The Kimberley is an area of northern Western Australia - it's a few thousand miles that-a-way.
So, read this story and see if it makes sense to you...
IT WAS meant to be the Dreamtime set in stone, a celebration of reconciliation and a "revival of Aboriginal spirituality". But Wanjina Watchers in the Whispering Stone, an 8.5-tonne sculpture in Katoomba, has sparked vandalism and death threats.
Right, that first paragraph sets the tone and the location.
But the book offended many local Aborigines, not least for its illustrations of wanjina, a sacred creation ancestor of the Kimberley people in Western Australia.
So a white artist, based in Sydney, creates a sculpture that is based on works created by aborigines on the other side of the continent. How on earth would the local aborigines know what a tribe or "skin group" from 4000 miles away was and wasn't sacred? Oh, mobile phones and the internet - two "traditional" forms of communication.
"It's totally inappropriate for a non-indigenous person to be doing wanjinas, especially without permission," said Chris Tobin, a member of the local Darug people who works as a guide with the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
Who says that a member of the Darug people has any right to speak for another tribe? This would be like me, an Australian, commenting on Swedish rights and customs. The Darug people wouldn't have a frigging clue about the laws and customs of the Kimberly group. I'll bet that the only way the Darug people and the Kimberly mob can communicate is via English, as their native tongues would be utterly incomprehensible to each other.
"Aboriginal law is very specific on what you can and can't do with wanjinas."
Really? Show me the clauses and paragraphs that relate to wanjinas.
The owner of Coo-ee Aboriginal Art Gallery in Bondi, Adrian Newstead, says local Aborigines have every right to be disgusted. ''Only a few Aboriginal artists ever win the right to depict wanjina, and only then after years of initiations and ceremonies. And then this artist rocks up and says, 'Bugger all that; I'll just do whatever I like'. "
Now we have an art gallery owner in Bondi of all places commenting on the laws of a group that live in another state, who speak a different language and have different customs and laws to the locals. Sorry to break it to the soft heads, but there was never an aboriginal people, and there never will be. There were hundreds, if not thousands, of separate tribes, or skin groups, when the white people got here, and they were not unified by language, culture or laws. I bet that 200 years ago, the Bondi mob and the Katoomba mob probably couldn't even talk to each other, and they're only 60 miles apart.
Then again, the Blue Mountains are very rough country. When Hume and Hovell went through them on their journey of exploration, I don't remember them writing about meeting any tribes in the Blue Mountains. I'll have to look that up. It's a nice place to have a cabin amongst the trees, but probably not a great place to live as a hunter-gatherer. Which if true, begs the question of "where the hell did this Darug people bloke originally come from? Is he a blow in from elsewhere?"
Matters escalated when she commissioned the Sydney artist Ben Osvath to sculpt the sandstone mural of wanjina. She describes the work as a "magic stone" with "special healing powers". The night before its unveiling on March 6 it was attacked with an axe.
OK, we are starting to go off with the fairies now. Maybe Obama can solve all their problems by purchasing it and making it the centre piece of Obamacare. The "special healing powers" should sort out the US health care system.
"Some of the locals are going on with the whole 'you are stealing our culture' routine," Osvath says. "But I am an art teacher, and in art it's anything goes."
I love it when Art and Aboriginal guilt collide. The leftie artists are always bleating on about how special aboriginal culture is - until some angry blackfella attacks their work with an axe. Or their house.
Osvath, who teaches at Matraville Sports High School , says there is now a "vigilante thing" going on in Katoomba. The sculpture's opponents have set up a website, which criticises Tenodi for holding in contempt "important spiritual beliefs''.
Ah, a website. A traditional aboriginal method for communicating with other tribes. I also love the bit about them being annoyed for "holding in contempt important spiritual beliefs". I am looking forward to this mob setting up a website next time someone attacks the Christian church.
Asked if she had sought permission to use the image, Tenodi says she did not need to. "It was actually the other way around - the spirits asked me to do this. They asked me to revive the tradition which has turned into dead knowledge, and I agreed."
"The spirits asked me". Yep, after the third bong. Now that's what I call a "smoking ceremony". And now she says that this has turned into "dead knowledge". What have the traditional custodians been doing? Why haven't they kept it alive? Oh, they're pissed all the time on sit-down money.
She calls the spirits "Those-Who-Know" or the "DreamTimeKeepers", "teachers from other realms" with whom she has taken an "oath of secrecy". She says she has been selected to "revive the spirituality from which the so-called Aboriginal elders have become so disconnected".
What a whacko. I think we will visit Katoomba today just to check this out.