Royals receive a glittering gift of poo

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge holds Prince George of Cambridge as Prince William, Duke of Cambridge looks on whilst meeting a Bilby called George at Taronga Zoo. Photo / Getty Images
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge holds Prince George of Cambridge as Prince William, Duke of Cambridge looks on whilst meeting a Bilby called George at Taronga Zoo. Photo / Getty Images

It's not often that a gift of poo is thought to be fit for a royal, yet while at Uluru the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will receive just that.

Barbara Tjikatu, a traditional owner and senior elder, and four generations of women in her family, including her two-year-old great-granddaughter Lolita, painted a series of dot paintings especially for the royal couple.

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They tell a story about the Kuniya python woman and the Liru poisonous snake man collecting water and bush tucker - and they are all painted on paper made from the poo of the near-extinct rufous-hare-wallaby, or mala.

It's a 30-centimetre animal that looks like a cross between a kangaroo and a rabbit. Its largest captive population of 200 is bred at Uluru and kept safe from predators.

"You have to think creatively out here, because we're in the bush," said Sharon Davies, an employee at the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park speaking on behalf of the painters and maker of their unorthodox paper canvases.

"I put glitter in it to make it more royal."

Collected by rangers, the poo is boiled, washed and sterilised before it is made into paper.

Bessie Nipper, Barbara's daughter, said she hoped some of the paintings would be hung in baby George's nursery.

On Tuesday Kate will also be given a gift of a necklace and earrings set made by the granddaughter of master local craftsman Billy Cooley, along with a more contemporary piece made by Anangu artist Kathy Buzzacott.

William will be presented with a handmade wooden shield, traditionally used in battle to ward off the spears of enemies and carved by Mr Cooley.

Prince Charles and Princess Diana didn't receive the same gifts of art in 1983, as the women have only recently started working with mala poo after trying out camel dung. But Barbara's son, Vincent Nipper, said he was pleased the duke and duchess were making a visit to Uluru in their footsteps.

"It's very important for those two special people to come to a place that is very strong in spirit and that they come here and feel that for themselves," he said.

"The spirit is alive here and they will be able to take some of that home with them."

- AAP

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