Child of the Rainforest


Heide Smiths Tiwi Collection

Children of the Rainforest

Clear warm seas rich in fish and other marine creatures are flanked by large stands of mangroves, rocky headlands and beautiful clean white sandy beaches. Some of those “creatures” include crocodiles (salties), box jellyfish and sharks, so swimming in the sea can be deadly. Fortunately, there are a number of fresh water swimming holes on both islands, which are very popular with young Tiwi. 

At times I felt like the pied piper of Hameln with children following me everywhere. 'Are you Aida?' they would call, not being familiar with my German first name. 'Can we come with you?' Look what I can do', doing a cartwheel on the sand.

Being dark-skinned, they would often blend in beautifully into the forest. One of my earliest photographs  on the islands I later titled 'Child of the Rainforest',  was taken in 1987.

The deep pool at the foot of Tarracumbe Falls on the west side of Melville Island, is a particular favourite for adults and children from both islands.

All of these images are in my 2nd Tiwi book "Heide Smith Portrait of a People", which is still available from; my online bookshop

Boys at the creek 1987


Tarracumbie Falls Boys 1988


Tarracumbie Boy 1988

To see or not to see. That is the question.

Content Censorship is now a way of life for bloggers posting on Social Media. Unfortunately, the technology cannot differentiate between photographs of an ancient people practicing their culture and pornography. Fortunately, my website containing The Tiwi Collection does not appear to offend anyone. So if you would like to see ALL of my Tiwi photographs, have a look at my website

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