By Steven Strong
Contributing Writer for Wake Up World
This Original complex of “terraces, mounds and stone arrangements”, according to the President of the Australian Archaeological Research and Education Society, Frederic Slater, contained “the basis of all knowledge in the beginning, now and to come”.
I could offer commentary on logistics, measurements, the massive quantity of sandstone found in an area that includes only igneous geology, and the thousands of cubic metres of exotic material that makes up one mound. But we must first factor in the wisdom and guidance of the Original Elders and Custodians of Lore – ‘Uncle’ Harry, Jarmbi’je, Rob, Kevin, Iris, Karno, Adam, Mark, Scott and Darren – who joined us on site.
Invariably our research team begins every investigation by consulting with those who speak on behalf of the people who were here first: the Original Australians. Only then, with a clear and present understanding of who, what, where, and to a lesser extent why, is it appropriate to walk on site and begin any archaeology or research.
As a group, we always work as a collective under the banner of Southern Law and Wirritjin (Black-fella White-fella Dreaming). No-one speaks for any individual, but with and on behalf of the entire group. That being the path taken, I will present what the Original Elders and Custodians said and did, without specifying who, and do so on behalf of the collective. This was always their way and it is ours as well; no egos, all as one, therefore, no names will be provided, just team outcomes and possibilities.
First and foremost we will begin with an absolute fact: this site chronicles the very first language spoken or recorded. It has become increasingly clear before, during and upon reflection. The “Mystery of Life” was compiled and constructed by Homo sapien sapiens, and is a profound and sacred historical record detailing human origins, purpose and connection to the Divine.
Day 1: The “Old Ones”
From the moment we stepped onto the outer edge of this isolated site, nearly everyone sensed the presence of the “Old Ones” – the Spirit Guardians of the land. After all of the appropriate ceremonies were given and sensitive matters negotiated, the Elders and Custodians needed to go ahead first to have time to examine the site and be alone with the Guardians. Our team of close to 20 volunteers had to wait and bide their time, and hope permission would be granted to enter this sacred place.
The closer we got, the more the Original men called aloud to the “Old Ones”, stating both our intentions and deep respect. They sensed their presence and power, within and without. While most of the Original men were standing on the largest ridge, one of the Elders – a man of immense stature and knowledge of the Old Ways and Language – called on the Spirits of this sacred site for a sign.
What we got was so much more, spiralling overhead in ever increasing numbers.
Initially, three hawks came as summoned. But as appreciative as the Elder was, he called for more. A fourth, then a fifth bird joined the procession. With five hawks directly above them, the Elder was mightily pleased, but the tally was incomplete. He asked for six… then seven… but it was still one short of the number that most resembled the stone configuration on the mound, and the number that symbolised Wirritjin: eight. And so he asked for eight… and the last bird came. Finally, eight hawks circled above their heads as they stood gazing upwards on this most sacred mound.
There is no question… the omen from above was Heaven-sent.
Approval was given for us to continue, so I was directed to go back and bring those waiting some distance away. Since we had been on site for close to half an hour, I decided to run down the hill and at solid pace, and to keep that speed until my lungs gave out. As soon as I hit the flats, a shadow appeared barely a metre in front of me; it was one of the eight hawks. Always just a pace or two behind its shadow, I kept running, mindful that my feathered escort was setting the pace and urging me to hurry. My breathing was becoming more laboured and shallow, and sweat was trickling down my face. But I had no choice but to keep up with my pace-setting escort. It was only at the last gate, some 200 metres from our assembly point, that the hawk peeled off and resumed its normal duties.
With everyone finally gathered in one spot on a flat area between the mounds, all present were reminded before beginning that this was a place where Clever-fellas and Kadaitcha men (the spiritual men of Original people) sang and danced ceremonies of the highest order, communicating directly with the Spirits and the “Old Ones”.
Tasks were negotiated and it was time to begin. Originally it was my intention that we dig 5-7 small pits of between 50-100 cms width at a depth of 1-2 metres. My expectation was that five pits were to be dug near, on the very edge, and one very delicate excavation was to be positioned at the central point of the smaller 70 metre mound. But things changed on site. With no real idea of the function or role of this construction, the three most talented team members (both in terms of archaeology and sensitivity to energies – and hopefully to the Guardian Spirits) were sent to the top of the mound, just to see what would happen. It was a wise choice.
Two of the three couldn’t bring themselves to disturb the soil. They shared heart palpitations, an overwhelming sense of death, and an anguish that demanded they immediately down tools and leave. Ashen-faced and totally undone, they sought me and I immediately sent word up the ‘chain of command’, asking that two Original escorts join them on the mound. The outcome was, but shouldn’t have been, an unexpected turn of events; this was a burial site dedicated to the most revered Original men of high degree. Over thousands of years, and possibly much longer, the wisest and most spiritually advanced were lay in rest inside this 70 metre almost perfectly symmetrical burial mound.
(Temporarily jumping the story forward to three days ago… I was re-reading Slater’s notes and came upon a section I had previously highlighted and circled in black pen: Slater warmly praised his dedicated colleague for discovering “a burial ground” and declared it to be “a feather in your cap.” I thought: it may have seemed a mistake sending those team members up to the mound, but their response did confirm for us what Slater already knew.)
During our first break, I felt the timing was right to introduce an extremely unusual and obviously artificial shaped igneous rock of seven sides and messages. It was found by one of Original people on site that day and was fashioned by tools and technology supposedly absent in this continent before Cook. One of the Original Elders, a man stepped in ancient Lore, took some of the men to the top section of southern mound and asked us to decide the point we thought marked the centre-point of the southern circle. Our advisor then carefully placed the rock on the ground and shared with us six of the seven different messages/meanings. Alas, I was without pen or paper, and due to the overload of information, stories, hand signs and archaeology I only remember the four that related to the six seasons, solstice, direction and the exact position of the northern circle.
That night I kept sensing there was a need for speed, that the next day had to be quick and brief as we could be, and that no spade or shovel was to be part of this day.
Day 2: Setting Future Directions
On the second day an Original woman of considerable standing, and with a powerful connection to site, joined our party and took the non-Original woman away to assess her motivations, clarify her purpose and strengthen her contact to this sacred land. They then returned to continue counting rocks, a task they had the chance of completing in the time available.
The men in our party were broken into groups of two and three. A party of two was sent out to range along the ridges in search of sandstone, and found nothing that wasn’t igneous. Another group went out in search of a rumoured much smaller mound and found nothing, while the rest of us began the count of stones on the higher sections and plateau of the main ridge. The number of stones up high was in the hundreds and our records nowhere near complete, but our time on site was.
The team left and it was time to sit on country in a circle and set future directions. The Original woman spoke first, setting the tone and direction of what followed. She was relaying the wishes of one Spirit all seated held in the highest regard. She spoke of sharing culture or perishing, news of this place and its significance must be shared freely. An incredibly ancient and holy site of the highest order, from this point on every step taken and word uttered while on and near site has to be in accord with a sacred complex where the First Sacred Language was gifted to humanity, and men of the very highest calibre were interred.
We talked for hours and came to a consensus on all issues. All were agreed that these hallowed grounds and arrangements sat on Ngarkwal (Ngarakwal or Ngarkbul) land, which was part of a massive Southern Law confederation that covers close to half the continent. We agreed that future actions must be made in accord with the principles of Wirritjin; Black-fella White-fella Dreaming. We also agreed that the sites’ location and identity of the present owners will be kept secret, and that no-one must even consider approaching this site unless given proper ceremony; it would be both offensive and dangerous to do otherwise.
In concluding the Original Elders’ and Custodians’ case, it is fitting to refer back to the very first narrative created at this place, which, according to Frederic Slater, “explains the journey of man through life and the immortality of the soul.” Here is a brief and random sampling of what the Ancient Ones thought about and meditated upon.
“Enter and learn the Truth of the Divine Light.“
“The breath of God is the Divine light of the Soul.”
“The soul of man came from the immortal light to drink the water of life from God.”
“Guided by truth man came to earth through darkness from the light of life that shines far off.”
With an Original foundation set into stone, hand signs, hawks above and the Spirits’ consent, my next article will be an account of the archaeology, measurements, angles, tally of sandstone rocks and foreign technology used on site. It contradicts so much that has been written, not only about Original but world pre-history.
About the author:
Steven Strong is an Australian-based researcher, author and former high school teacher. Together with his son Evan, his work is to explore the ancient story of the Original people, a narrative that was almost lost to aggressive European colonisation.
Edited and additional commentary by Andy Whiteley for Wake Up World.
This article © Wake Up World.