zealand too were close to running out of food when the British arrived. Except their guerrilla tactics in tunnelling outfoxed the British. Thus the treaty of Waitangi was a guarantee of peace for food supply.
We learn that there are five different Aboriginal groups in Australia who each arrived at different times. Those in the Gulf area are taller and slimmer than the peoples of the south.
There is an indigenous lady in our group and she shares her family story with us as well. How lucky we are to meet these fascinating people. What a night having a drink around the fire turned out to be. Thanks Craig.  

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14 thoughts on “The Anthropologist

  1. Love your post. What a wonderful, interesting job Craig must have. The aboriginal culture is so fascinating and they tell their stories so beautifully, what a wonderful campfire to fine yourself at. I would love to be a helicopter farmer:) sound like so much fun.

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