What's next I hear you ask? Well....it's Victoria Fossil Cave at Naracoorte in SA! Yaaaayyyy!!! [And the crowd are going wild!] Yes, it appears that many moons ago, in the time before The Internet, people actually socialised with each other, and went outdoors and explored stuff. And some guys explored so much that they eventually found a cave with loads of fossils in it, and they got all excited and shouted “Victoria!” instead of “Eureka!” and that’s how the Victoria Fossil Cave was named. Possibly.
So what happens is this: some animals (like owls or bats, or trolls) live in the caves and leave the bones of their prey lying about, whilst other animals fall down big holes, die, decompose, fossilise, and then become famous years later after being discovered doing a whole bunch of nothing. A bit like Kardashians, only actually interesting.
These caves were formed about a million years ago and there's supposedly bones of over 100 different species of animal entombed here, including megafauna bones that are about 40,000 years old. That's almost as old as Cliff Richard!
The Naracoorte Caves system comprises several caves, all of which can be visited, mostly on separate tours with guides. Between them, there is 'half a million years of biodiversity and climate history' according to some research fellows at the University of Adelaide, who know about this stuff. It's definitely worth a visit, even if you're not a university boffin.
Because we're supremely organised, can share the driving and it was still daylight savings time, we decided to follow a sign to 'Bunjil's Cave' at Black Range near the Grampians, because we thought, you know...it might be a cave. It wasn't. As we got closer, the signs became 'Bunjil's Shelter' which, it turned out, was a more apt name, but still didn't tell us who Bunjil was. Fortunately, the site has loads of information...so sit back and prepare to be educated!
In Aboriginal mythology, Bunjil is the creator of everything, and remains as a protector in the form of an eagle. Bunjil's Shelter is situated on a small hill in the Black Range Scenic Park in Gariwerd (aka the Grampians), and contains a painting of Bunjil and his dogs. Gariwerd is the heart of Aboriginal culture in Victoria, and contains many rock art sites, but Bunjil’s Shelter is the most significant because it contains the only known painting of Bunjil.
The artwork is ancient but it is not known exactly how old it is, or who painted it. Given the acceptance that Bunjil did actually live here during the Dreamtime, could it have been the first Aboriginal selfie??
There are hundreds of Aboriginal rock art sites dotted around Gariwerd, but only a handful are accessible to the public. Sadly, bars have had to be erected around each of these sites to protect the paintings from vandalism. Some people just shouldn't be allowed out.