They came in their thousands like pilgrims to the promised land; riding in buses and 4 wheel drives to converge on the land of the Kuku Yalanji people, who two hundred years ago from the same beaches also witnessed the the black star of the moon block out the sun and turn day into night for a few minutes in time. For the people who had been here from the beginning it is a continuation of the living culture and the stories of the dreamtime.
But on this day in 2012 the beaches were chocked from Machans Beach to beyond Hope Vale. As the sun broke for another day on Kuku Yalanji country, the best spots were taken up by flash cameras standing on tripods like stick insects facing the morning light When it was all over they returned to Cairns like a line of green ants scurrying from their nest; like someone who had scrambled a nest and sent the inhabitants off in a mad rush for the door.
The big networks were there ooing and aahring the crowd clapped and whooped like a footy crowd and like a footy crowd left their rubbish on the beach as they trotted off.
The Kuku Yalanji spirits would have been glad to see them go and only have to wait another 200 years; a small dot in the matrix of Aboriginal history. 200 years should do it again.