Hidden near Milbrodale, NSW is Baiame Cave. It’s surrounded by fields and mountains rich with life. This Cave is a part of many rock shelters that spread across 80 hectares, all riddled with traditional Aboriginal rock art. This area is significant to over several Indigenous groups. One of the most notable paintings is of the area, is of dreamtime creator, Baiame.
In Dreamtime stories in the area, Baiame is the Creator and Sky Father for several language groups. Stories say that he came from the sky and created the landscape (rivers, mountains, forests, etc.) and then provided the people of the land with laws, traditions and other vital parts of their culture. Along with these things he also created the first bora site, a place for boys to transition into manhood. Once he did all these things he jumped back to the spirit world in the sky from Mount Yengo. This caused the top to flatten and is why the flat top can be seen today.
Baiame is illustrated as a human figure, often waring a large head dress or hairstyle and decorations such as waistbands and paintings of dots, bands and lines running vertically up his body.
The dots were said to have given him power over smallpox. He is also drawn with lines of footsteps nearby. The main illustration on Baiame in Baiame Cave shows him with large outstretched arms, this represents him protecting the land.
It was forbidden to talk of Baiame openly and women were not permitted to view paintings of Baiame or approach relevant sites as they were often Bora sites used for male initiation.
This story is relevant to many groups in the region. These groups lost incredible amounts of knowledge of their culture, beliefs, stories and customs because of actions of European settlers. To the Indigenous people of this area the art is quite significant as it a remanet of their lost culture.
Sites in the area of Baiame Cave have faced possibility of losing sacred sites due to the recent mining boom. Many times before the...