Chapter Twenty One.
Lost Mines of Forgotten Pharaohs.
Were it not for some ancient unknown scribe who engraved the Atherton pyramid inscriptions [for both inscriptions certainly show the same individual style] we would not have heard the name of Pharaoh Ta-na, the dark-haired, or any other ruler of this massive Egyptian mineral-rich kingdom of ancient Far North Queensland; and it is thanks to countless ancient scribes that we are able to learn so much about Australia’s ‘unwritten history’, through all the rock inscriptions, burial markers and votive offering inscribed stones which continue to surface throughout this continent.
In the days of the Pharaohs, as it would be for many centuries to come, not everyone could read and write. Nobody knew better than the priests of ancient Egypt that KNOWLEDGE was power, and in the wrong hands very dangerous. Therefore only those who wished to learn were taught in the temples. Thoth, God of Writing and Wisdom was their patron deity. For the training of scribes there were special schools, and it is apparent that schools of learning, particularly those for scribes, were established in the Australian colonies.
Quite often a worshipper wishing to leave an offering to the appropriate deity at a temple or shrine, although unable to read or write, would pay a priest-scribe to engrave a votive offering message to be left with the offering as a record of his or her, visit.
Countless numbers of votive offering inscribed stones and similar messages have already been uncovered at ancient temple sites by Heather and I throughout our years of field research which, thanks to some ancient scribe or educated worshiper, provides us with information on the daily lives and longings of individuals whose names, unspoken for perhaps 4,000 years, once more live as we translate them aloud.
Our coastal investigations, made in the shadow of the towering steep escarpment of the Atherton Range, continue to uncover rock inscriptions of all kinds, the information gathered from which, has revealed the coastal ports as daily hives of activity.
There have been references to ship-building found at Tully, Cairns and Cooktown, arrivals of ships, their captains and crews names being recorded, and references to the “Kingdom of Ra” found at Cairns appear to give us the name of this mighty colony of Far North Queensland. Surely thousands of people were involved in what has to have been the greatest colonisation feat of the ancient world, an undertaking which created an Egypto-Phoenician Pacific empire far larger than that of the land of the Nile!
The mountains behind Tully, down the coast from Cairns, contain a mass of ancient open-cut operations, which from the slag heaps projecting from the jungle leafmould-covered floor, suggest vast quantities of gold and copper were mined and smelted here, before being transported along long-vanished roads, either to the Tully River for shipping to the coast, or else overland to dockside sorting facilities.
Gemstones too were eagerly sought after in the manufacture of jewellery and these are to be found in great abundance throughout much of Queensland.
Ancient stoneworks are often found by chance when campers are exploring the mountain country. Often these ruins occur near ancient mining operations, perhaps the remains of miner’s dwellings. Signs of extensive ancient settlement occur over a widely-scattered area, as always in the vicinity of a regular fresh water supply.
The modern township of Tully itself and its sugar cane farms surely stand upon the buried remains of much of the ancient coastal port to which the riches dug from the mountains were once transported.
During our August 2003 Far North Queensland field search, we were approached by a mother and son regarding mystery stoneworks on their remote, jungle and mountain-enclosed farm, “somewhere in the ‘Tully district’.
What Heather and I were to find there is far, far too important for the identities of the people concerned to be made known, for it is a remarkably well-preserved historical treasure of our ‘unwritten’ history, and one which, were the true location to be made known, would without a doubt soon be reduced to a pile of rubble by treasure-hunting vandals and others!
“Perhaps more remains of ancient dwellings” we thought as we drove along a rough, jungle-encroaching road deep into the mountain country. We almost missed the farm at first, being tucked away in the jungle as it was, but we eventually reached the farmhouse and met – let us call them – ‘Mary’ and ‘Joe’.
It was here while having lunch that we learnt from our new friends that the Taipan season had already begun., I had no intention of meeting up with one of these deadliest of all Australian snakes although the thought of seeing what looked like a unique ancient stonework, encouraged me not to let my fear of these reptiles stop me.
The location of the stoneworks, they informed us would take us via a track through tall grass into the dense jungle. Joe related an encounter he had just had in the backyard with a large Taipan only a couple of days before, and as the day was hot, as a precaution I decided it was safer for Heather, my driver and registered nurse, to remain back at base this time around.
So, with backpack loaded with the usual equipment and cameras at the ready over my right shoulder, I set off with Mary and Joe to the mystery ruins. Entering the grassy track the order of advance became Joe up front with Mary and then myself in the rear. Joe carried a long garden hoe, that he informed me was for use on any Taipan blocking our way, which was sort of ‘reassuring’ as I nervously kept an eye on each side of the track as well as on the ground on all sides of me! The track led down a hillside to the jungle covered ruins.
Despite the dense jungle covering, which ensures that this treasure of our ancient ‘unknown’ past cannot be seen from the air, I immediately realised that what our friends had to show me were not stone walls, but something far more important, for within minutes a quick inspection showed it to be a four-sided terraced structure rising to a flat summit. Here was undoubtedly a stepped pyramid! By now I had almost forgotten my fear of Taipans in my excitement.
Here I was standing upon a stepped pyramid, which thanks to the protective jungle, was in a remarkable state of preservation. Indeed, it was the same form as the now totally destroyed Gympie Pyramid identified by me back in 1975.