National Geographic : 1963 Sep
patterned with traditional designs, and their hands gripping long, sharp spears and waddies, they seemed, at first, a wild lot. I jostled with the bishops, laymen, and school children to see them dance. Close up I noticed that their eyes were gentle, their features mild, their aspect cheerful. They chanted in low voices while they performed weird danc es, acted out hunting scenes on the grass. They hopped like wallabies, then pretend ed with a lively imagery to be birds, warriors, and oars men in a longboat-perhaps rowing the captain of the Beagle (Darwin is named for Charles Darwin; the fa mous Beagle called there). Their choreography was really astonishing. "They're not as primitive as they look," Keetley said. "There are 60 million acres set aside in the territory as reservations for aborigines, but the policy is to make them full citizens, the same as anybody else. It could take time, but it's working." On the Sunday when the cathedral was officially opened, I listened to an ad dress in perfect English by a full-blooded Tiwi tribes man from nearby Bathurst Island, named Edmund. Outside the cathedral a bearded black man in long trousers and neat shirt leaned against the fence with a little chap, aged three, seated on his shoulder. In the cathedral is a striking painting of the Madonna and Child as natives. The little chap looked like the Child. Rain Actually Falls on Alice It is a long way by road down to Alice Springs, called the Alice (or just Alice) by the locals-almost a thousand miles. I flew. Nance and the children were already there. "We love Alice," was my greeting from Kath. "Please, may we have a long stay here?" "At least a month," said Pete. "I want to go on a cattle station and out with the stockmen, 374 and I'd like to climb Ayers Rock, and fly with the flying doctor." Nance wanted to learn about the Namatji ras and the other aboriginal artists, to see the ghost gum trees that Albert Namatjira painted, and to picnic in Standley Chasm, where the noon sun strikes 250 feet down a cleft in the Chewings Ranges, turning the canyon a brilliant gold. "Stay in this dry place?" I asked. "We have to visit Canberra, see the Melbourne Cup, do all sorts of things." "But it isn't dry," they all shouted. "It rained last week-real rain. The Todd River had water in it! Flowing on top! All Alice turned out to see it."