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Cave adventure

It was on Tuesday 20 June 2023 that the Probus Club of Eaton travelled south to Yallingup.

It was a cold foggy morning – well, cold at least, the fog was their hot breath on the windows. The fields were green and soggy, the bush was green and soggy, but although it rained from time to time during the day, the Club managed to dodge it, so they were not soggy (nor green).

The destination was Ngilgi Cave and the host/guide was Koomal (Josh “Koomal” Whiteland) of Koomal Dreaming Cape Cultural Experiences. Koomal is a member of the Wadandi Noongar Bibbleman people and has lived in this area all his life. Ngilgi Cave was first found by Europeans in 1899 but the Aboriginal people had been living here for tens of thousands of years – not in the cave but at the bottom of the hill near the spring. Ngilgi is the good spirit of the ocean who battled the evil spirit who lived in the cave and banished him into the sea.

The cave is a wonderful place. The steep stairwell into it creaked and groaned (or was that everyone's knees?) as they descended into the warm depths – it is 19⁰C-20⁰C all year round. Stalactites and stalagmites decorated the walls and ceiling, looming out of the dark depths. The amphitheatre is enormous and has spine-tingling acoustics, as discovered when Koomal played a song on his didgeridoo. Then there was the opportunity to explore down the steps, more steps or even more steps to the bottom of the cave (or not!).

Once back to the surface at the brand-new meeting place it was time for a journey back in time. Koomal showed members various traditional tools and weapons and explained the make-up and use of each one. The local environment provided all the resources needed for a traditional and rich lifestyle. Even today, Koomal will use the spear from a grasstree (Balga) as a fire stick. He showed us how this was done and in no time, there was a whisp of smoke rising up. Especially poignant was his grandfather’s boomerang, made over 100 years ago using a stone to smooth it rather than a rasp. For an interactive experience, Koomal played songs on the didgeridoo and drum while a number of members provided rhythm (???) with the tapping sticks. It was great fun.

This was a wonderful experience and once again, thanks must go to Outings Officer, Les, for this excellent day out.