The magic of the Top End is revealed along a scenic circuit appropriately named Nature’s Way.

Story by Kirsty McKenzie and Photos by Ken Brass

It speaks volumes about the life of Kakadu elder Bill Neidjie that his family chose to reject Aboriginal tradition and allow the publication of his name after his death. Proud of his many achievements, his family complied with his desire to flaunt custom to ensure his name and hopes and dreams for his people aren’t lost.
‘Big Bill’ or ‘Kakadu Man’, as he was commonly known, was reputed to have been able to carry full 44-gallon (200-litre) drums on his shoulders. But he also had a ‘big’ vision, and he devoted much of his life to the preservation of his homeland and its management by Aboriginal people. He worked tirelessly for Aboriginal land rights, constantly trying to bridge the cultural and historical divide between Aboriginal and white Australia. Although he passed away in 2002, a year earlier he had attended his own wake so he could hear the good things that were said about him. Some 500 people turned up to his living memorial on the Nardab plains and heard glowing tributes from both black and white Australians about his dedication to establishing Kakadu National Park and its World Heritage listing, and his campaign for land rights and reconciliation.

This story excerpt is from Issue #50

Outback Magazine: Dec/Jan 2007