Friday 23rd June 2006
100 kms north of Darwin the TIWI ISLANDS are Bathurst and Melville Islands. The Aboriginal population call themselves the Tiwi people. You can’t arrive on the islands unannounced and tour around – there are no facilities to do so. You must go with an organised tour or fishing group.
The Tiwi people are world famous for their art - traditional forms of paintings on bark and canvas, wood carvings, silk screened cloth, weaving and pottery. Paintings can be found hanging in major art galleries world wide. There are several art galleries on both islands. You can purchase directly from the artists. The Tiwis are also famous for their love of sports in particular Australian Rules Football with several men holding important positions in the AFL.
Nicknamed the Islands of Smiles, Tiwi people are coastal Aboriginals with a culture different to those on the mainland. Their strong traditions are still a very important part of everyday life today and they've successfully combined both traditional and modern lifestyles and have combined Christianity with their old culture/religion.
The Arafura Pearl
Arafura Pearl departed at 8.00am for a 2 hour trip to the Tiwi Islands. We had coffee at 8.15 and morning tea at 9am - chocolate muffin, cheese and biscuits, and a nice hot cuppa coffee. I had paid $20 extra to be on the upper deck which gave wonderful views of the ocean and it is so relaxing feeling the wind in your hair as you cruise on the water.
The Tiwi flag
The stripes represent ochre that is used in their ceremonies and art.
The spear is a fighting spear and represents protection of the clan lands and the pukemani poles are male and female and the designs represent all the Tiwi clans.
The whole flag is pukemani.