Does this count as a roadsign for my collection? Not exactly what you think of as Australian animals, but we see a lot of these signs! So far up this way we’ve seen wandering cattle, but no sheep yet. After Cooktown we spent a night in nearby Lakeland so that we could make a quick visit over to Laura to see the Aboriginal rock art at Split Rock. (I never know whether I’m supposed to capitalise Aboriginal, I see it both ways and have yet to figure it all out. So I’m capitalising it, just in case. I also don’t know when to use Aborigine vs Aboriginal. Maybe by the end of this trip I’ll know!) We didn’t bring many picture books with us, but this one had to come along! This is by a well-known Aussie children’s author, and it’s about a family taking a trip around Australia in a caravan. Ahem. We also have the audio and we listened to it in the car that day. At the beginning is a map showing their route and it’s fun to see the places we’ve yet to go. This guy was veeerrry quiet. Turns out he was just very interested in his book. Tangent…Once when I was stopped for a breath test I had my three older kids all lined up in the backseat next to each other. (Breath tests are random and common here, this one was in the middle of the day in the middle of town.) Each kid had a book open on their lap. The officer saw them as he was administering my test and asked ‘How do you do that?’ I laughed, but from the look on his face he was serious. He asked again, and I laughed again. Three kids, all lined up and quiet in the backseat, happily looking at their books. How do you do that? The answer is, you give them books. Lots of books. From a young age. (Insert spooky whispers: If you build it…) But back to our story… This far north we pass a lot of bananas, and a lot of sugarcane. This day it was bananas. Not sure whether the bags protect from the elements or the animals, but this far north in the middle of winter I’m guessing animals. Our first stop was the Quinkan and Regional Cultural Centre in Laura. The display there is really very good and worth visiting. There was a small fee to enter. The kids loved this display on guessing the animal tracks. And this one with the grinding stone and information on how they made paints. And I loved all the information on the signage. They were really well done. Then I realised some kids were missing and I found them inspecting the termite mounds out back. Which are very interesting also, especially if you find a broken one. Some of them are quite large, which makes them especially fascinating. But, back to the museum! Of course there was information on interpreting the rock art. And on how the paintings are made: the paints and tools. We also watched a video that interviewed some of the Aboriginal guides in the area. Laura is famous for its Aboriginal Dance Festival. We missed this year’s by a few weeks. I loved this room with the giant pictures and mirrors, we tried out the various dance poses. The spelling of kangaroo came from Captain Cook and Joseph Banks. They did their best to interpret the Aboriginal word into English. They originally spelled it kanguroo. Aboriginals in the area spell it gangurru. Something I’ve never imagined before: the first car to make the trek to the tip of Cape York. I would not have guessed it was as early as 1928. Part of the rock art is free to view, you just have to be able to walk up to it. You can also pay for a tour which will take you to even more rock art and engravings. The site is about 11km outside of town. There were three different galleries to view. The flying foxes were my favourite. There was a bit of a walk up to the sites with a couple of steep spots but otherwise not too bad. It gave a good view of the surrounding area so you could see why Aboriginals would spend time up here. This was our first viewing of rock art on our trip, we hope to see more in the Northern Territory. We’ll be heading back down the coast then inland to Longreach and eventually Alice Springs and Uluru, then north to Darwin. We can’t wait to see more of this great country!