Calling Arnhem Land
Central Arnhem Land, Australia
August 1969: It's late in Wurrgeng, the name given to the cool, clear weather time across the top end of Australia. As the dark clouds of the cold war gathered a world away over their homeland, an unlikely team of six Czechoslovakian scientists and a German-born, Czech-speaking, suspected ASIO minder went in search of the "lost tribe of Rembarrnga" inching their way along the ancient dreamscape of the Arnhem Land plateau.
It was here, deep into the dark heart of Arnhem Land, that they would find Mandarg, born to the sun totem and patriarch of the Barrappa clan of the Rembarrnga people. Mandarg was the father to eighteen children, all totally immersed in the old ways of a 50,000 year strong culture. Amongst their number was the young Tom Noytuna, then in his late teens. In the years after this unlikely meeting of two worlds, further chance encounters with outsiders would greatly impact the lives of those who came to this place.
Few who venture here, deep into stone country, leave untouched by the experience. It was then and is still today a place of deep mystery, intrigue and adventure that has drawn the most determined of interlopers to document the last vestiges of a stone age culture.