Company: Narlijia Experiences
Location: Broome, Western Australia
When Bart Pigram gazes across the flat, turquoise blue expanse of Roebuck Bay in Broome on the Kimberley coast of Western Australia, he doesn’t just see water. He sees dinosaur footprints hidden by the tides, mangroves harbouring crabs and molluscs, and pearling luggers that used to dot the horizon.
Bart, who started Narlijia Experiences in Broome in 2015, likes to take people to a spot high on the hill, where a new lookout stands. Circles have been cut through the shelter’s steel to create symbolic dot paintings on the ground. Just to the right is a spot most people miss: a clearing littered with shells that have bleached white over the thousands of years they’ve lain in the sun. This is where his people, the Yawuru, would come together to eat and watch over the bay.
Bart embodies the rich multiculturalism that runs through Broome. He has Aboriginal, Asian and European heritage, and he uses it to express the way locals embrace cultural diversity. His family history also links back to the pearling boom at the turn of the 20th century, enabling him to share both fascinating and sinister stories of the past on his walks between bays, along the mangroves and through the town.
He weaves Dreaming stories through his well-researched talks, and crushes fragrant leaves or cracks open a boab nut for a sensory experience. “I’m close to this area,” he says. “My people’s language, our understandings, our creation stories all come from here. I believe the environment here is among the best in the world and my culture belongs here.”
Credit: Tourism Australia Discover Aboriginal Experiences