Sometime in the late seventies or early eighties, I saw a television program about the discovery of some human remains, revealed by a relentless desert wind blowing over ancient sand dunes fringing a lake which had last seen water some 15,000 years ago. These remains, dubbed ‘Mungo Man’ (although it proved to be woman’s bones), had been cremated some 30,000 years ago, and are claimed to be the most ancient ceremonial burial ever discovered. The later discovery of a man’s remains, coated in red ochre, confirmed the importance of the region, which, with the whole string of lakes stretching to the north, has now been designated a World Heritage Site. My first visit was in 1991, and my second was just last week, in mid-April 2009.
One would not expect much of a dramatic change in a mere eighteen years, given the great span of times and changes of climate encompassed in the Lake Mungo region, but I was pleased to observe that there were no rabbits to be seen on my recent visit, as opposed to the seemingly millions of them sighted in ’91; similarly, the plague of goats blighting the countryside at that time, were also nowhere to be seen. It was a welcome change from the distressing sight of goats being trapped where they sought water from the dams at that time; struggling to free themselves from the mud surrounding the dams, they epitomised the unrelenting harshness of outback Australia.The Lake Mungo of today is well managed. A one-way road of seventy kilometres encircles the lake, and includes stop points of interest, such as an elevated platform which overlooks the lake bed from some dunes, some mallee scrub, in which one can camp, and a wonderful expanse of white sand dunes among which one can roam in dreamy delight. Here’s some more pics.