Robyn Davidson - Wikipedia
In her memoirs, Tracks, Robyn Davidson, recounts her remarkable journey as she .. For Robyn, her relationship with the camels is a necessary part of her expedition. . that she accepts the $ and enables Rick Smolan to photograph her journey. Robyn knows that she is betraying their trust whenever this occurs. In a suite on the 17th floor of the InterContinental Hotel, Robyn Davidson and Mia You would only want to play the part if you felt some connection to the character. wrote it up as an article to accompany Rick Smolan's stunning photographs, and left the . “You have to let it go and trust people to do what they do best.”. Robyn Davidson wrote a book about her epic journey on foot from Alice Here we show the original photographs behind the story as shot by Rick Smolan, who was side-by-side with Robyn for some of . Robyn with her trusted dog Diggity. . Katie Price opens up about her relationship with Peter Andre.
Survival becomes a great teacher. In fact, she uses her fears as a means of reaching her goals.
Robyn Davidson and photographer Rick Smolan
Landscape As Robyn tunes into the natural landscape, it also becomes a reflection of her moods and thoughts and desires. The desert becomes a reflection of her soul-searching adventure. When she finally starts her expedition, she feels elated. Light, power, space and sun. Two weeks before reaching Uluru, Robyn pitches camp. The lonely expanse of the desert often mirrors her own sense of exhaustion and agony; likewise the sheer beauty of the desert brings a sense of completeness and fulfilment.
She feels satisfied and replete. Her enormous trip can be overwhelming and overbearing. So much to do, difficult routine that she must follow: Whilst the desert can be beautiful it can also be soul-destroying and mundane. The hot, homogeneous spinifex wastes … The clumps are all spikes and the tiny filaments on the ends of the spikes stick in flesh and itch and burn. Each day is very demanding, both physically and mentally. The landscape can give way to self-doubts and problems. What does Robyn learn about herself?
When Bub bucked uncontrollably, Robyn becomes quite brutal in her attempt to tame him. She loses control and sees this as a terrible weakness. Perhaps the fact that Robyn recognises this inter-dependency and makes compromises plays a large factor in the success of her trip. In this regard, Robyn searches for a different way of thinking about her place in the world. She learns to relate on a deep and intuitive level with the animals upon whom she depends for her survival.
Tracking is also a symbol of closeness with the natural world. Her tracking capabilities reveal her increasingly closeness. During her worst moments, she often has to track the camels, often for long periods, often for 20 kilometres. She does this so that they can gain weight. Robyn also seeks to learn from her indigenous guides and partners. She knows that they have a very intuitive, natural and spiritual relationship with place and with nature and she hopes to learn from their wisdom and skills.
She does not want to be a tourist looking in on their world from the outside. She wants to be a natural part of their world. For Robyn the indigenous peoples becomes role models and mentors. It is this accumulative knowledge and keen sense of intuition that enables Robyn to survive the hardest part of her journey — which is the track along the Gunbarrel Highway.
She realizes then that she can and will survive. She recognises that the indigenous women have a particular type of strength and unique place within their culture. She years to belong in this cultural context. They were letting me into their world. Nankaris, Indigenous medicine, knowledge and time Eddie relies on a nankari an aboriginal doctor to relieve his painful shoulder. Whilst this appears to be a superstitious practice, Robyn concedes that it is important to try to suspend her own cultural beliefs.
However, with Eddie, she needs to ease into his time, which is to go with the flow. Robyn is prepared to compromise where necessary. Their relationship is often fraught with tension. She struggles to cope with the need for some publicity through her sponsorship with the magazine Geographic. She believes that the media is a self-betrayal. Robyn resents having to work with the media because it undermines her privacy.
She also resents the exploitative and commercial nature of media organisations. She realises that such involvement will undermine her desire to be alone and to be as natural as possible. She knows that when it suits them, and when they can sell a story, only then are they interested.
Robyn is aware of the danger. However, she also finds it difficult to restrain Rick who is concerned about providing some publicity for the huge adventure. The media sensationalises the trip: A magazine contended that Robyn Davidson the camel lady, had wilfully destroyed the Australia native camel.
Robyn also recognises the positive consequences of conveying her story to others, particular to a female audience. She hopes that the story will empower other women to take similar risks. My worry over water was real, for we were down to 10 gallons — less than one fifth of capacity. Somewhere ahead, according to my map, lay an artesian well with an abandoned windmill and storage tank.
Supposing I missed the well, or the water tank was dry? I raved at the hills. Then we crested the last one, and the land flattened out. A patch of green shone in the distance. Panic melted and I began to laugh, patting Diggity. No need to find the well and tank that night; they were there by the patch of green. Then I had a freezing, early-morning bath. It was good to be alive. Davidson and Diggity enjoying a rare swim. He is a Pitjantjatjara man, and he arrived at my camp that evening with several carloads of Aborigines from the settlements of Wingelinna and Pipalyatjara.
I served them all billies of tea, and we chatted. I kept a polite silence and simply started off — to be joined by Mr Eddie. I turned then, and we looked at each other. There was such humour, depth, life and knowledge in those eyes that somehow we started laughing.
Photographer Rick Smolan on 'Tracks' | Newcastle Herald
And so we came to Pipalyatjara — it is one of those rarities in the outback, an Aborigine settlement where the whites do a really splendid job of helping the Aborigines cope with prejudice, neglect and government bureaucracy. As I began packing for Warburton, miles due west in the Gibson desert, Mr Eddie announced that he was coming too.
He wanted to gather pauri, a native narcotic tobacco plant that Aborigines chew, and we turned into a valley beside the trail.
But Mr Eddie seemed to flow with time rather than measure it, and eventually I relaxed and began to enjoy my surroundings. It was not the least of the lessons he was to teach me.
By afternoon we had trekked 15 miles and were tired, hot, dusty and fly-ridden. A column of red dust gradually rose on the horizon. Cars on the trail, though rare, frequently meant tourists, and I was in no mood to be gawked at today. These were worse than usual. The car drew up beside us, and several men in silly hats spilt out, festooned with cameras. Brandishing his walking stick he drove the tourists back towards their car, alternately raving in Pitjantjatjara and demanding payment for the photographs in broken English.
The startled men beat a hasty retreat, emptying their pockets of bills as they went. Mr Eddie tucked the money away then he walked serenely over to me, and we cracked up. With tears streaming down my face I thought of the Aborigines, how they had been poisoned, slaughtered, herded into settlements, prodded, photographed, and left to rot with their shattered pride and their cheap liquor.
And here was this superb old gentleman, who had lived through it all, who could turn himself into an outrageous parody of the Aborigine, then do an about-face and laugh with the abandon of a child. Reflecting on my own lesser problems and hardships, I thought: I called on a friend by Australian Flying Doctor Service radio to take him home. I still think of our three weeks together on the trail as the heart of my entire journey.
I had already arranged at Pipalyatjara to have a gun similar to mine waiting for Mr Eddie at Warburton. He had fallen in love with my rifle, and it seemed the perfect gift. The most dangerous part of the journey now lay ahead of me, the Gunbarrel Highway.
The camels could not carry enough water to make it all the way, so my friend Glendle Schrader from Pipalyatjara would drive a truck with additional water from Warburton to the western part of the Gunbarrel. From Pipalyatjara the round trip comes to hazardous miles, whether on foot or by motor. Such is the quality of friends.
On July 15 I set out with Diggity and the camels. The country was harsh, though lovely in its way. Sand hills stretched over some of the route, interspersed here and there with great stands of impenetrable mulga bush. Golden tufts of spinifex grass turned portions of the trail into a giant pincushion that continually jabbed at our feet.
The camels strained under loads consisting largely of water, and noselines frequently snapped. Progress was achingly slow. Yet there were some moments along the Gunbarrel that I will never forget.
Tracks: The true story behind the film - Telegraph
One morning before sunrise — grey silk sky, Venus aloft — I saw a single crow, carving up wind currents above the hills. One evening I opened a tin of cherries, the ultimate luxury, ate half, and put the other half beside the swag for breakfast. Woke up the next morning. Mia Wasikowska on set filming Tracks. Rain, I thought as the first light slithered under my eyelids and into the folds of the blankets.
But the clouds vanished, and then I realised something was missing: Where were Zeleika and Bub? How far had they gone? Then I recalled what a very wise friend in Alice once said to me: You are a hundred miles from anything; you have lost two camels; one of the other camels has a hole in his foot so big you could sleep in it; you have only enough water to last for six days; your hip is sore from walking; this is a god-awful place to spend the rest of your life.
So having tidied all that up, I panicked.
The water situation was saved shortly afterwards by the arrival of Glendle and his truck. When he caught up with us, he was so exhausted from the trip he could barely speak. We unloaded two of three gallon water drums from the truck, then filled my own drums from them with gallons to spare.
Wearily we drove some 50 miles to the west, dropped off the drum, and returned to camp. Minutes later Glendle was dead asleep in his blanket. Next morning he headed back towards Pipalyatjara.
When he had become only a dust cloud on the horizon behind us, the silence and solitude closed in again. I was not in the best shape. My left hip, sore from endless slogging over sand hills, was barely usable. Had it all been worth it? I still thought so. The station was little used because of severe drought, and I could not resupply with food as I had planned. There was nothing to do but trek north-west 75 miles to the station at Glenayle and hope for the best.
By luck I met two men travelling by car to Carnegie, and they gave me some tucker. Davidson's dinner at times included witchetty grubs.
Rick Smolan All I could think of was Glenayle and escape from the drought. We straggled in at last, a miserable sight. As I entered the Glenayle homestead, the first thing I saw was a lovely, middle-aged lady watering her flower garden. What warm, generous and utterly charming people, and how little I can ever repay their kindness.
But as we toured the property, I saw what devastation the drought had worked. The horses were skin and bones and the cattle were even worse. Yet never once did I hear a complaint or a harsh word from the Wards. Their entire future was at stake, with no relief in sight. Still, they hung on with courage and hope. While the horses and cows suffered, my camels — who could browse on trees as well as on ground cover — fared better, and after a week were slightly improved.
One morning as I stood talking with Henry and patting Bub, big, jealous Dookie came up behind me. By way of attracting my attention, he opened his great jaws, took my entire head between them, and squeezed gently. Then he opened his mouth and galloped off, immensely pleased with himself. Soon afterwards we began packing up to leave Glenayle. The Canning is an Australian legend. Fortunately, I had to cover only miles, from a point near Glenayle to Cunyu.
The Gibson desert would be far behind us, and the remaining miles to the Indian Ocean would be much easier. This was dingo country, and I was terrified that Diggity would pick up one of the poisoned baits set out to exterminate the wild dogs.
I put a muzzle on her, but she whined and scratched at it and was so disconsolate that I finally took it off. The area was rougher than anything we had crossed before, and at Well Number 6 I called a halt. The setting was lovely, an infinitely extended bowl of pastel blue haze carpeting the desert, and in the far distance five violet, magical mountains soared above the desert. I longed to journey to those mountains. I had found the heart of the world. Well Number 6 hardly deserved the name.
The surface of the water lay nine feet below ground level and could only be reached with a bucket, a rope and enough effort to cause a hernia. The water tasted foul, but none of us cared, and I camouflaged mine with huge doses of coffee. The night was incredibly lovely. I made camp and built a mattress of fallen leaves. The camels had more forage than they could possibly eat.
In the evening they rolled and played in the white dust, raising puffs of cloud that the fat red sun turned to bronze. For three days it was perfection, and I wanted never to leave. On the third night Diggity took a dingo bait. I had to shoot her. Before dawn I left that place I had thought so beautiful. DAY My only thought now was to push on to the end of my route. The country passed unnoticed beneath my feet, and I recall little of that time.
I think I reached Cunyu on August To avoid pestering questions, I left the camels at Cunyu and sneaked away to Wiluna, 40 miles to the south. The people of Wiluna asked no questions: Within a week I was setting out for the Indian Ocean coast. Behind me lay nearly 1, miles — five months of travel. Ahead lay only more miles. We made them slowly, for beyond Cunyu Zeleika fell seriously ill.
She had nursed Goliath, her calf, throughout the entire six months, and now she suddenly began bleeding internally. David and Margot Steadman, homesteaders at Dalgety, took us in and proceeded to spoil all five of us.
The camels were fed barley, oats, and lollies, an undreamt-of diet. They were praised, patted, stroked and talked to. With such care even Zeleika began to improve. For a time I considered leaving Zeleika behind with Dave and Margot and pushing on to the sea with the other three camels. But she continued to improve, and I decided that a dip in the Indian Ocean might do the old girl a power of good.
On that final stretch of miles we rode in style for about 30 of them. I accepted, but the camels had reservations. After the long journey, however, their trust in me was complete, and they finally climbed aboard.