The Kakadu National Park is home to several billabongs. A Billabong is lake or pond left behind by a river that has changed it’s course. Rivers, which are usually compiled of networks of branches, often change their course, leaving behind branches with dead ends. Billabongs are dry for the greater part of the year, but fill with water seasonally. The word billabong is the culmination of two Aboriginal words “billa” and “bong” meaning “creek” and “dead.”But the billabongs of Kakadu are anything but dead. When active, they act as a vital oasis for animals and birds such as Magpie geese during the scorching dry season.
Kakadu’s landscapes undergo significant changes throughout the course of a year. The people of Kakadu recognize six seasons due to their extensive knowledge of the changing environment around them. Even the most subtle variations of the landscape such as the arrival of a particular flock, new growth and the recession of floodplains are clues that signpost the changing seasons for the Bininj/Mungguy people of Kakadu.
The Aboriginal (Bininj/Mungguy) people share an extraordinary kinship to the land. In fact, they believed the lands of Kakadu were sculpted by the Aboriginal people’s spiritual ancestors, or ‘first people’, during a period known as “the creation time.” The spiritual ancestors extended their ecological knowledge and laws to live by including language, kinship, and ceremony, which the Bininj/Mungguy people still recognize today. Because of this, the land and people have always been linked and Kakadu serves as a landmark for the oldest living culture on earth.
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