The Murumburr clan welcome visitors to their home inside Kakadu National Park for an authentic experience of Aboriginal culture.

Story by Kirsty McKenzie and Photos by Ken Brass

Mandy Muir has just announced that six salt-water crocodiles inhabit the stretch of Jim Jim Creek that is in her family’s backyard, but she’s still nonchalantly wading knee-deep through the shallows collecting waterlilies. “We can’t guarantee people’s safety swimming on [our] country,” she says. “But our life is based on the river system and we know the crocs and we know when a cheeky one comes on to our land. I’ve been swimming in these waters for more than 30 years and nothing has happened. We always swim in a group and we hit the water to make a popping sound to let them know we’re there. Perhaps we’re just good at dodging them.”
Needless to say, Mandy’s invitation to join her in the water to get a better view of the expanse of lilies is swiftly declined. “They’re called ‘nandem’ in our language,” Mandy says about the lilies. “They smell beautiful. I reckon one day I’m going to make perfume out of them. Watch out J.Lo, here comes nandem.”

This story excerpt is from Issue #51

Outback Magazine: Feb/Mar 2007