Australian aboriginals assigned as much importance to the dark areas of the sky as we do to the star formations. Looking up towards the Southern Cross, for example, they saw an emu in the sky where we would see only dark clouds:
This image courtesy of: http://kamilaroianationsidentity.weebly.com/the-dreaming.html
The area that is the head corresponds to the area known colloquially to astronomers as the ‘Coal Sack’ and is located just to the lower left side of the Southern Cross.
This image courtesy of NASA APOD
The complete emu is visible from the ship if you are cruising these latitudes. Stargazing in the antipodes is a marvelous, sociable activity for a clear evening at sea.
The emu is further enshrined in ancient petroglyphs just north of Sydney, Australia. The arrival of the emu in the sky over the emu on the petroglyph was an indicator to the aboriginals of the change of seasons.
During a layover in Sydney, my wife and fellow lecturer Donna ‘The Star Lady’ Giesler took the opportunity to seek out the site and commune with early aboriginal myth and legend. The petroglyphs themselves are not well marked because the authorities don’t want a lot of traffic over them. So, you are left to hunt through unmarked wilderness. It could be anywhere out here:
This necessitated a native guide, and who better than Oceania shipboard guest cabaret artist Annie Francis who was born and raised just a few miles south of the petroglyphs?
Here’s the glamorous Annie, most recently a featured entertainer on the Insignia World Cruise, dressed to kill!
In an age of overhyped mediocrity, Annie is one amazing performer. The real thing!
Meanwhile, here is Annie sporting full ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ apparel (red hat), intrepidly tromping over the barren rock with The Star Lady, seeking out the ancient petroglyphs.
After many false starts and blind trails not to mention encounters with spiders of heroic proportions
We finally stumbled upon the emu, complete with the egg signifying rebirth and the coming of southern hemisphere spring:
It was amazing to find you could walk right up to this history, just as the aboriginals did ten thousand years ago during their rites of spring. This trek was reminiscent of the days when you could actually walk right up and touch the columns at Stonehenge. Not any more. And probably in the near future, not here either. Thanks to Annie, an adventure we will never forget.