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Jeffrey James

Camels and Poison

Story:Papunya Tula artist Charlie Wallabi (Walapayi) Tjungurrayi recalled that while camping at Kukapanyu as a young man he came across the tracks of a drover’s camel. Sharpening his spear, he fitted it with barbs and followed the tracks. He found the camel near Wajaparni (Well 38) and speared it. Then he cut the meat into pieces with a stone knife and prepared it for cooking.

Walapayi cooked the meat and took some steaks to the camp of relatives nearby. Then he brought them back to where the camel had been cooked.

'So everybody had a share of meat. I grabbed myself a shoulder blade and the rest was for the others.'

After they’d feasted, his relatives kept travelling east. Walapayi and his nephew headed west towards the Canning Stock Route, in search of more camels.

Instead of camels, Walapayi and his nephew found the tracks of white men, horses and bullocks. They also found a can of tinned meat. After eating it, Walapayi’s nephew became deathly ill. The two men were convinced the meat had been deliberately poisoned.

'He felt so funny and he was shaking like he was cold and even his voice sounded funny. He couldn’t speak properly, he was lying down mumbling. He was feeling helpless. He couldn’t move so I start fixing him up with maparn [healing power]. I did all that work on him and then I made a big fire and left him, ’cos he was feeling cold.' (Charlie Wallabi (Walapayi) Tjungurrayi, 2007)

The next day Walapayi went hunting. As the meat was cooking.

'I heard a noise, from nowhere, going: "BOOOYI! BOOOYI! Here I am!" And I said to myself, "It’s a ghost coming! I left that man back there dead, poisoned. He’s come back alive as a ghost! He’s going to spear me!" I said to him, "There’s some meat in there, you can have the other half". So he went and got the leg, the ghost did.

And I asked him, "Are you alright?" And he answered me, "I’m OK. I’m really good and better". So he wasn’t a ghost. So we started to go together walking. So we walked all the way to Lurlur and I told all the men what happened. They thought I was alright, but I was really sick from eating that poison. It was law time and I couldn’t go next to the ladies because I was on my business. But the other bloke went and told the ladies: "We’ve eaten poison. I was dead. But my uncle Walapayi fixed me". Then all the men start singing to bring me out. Corroboree.' (Charlie Wallabi (Walapayi) Tjungurrayi, 2007)

According to Martumili artist Jeffrey James, boss drover Wally Dowling held his stockman, Ben Taylor, responsible for laying dingo baits on the stock route that led to the poisoning of Aboriginal people. Desert people believed that the baits had been deliberately laid in retaliation for their having hunted working camels.

'They were chucking poison baits on this Canning [Stock Route]. So this youngfella here, Walapayi, he pick up the meat, poison bait. Soon as [head drover] Wally Dowling hear that people nearly died, he kicked Ben Taylor out for a while: ‘Never do that. Never!’ He used to chuck poison to the people, you know. Well, Walapayi pick up the bait anyway, and he nearly died.' (Jeffrey James, 2007)



Media Creator:Clifford Brooks

Media date: 2007
Story Location: Wajaparni (Well 38)
-21.95089/125.53391

Media Description:Charlie Wallabi (Walapayi) Tjungurrayi heals a patient with his maparn at Well 36.

Story contributor(s):Charlie Wallabi (Walapayi) Tjungurrayi, Jeffrey James

Art Centre(s): CSR Project
Publisher: FORM
Media copyright: Clifford Brooks
Source: CSROH_12_Charlie Wallabi_Walapayi_Tjungurrayi
Accession ID:20131024_FORM_MIRA_B0046_0003

This material is sourced from Ngurra Kuju Walyja — the Canning Stock Route Project, which was initiated in 2006 by FORM and developed in partnership with Birriliburu, Kayili, KALACC, Mangkaja, Martumili, Ngurra, Papunya Tula, Paruku IPA, Warlayirti and Yulparija artists and art centres.This material is sourced from Ngurra Kuju Walyja — the Canning Stock Route Project, which was initiated in 2006 by FORM and developed in partnership with Birriliburu, Kayili, KALACC, Mangkaja, Martumili, Ngurra, Papunya Tula, Paruku IPA, Warlayirti and Yulparija artists and art centres.

Kumpupirntily

Story:Nyayurnangalku [cannibal beings] live below the surface of the lake in a world lit by its own sun. The Nyayurnangalku are said to resemble people, except for their large fangs and the long curved fingernails they use to catch and hold their victims. They block the wind as they move across the lake in search of human prey. Aboriginal people only travel past the lake when the wind is blowing. When boomerang-shaped clouds called wilany appear in the sky, it is a sign that the Ngayurnangalku are approaching. Aboriginal people are also careful not to light fires near Kumpupirntily, in case it signals their presence to the Ngayurnangalku. The cannibals’ own fires are scattered across the surface of the lake. An immensely powerful force lies at the centre of the lake. Aboriginal people believe it is capable of pulling planes and helicopters down from the sky, and they avoid flying directly over the area. During the Dreamtime an important gathering of Ngayurnangalku took place at Kumpupirntily. They came from Natawalu (Well 40) and Yunpu in the north, from Mundiwindi in the west, and from the country around Kiwirrkurra in the east. They came to decide whether or not they should continue to live as cannibals. Jeffrey James continues the story: 'Everybody agrees: alright we better stop eating the peoples. Then that night there was a baby [girl] born from that other group [eastern mob] … And they asked the newborn baby, and she said no: "We can still carry on and continue eating peoples." But [western] mob said "No, we’re not going to touch."' Following the baby, one group continued to be cannibals, dividing the Ngayurnangalku forever into ‘good’ and ‘bad’. The bad people remained at Kumpupirntily, but the good were kept safe by ‘bodyguards’. 'The bodyguards were saving all the people. Sandhill in the middle of the lake separates good people and bad people.' Painting Catalogue Number: JB/DS/73/MM, BA/194/MM, PR/198/MM, PR/212/MM

Media Creator:Painting by Yunkurra Billy Atkins, Photo by Ross Swanborough

Media date: 2008
Story Location: Kumpupirntily (Lake Disappointment)

Media Description:It’s dangerous, that Country. I’ve seen that [cannibal] man, he’s there and I know it. I don’t know how white people go over there. If they were to run into him he would eat them straight out. Kumpupirntily, that’s a no good place … leave it alone and have nothing to do with it at all. Just leave it how it is.' (Yunkurra Billy Atkins)

Story contributor(s):Jeffrey James, Yunkurra Billy Atkins, John Carty, Clifford Brooks

Art Centre(s): Martumili Artists
Publisher: FORM
Media copyright: Yunkurra Billy Atkins, Ross Swanborough
Source: CSROH_17B
Accession ID:20131024_FORM_MIRA_B0046_0006

This material is sourced from Ngurra Kuju Walyja — the Canning Stock Route Project, which was initiated in 2006 by FORM and developed in partnership with Birriliburu, Kayili, KALACC, Mangkaja, Martumili, Ngurra, Papunya Tula, Paruku IPA, Warlayirti and Yulparija artists and art centres.This material is sourced from Ngurra Kuju Walyja — the Canning Stock Route Project, which was initiated in 2006 by FORM and developed in partnership with Birriliburu, Kayili, KALACC, Mangkaja, Martumili, Ngurra, Papunya Tula, Paruku IPA, Warlayirti and Yulparija artists and art centres.

Men painting at Kilykily

Men painting at the Kilykily painting workshop. Canning Stock Route bush trip 1- 4 August 2007.

Date created: 8/2/2007 11:04:00
Photographer: Tim Acker
Location: Well 36, Kilykily
Latitude/Longitude: -22.13954/125.28315

People: Richard Yugumbari (Yukenbarri) Tjakamarra, Helicopter Joey Tjungurrayi, Jeffrey James
Art Centre(s): Papunya Tula Artists, Martumili Artists, Warlayirti Artists

Copyright: FORM
Format: Image
Category: Image
Source: 6 Canning Stock Route bush trip 1-4 August 2007
Accession ID: 20131213_FORM_MIRA_B0004_0076

Provenance: This material is sourced from Ngurra Kuju Walyja — the Canning Stock Route Project, which was initiated in 2006 by FORM and developed in partnership with Birriliburu, Kayili, KALACC, Mangkaja, Martumili, Ngurra, Papunya Tula, Paruku IPA, Warlayirti and Yulparija artists and art centres.

Men painting at Kilykily

Men painting at the Kilykily painting workshop. Canning Stock Route bush trip 1- 4 August 2007.

Date created: 8/2/2007 11:03:00
Photographer: Tim Acker
Location: Well 36, Kilykily
Latitude/Longitude: -22.13954/125.28315

People: Richard Yugumbari (Yukenbarri) Tjakamarra, Patrick Olodoodi (Alatuti) Tjungurrayi, Helicopter Joey Tjungurrayi, Jeffrey James, Putuparri Tom Lawford, Clifford Brooks
Art Centre(s): Papunya Tula Artists, Martumili Artists, Warlayirti Artists, Birriliburu Artists, Tjukurba Gallery

Copyright: FORM
Format: Image
Category: Image
Source: 6 Canning Stock Route bush trip 1-4 August 2007
Accession ID: 20131213_FORM_MIRA_B0004_0075

Provenance: This material is sourced from Ngurra Kuju Walyja — the Canning Stock Route Project, which was initiated in 2006 by FORM and developed in partnership with Birriliburu, Kayili, KALACC, Mangkaja, Martumili, Ngurra, Papunya Tula, Paruku IPA, Warlayirti and Yulparija artists and art centres.

Gathering for a meeting

Artists and participants gather for a meeting on the first day of the painting workshop at KilyKily. Canning Stock Route bush trip 1-4 August 2007.

Date created: 8/2/2007 7:20:00
Photographer: Tim Acker
Location: Well 36, Kilykily
Latitude/Longitude: -22.13954/125.28315

People: Jeffrey James, Carly Davenport, Frank Lane, Tim Acker, Putuparri Tom Lawford, Mantararr Rosie Williams, Nankatji Josephine Nangala, Jugarda Dulcie Gibbs , Sue Davenport, Peter Johnson, Patrick Olodoodi (Alututi) Tjungarrayi, Richard Yukenbarri (Yugumbari) Tjakamarra, Carly Davenport, Helicopter Joey Tjungurrayi, Janice Yuwali Nixon, Gabrielle Sullivan, Hayley Atkins, Mayapu Elsie Thomas, Mantyil May Brooks, Dadda Samson
Art Centre(s): Martumili Artists, Ngurra Artists, Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency, Papunya Tula Artists, Warlayirti Artists

Copyright: FORM
Format: Image
Category: Image
Source: 6 Canning Stock Route bush trip 1-4 August 2007
Accession ID: 20131213_FORM_MIRA_B0004_0012

Provenance: This material is sourced from Ngurra Kuju Walyja — the Canning Stock Route Project, which was initiated in 2006 by FORM and developed in partnership with Birriliburu, Kayili, KALACC, Mangkaja, Martumili, Ngurra, Papunya Tula, Paruku IPA, Warlayirti and Yulparija artists and art centres.

The camp from above

Aerial shot of the camp at Pangkapini, between Wells 35 and 36. Canning Stock Route bush trip 1-4 August 2007.

Date created: 8/2/2007 7:04:00
Photographer: Tim Acker
Location: Pangkapini, between Wells 35 and 36
Latitude/Longitude: -22.139/125.283

People: Richard Yugumbari (Yukenbarri) Tjakamarra, John Carty, Nankatji Josephine Nangala, Jeffrey James, Miriam Napanangka, Patrick Alututi (Olodoodi) Tjungurrayi
Art Centre(s): Papunya Tula Artists, Martumili Artists

Copyright: FORM
Format: Image
Category: Image
Source: 6 Canning Stock Route bush trip 1-4 August 2007
Accession ID: 20131213_FORM_MIRA_B0004_0009

Provenance: This material is sourced from Ngurra Kuju Walyja — the Canning Stock Route Project, which was initiated in 2006 by FORM and developed in partnership with Birriliburu, Kayili, KALACC, Mangkaja, Martumili, Ngurra, Papunya Tula, Paruku IPA, Warlayirti and Yulparija artists and art centres.

Film night

People sitting on the ground and watching the footage from the camp that has been edited through the day by the multimedia team. Canning Stock Route bush trip 1- 4 August 2007.

Date created: 8/3/2007
Photographer: Tim Acker
Location: Well 36, Kilykily
Latitude/Longitude: -22.13954/125.28315

People: Jeffrey James, Jugarda Dulcie Gibbs, Danny Glasby, Mulyatingki Marney, Joe Duncan, John Carty, Karen Dayman, Elizabeth Nyumi, Carly Davenport, Eubena (Yupinya) Nampitjin, Wuntupayi Jane Gimme, Hayley Atkins, Mantyil May Brooks
Art Centre(s): Warlayirti Artists, Martumili Artists, Papunya Tula Artists, Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency, Ngurra Artists

Copyright: FORM
Format: Image
Category: Image
Source: 6 Canning Stock Route bush trip 1-4 August 07
Accession ID: 20131213_B0005_0065

Provenance: This material is sourced from Ngurra Kuju Walyja — the Canning Stock Route Project, which was initiated in 2006 by FORM and developed in partnership with Birriliburu, Kayili, KALACC, Mangkaja, Martumili, Ngurra, Papunya Tula, Paruku IPA, Warlayirti and Yulparija artists and art centres.

Wally Dowling

Story:'They called him King of the Canning ...' (Jeffrey James, 2007)

Wally Dowling is probably the best-known drover in the Canning Stock Route’s history. Born in Northam in 1910, he began his droving apprenticeship in Meekatharra at age 14. He made the first of many trips down the stock route in about 1931, when it was reopened after reconditioning.

Wally Dowling’s colourful lifestyle appealed to the popular imagination, and he received a great many column inches in newspapers of the time. He inspired equally strong reactions among the Aboriginal people he worked with and encountered on the route — he was loved and loathed. Most of the artists, whose first encounters with white men took place on the stock route, vividly remember him.

'That old man Wally Dowling was the boss in Canning Stock Route. He don’t use ’em boot, just bare feet. He walked too much, every sandhill on that Wiluna road. He never been get sick. He was a good strong man. Strong man for walk.' (Yanpiyarti Ned Cox, 2007)

A bush poet, and emergency dentist and doctor to his stockmen, Wally once set his own broken leg with a cast made of greenhide (untanned bullock skin). He extracted teeth by tying them with string to an iron bucket and dropping it down a well.

But Wally Dowling was also known as a hard man, with his revolver ‘Little Bertha’ always at the ready. He reputedly robbed many Aboriginal men of their wives. 

'He had his revolver all the time. No smile on him. He been a rough bloke, and he wanted a black woman. ' (Anga Friday Jones, 2007)

In about 1941 Wally Dowling found a baby suckling its dead mother’s breast. One of his stockwomen fed the baby camel milk, and Wally named the infant Pelican because ‘his beak could hold more than his stomach’. By the time he was 16, Pelican was Wally’s head stockman. Wally found another child in 1953. Although initially unwilling to take him on, he changed his mind when the three-year-old put his arms around his neck. Wally named him Churchill. Wally’s son, Bob Stretch, grew up at Moola Bulla station with his mother, Lanyina. 

Wally’s death in 1959 marked the end of the droving era on the Canning Stock Route.

'Wally died in [Mistake] Creek; he had a bad flu. He went holiday with his camel. One of the tourists find that camel, took the hobbles off and ring to Billiluna, ‘Wally die!’ The camel walked all the way back. Halls Creek rang up, ‘Camel just going through!’ Next day, Ruby Plains rang up ‘They on their way to Billiluna!’ I was there. I open the gate. That it. The road was closed. No more droving. ' (Jeffrey James, 2007)

Media Creator:People Magazine

Media date: 1957

Media Description:Photograph of Wally Dowling in People Magazine, 1957.

Story contributor(s):Jeffrey James, Yanpiyarti Ned Cox, Anga Friday Jones

Art Centre(s): Other
Publisher: FORM
Media copyright: People Magazine
Accession ID:20131024_FORM_MIRA_B0097_0009

This material is sourced from Ngurra Kuju Walyja — the Canning Stock Route Project, which was initiated in 2006 by FORM and developed in partnership with Birriliburu, Kayili, KALACC, Mangkaja, Martumili, Ngurra, Papunya Tula, Paruku IPA, Warlayirti and Yulparija artists and art centres.

Droving Days

Story:Many Aboriginal people were picked up by drovers and taken to the stations. Some were children, and some eventually became drovers themselves.

'I got pick up droving day back in 1959. I got pick up in Well 25, which is near Nyilangkurr. They took me on a camel to Billiluna, Kimberley. I went on a camel all the way down to Billiluna and I grow up in that place. I was only thirteen when they pick me up. And I go little bit of schooling old Balgo mission and I get back to the station, start working in Billiluna.' (Jeffrey James, 2007)

'My family from Fitzroy, Halls Creek, pick me up when I was bout eight or nine. They put me on a camel, come all the way along the Canning Stock Route. All the workers look after the cattle, and when the day breaks they go to another well and we come with the camel behind. And drover in the front cut another well and get the water for the cattle, and they give them a rest all day. Too hot for travelling. And later on when they cool down they go and muster them and give them water, look after them all night.' (Billy Patch (Mr. P), 2007)

'They were droving from Wiluna, stockmen. They picked me up and took me to Billiluna. Len Brown gave me a horse to ride. I put the saddle on the horse and we went mustering the cattle around the lake. Len gave me my name. He was my boss. Len told all the young fellas to come and listen. He asked if he could give me the name ‘Brandy’, like branding the cattle. They were all happy with that.' (Kamara Brandy Tjungurrayi, 2007)

'A lotta old people telling me bout how they used to drove from Billiluna straight across to Wiluna. But they’re not in the photos. They got no name. Nothing. They got to be part of this droving story.' (Jawurji Mervyn Street, 2007)

Desert people who walked into the stations usually ended up working there in exchange for rations as stock men and women.

'We had no English then. We came in from the bush. We worked there in the station doing anything for the white man. I was working in the stock camps.' (Jukuja Dolly Snell, 2007)

Dusty Stevens learnt to ride a horse on Maraminda station. He was a young man who had just come in from his Country at Jilakurru. It was a rough education, but he eventually became a head stockman.

'We don’t know which way to ride! We get chucked off. Me and my brother got a hiding off the whitefella. We can’t understand to ride now! We fall off the saddle! That whitefella said, ‘What you want to hit the horse in the eye for?’ Give me good hiding! [Laughing] He been tie me and my brothers up. We gotta sit down there all night! Jail.' (Nyulku Dusty Stevens, 2007)

Media Creator:Tim Acker

Media date: 2008

Media Description:Photograph of Kamara Brandy Tjungurrayi

Story contributor(s):Jeffrey James, Billy Patch (Mr. P), Kamara Brandy Tjungurrayi, Jawurji Mervyn Street, Jukuja Dolly Snell, Nyulku Dusty Stevens

Art Centre(s): Other
Publisher: FORM
Media copyright: FORM
Accession ID:20131024_FORM_MIRA_B0097_0021

This material is sourced from Ngurra Kuju Walyja — the Canning Stock Route Project, which was initiated in 2006 by FORM and developed in partnership with Birriliburu, Kayili, KALACC, Mangkaja, Martumili, Ngurra, Papunya Tula, Paruku IPA, Warlayirti and Yulparija artists and art centres.

Title: Group photo Description: Artists, staff and team group photo. Well 36 Kilykily Artists Camp. Canning Stock Route bush trip 5- 6 August 2007. Date: 8/6/2007 10:23:00 Photographer: Tim Acker Location: Well 36, Kilykily Latitude/Longitude: -22.13954/125.28598 People: Paul Elliott, Frank Lane, Jason Collard, John Carty, Jeffrey James, Cam McGrath, Clifford Brooks, Joe Duncan, Helicopter Joey Tjungurrayi, Pija Peter Tinker, Richard Yugumbari (Yukenbarri) Tjakamarra, Mayapu Elsie Thomas, Hayley Atkins, Nankatji Josephine Nangala, Putuparri Tom Lawford, Patrick Olodoodi (Alatuti) Tjungurrayi, Dadda Samson, Miriam Napanangka, Wuntupayi Jane Gimme, KJ Kenneth Martin, Eubena (Yupinya) Namptijin, Charlie Wallabi (Walapayi) Tjungurrayi, Jakayu Biljabu, Carly Davenport, Elizabeth Nyumi, Kuji Rosie Goodjie, Mulyatingki Marney, Marjorie Yates, Yuwali Janice Nixon, Gabrielle Sullivan, Morika Biljabu, Rebecca Bird, Ngalangka Nola Taylor, Nicole Ma, Sharon Anderson, Yikartu Peterson Art Centre(s): Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency, Martumili Artists, Ngurra Artists, Papunya Tula Artists, Birriliburu Artists, Tjukurba Gallery, Warlayirti Artists, CSR Project Copyright: FORM Format: Image Category: Image Source: 7 Canning Stock Route bush trip 5-6 August 07 Accession ID: 20131007_FORM_MIRA_B0010_0036 Provenance: This material is sourced from Ngurra Kuju Walyja — the Canning Stock Route Project, which was initiated in 2006 by FORM and developed in partnership with Birriliburu, Kayili, KALACC, Mangkaja, Martumili, Ngurra, Papunya Tula, Paruku IPA, Warlayirti and Yulparija artists and art centres.

Group photo

Artists, staff and team group photo. Well 36 Kilykily Artists Camp. Canning Stock Route bush trip 5- 6 August 2007.

Date created: 8/6/2007 10:23:00
Photographer: Tim Acker
Location: Well 36, Kilykily
Latitude/Longitude: -22.13954/125.28598

People: Paul Elliott, Frank Lane, Jason Collard, John Carty, Jeffrey James, Cam McGrath, Clifford Brooks, Joe Duncan, Helicopter Joey Tjungurrayi, Pija Peter Tinker, Richard Yugumbari (Yukenbarri) Tjakamarra, Mayapu Elsie Thomas, Hayley Atkins, Nankatji Josephine Nangala, Putuparri Tom Lawford, Patrick Olodoodi (Alatuti) Tjungurrayi, Dadda Samson, Miriam Napanangka, Wuntupayi Jane Gimme, KJ Kenneth Martin, Eubena (Yupinya) Namptijin, Charlie Wallabi (Walapayi) Tjungurrayi, Jakayu Biljabu, Carly Davenport, Elizabeth Nyumi, Kuji Rosie Goodjie, Mulyatingki Marney, Marjorie Yates, Yuwali Janice Nixon, Gabrielle Sullivan, Morika Biljabu, Rebecca Bird, Ngalangka Nola Taylor, Nicole Ma, Sharon Anderson, Yikartu Peterson
Art Centre(s): Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency, Martumili Artists, Ngurra Artists, Papunya Tula Artists, Birriliburu Artists, Tjukurba Gallery, Warlayirti Artists, CSR Project

Copyright: FORM
Format: Image
Category: Image
Source: 7 Canning Stock Route bush trip 5-6 August 07
Accession ID: 20131007_FORM_MIRA_B0010_0036

Provenance: This material is sourced from Ngurra Kuju Walyja — the Canning Stock Route Project, which was initiated in 2006 by FORM and developed in partnership with Birriliburu, Kayili, Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre, Mangkaja, Martumili, Ngurra, Papunya Tula, Paruku IPA, Warlayirti and Yulparija artists and art centres.

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