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Clifford Brooks

Name: Clifford Brooks

Clifford Brooks - Rover Thomas and his brother [ORAL HISTORY]

Synopsis: Clifford talks about how his father left his family behind at Yalta when he was young and went droving. He travelled throughout the Country and then came back looking for his younger brother (Rover Thomas) and the rest of his family. One day, decades later, they saw Rover's photo in the newspaper and the brothers were reunited.

Date: 2006-11
Art centre(s):
Language spoken: English, Martu Wangka
Catalogue number: CSROH_140_Clifford_Brooks
Interviewed By: Carly Davenport
Transcribed By: Monique La Fontaine
Translated By: Annette Williams
Recorded by: Carly Davenport
Location Recorded: Wiluna
Latitude/Longitude: -26.595/120.225

Access: PUBLIC
Notes: This story has been transcribed and some of the sections in Martu have been translated, however some language gaps still exist.
Full transcript:
Clifford Brooks: Yuwo [yes]. I wanna tell you fellas what I been hear, story about my, about this old people, what been happening, and this project that is going to happen, bout the Canning Stock Route. We wanna tell you fellas bout things been happening in the past that hasn’t been recorded, what old people had it in their head. It was up here, recorded, but not written, no paper, [XX], no pencil and paper. It was up here, been recorded. And that’s how I got to get that knowledge of recording it in my head.

And this is a true story what my old man been tell me. Well, few old people been tell me different different stories. But I sort of, but I mean it took me a long time to get it to, to get it into my head. But I know that it’s true. That when my old man left his youngest brother and his mother and father, he been leave em behind in Yalta near [Well] 33. And he been go, following the droving. They been go kujarra [two of them]. He went back to look for his ngurra [Country]. Them two been go, youngfellas. They been following that droving. They been following right up until they been, til they had to branch off and go towards Jigalong way. But they used to go meet up with all the mens. Old man-pa, and he had to go back.

He been walk back through Karlamilyi River, goin back to Yalta, Yarakijikarti [?] he went looking for his young brother Rover [Thomas], old man-pa. He went looking for him, back in his home Country and [for him] paluku, mother and father, my old man-ku. He went and seen yanu [went]nyangu [nothing] — nothing. Nothing. Ngurra [Country] nyangu — nothing, empty. No track. Only track was there, wagon wheel and yawarta [horse] and bullock, that’s all. Yawarta katja [horses].

He been run into [XX] eaglehawk. They been flying around, all sort of eagles. He been get up on a sandhill and he been look down, two tali [sandhills] and in the middle of two tali: men, women and children. Walypala [whitefella] massacre, they been get shot, men, women and children. Whitefella shoot them with a rifle. Only the ones that get saved is the ones that went hunting and never came back. They camped out bush, they been only come next day kukawarnti [no meat left].

And he been tell him, he used to tell me, he didn’t know about months, day. He didn’t know. Moon. That’s all. That’s why he been tell him, ‘I’ll be back in one months. You see that moon up there? That’s when I’ll be back. I’ll pick you up on the way back, and your family, and we’ll go Country, Jigalong karti [we’ll go to Jigalong]’. And he’s alive today old Badger [XX] Jigalong. And that’s why that old fella, he knew in his heart old man-ju that his young brother was still alive, that I didn’t even know. Every time in the camp fire he used to tell me, ‘My young brother is still alive some where up north’. Back in the, kuwarri [lately] kuwarri not long, in about 90s I had a article, newspaper, read em in a paper-ku, and one old fella Wajarrijtiu [XX], ‘You know that paper, [that] face-pa? Have a look that paper, that face on the newspaper there, have a look’. And he been, ‘You know that bloke?’ I said, ‘No, I don’t know that old fella’. ‘Well you have a look at your father and you look at that face in the newspaper. That’s your young father, your father’s youngest brother that one.’

And straight away it clicked in my mind that I knew that old man was right. He was alive. And the very next day I got on the phone, I rang to Warmun, community office, I rang there and old man on the other side knew. Somebody must have told him, or something must have told him I was going to ring that day and he answered the phone and he said he knew I was ringing for him. I told him that, ‘Your oldest brother is here’, and they spoke for a little while on a two-way radio, there was no phone in that community. Them two talked. And they said, ‘can we meet?’ And I straight away said, ‘I’ll buy you a ticket. I’ll put you on the bus and you travel on that bus, you get to Hedland, jump on nother bus, you come on inland bus to Newman’. So when he arrived I got him off the bus at night, took him across to the car park. My old man was standing up and I took Rover across, and they didn’t know whether to yampulkaku [hug] or shake hand, they been cry. But I stood in the back there, I had tears coming out my eyes. I cried for them. And cos I knew, you know.

I said, ‘well, I better get something’. I told old man that, ‘I don’t drink, my old man he don’t drink, but I know that you drink’. I tell old Rover, ‘I’ll buy you wama [alcohol] and you can have a drink and you two can talk’. I took em out of the town, out bush, made a big fire and I said, ‘well, have a drink and you two can talk about it’. They been happy, talking all night, right up til day break, drinking. They been hugging one another all night now. They was really happy. From all that time. So it was about 40 years apart, they been away from each other. They only met when they was old, that’s all.

And all that time that I never had interest in paintings and arts. I was too busy, working. So, this year when I went to Turkey Creek, old people been tell me there, and my sister, Jane, she been tell me, ‘I’m doing arts now’. ‘That’s good, you should follow the old man. I’ll start up painting too’. Because I knew that in my heart, and old man tell me that, you know, ‘We gotta do painting and tell our stories through there.’ Because nobody wouldn’t believe us, so might as well do it through arts so the whole world can hear us: this is a true story that we gotta put on down on the paper. Painting Jukurrpa ngapulu [father’s Dreaming], that’s a jamumili Jukurrpa [grandfather’s Dreaming], our grandfather’s land. It’s not a thing, it’s a Jukurr [Dreaming], really, what our old people been tell us what to do. That’s why we gotta carry this so the people in other country can have a look too: what is true, that’s never been recorded. So, what we talking about kuwarri [now] is a history we gotta do. So, that’s why I do painting kuwarri ngayinpa [me now?] because of my old man been tell me, ‘tell your stories through painting’.

I’m sure other people are doing it too through painting too, to tell their story. [XX] they been telling us. [XX] So, we wanna try to get, to get together, tell our story about our Country, because it’s our life. It’s in that Country there, our jamu [grandfather], and our grannies. Yuwo [yes]. Palya [good].

Carly Davenport: Palya [good], Clifford do you want to tell a little bit about how when you went to Warmun you visited the grave, and then you and another family member wrote for [XX] grave?

CB: Yuwa [yes]. I been in Turkey Creek for that pinyi [funeral] time [ XX - ... old man-ku] and Mala my family there in Turkey Creek, sister been, they been get a headstone, they been put it in the grave there and there’s a story there. If anybody want to have a look at that story there it’s been written, in English, and it’s been written in Kija, their language in Turkey Creek. I been there last year when I had a look. It’s a true story where old man been travelling. He been patayanu patangyulpayi [looking – spelling?] for his young brother and he been looking for his mum and dad, patangyipi, [looking for – spelling?] kapali-ku [his grandmother] and for his father, [my] jamu [grandfather], that’s how that headstone there in Warmun community, gravesites got a story there. That me and my oldest brother wrote, where them two been apart from each other for 40 years. They only met lately in the ‘90s, they only met. So, it’s a history, what we gotta keep, it’s never been written on a paper, it’s been written in here [points to head]. Yuwo, palya [yes, good]!


Source: CSROH_140_Clifford_Brooks

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.

Name: Clifford Brooks, Jawurji Mervyn Street

Jawurji Mervyn Street, Clifford Brooks - Boundaries [ORAL HISTORY]

Synopsis: Cliffy and Mervyn speak about the Martu boundaries that exist across Canning Stock Route Country and how kartiya maps do not acknowledge these boundaries. The speak about how Canning and his team used Martu people to help them find water for the wells on the stock route and how the Martu boundaries defined the final path of the stock route. Tourists don't understand the boudaries when they are passing through, they can't see the songlines. The Martu story of the guides and the people who have worked on the Canning Stock Route have not bee recorded.

Date: 7/30/2007
Art centre(s):
Language spoken: English
Catalogue number: CSROH_07_Jawurji_Mervyn_Street_Clifford_Brooks
Interviewed By: John Carty
Transcribed By: John Carty
Location Recorded: Helen Hill
Latitude/Longitude: -22.76667/123.7

Access: PUBLIC
Notes: There are four minutes of dialogue at the end of Tape 7 Side A that was spoken in Martu Wangka and has not been transcribed, which means it remains without a permission. In this section Clifford Brooks talks about his father’s search for Rover Thomas and includes some interjections from Mervyn Street.
Full transcript:
Mervyn Street: Now I was just lookin at this map here [tourist map of the Canning Stock Route], and see there’s nothing there, I can’t see any language boundary in this map- nothing. So for me you know, I was thinking ‘bout that time when Canning went through this way. Must be old people been workin for that kartiya [white person] – I dunno how many know, how many been workin for that kartiya doin well – when they was just about to get to that nother language boundary might be they been know that another family – like a boundary there – they never want go in more. Might be they been get frightened to go in there. Might be that kartiya pushed em, to make em to go there.

Some place story, you know, I been just listening, some people might have been forced to go there and when they been get to that nother area might be they been get frightened two sides: from other mob, from other tribe – because they been come from nother place – and they might have been frightened from kartiya [white person] side or from Martu side same time you know? That’s why kartiya might have been chain them every night time, so they can’t get away. And in the morning they make them work. But I been listening, they gotta good story, got good history for that kartiya, but somefella reckon kartiya been doing bad again some time, nother place, nother way, you know. But I thinking old people mighta been chained, locked up in a tree, might be kartiya been use, might be their wife – might be something like that – never know. That’s why might be some martu mighta been getting a funny feeling, like it might be kartiya never doin the right thing. Sometime they been frightened to run away, but sometime nother place now, they been get killed half way in the road – never know.

That’s the way the story gone, all the way. And what is worrying me here [Mervyn is addressing the map] – that got no boundary marks, for all the language, nothing. Kartiya [white person] gottem right across from Billiluna to Wiluna, you know. Like a language group you know, how far they go the language groups. Here from Billiluna they’re mixed, my family group there like a Jaru and [XX – mulpurra?] they talk and might be Kukatja [language group] that side, and more and more language coming in this road all the way. It got a language group all the way, right through. Might be some fella, Martu, might be frightened to go to nother area, nother language area, might be they been frightened to go through there, you know. And whitefella keep going, forcing them to go. And whitefella side they been thinking there’s nothing there, but Martu side, something is there.

John Carty: How do Martu know where the boundaries are, that kartiya [white people] can’t see?

MS: They know. Because they know what tribe the next place, they know how far they stop, when they go using that area. And they know how far that nother language boundary, they know. But whitefella, they don’t know where. They just you know go – long as they look at the Country – they just go. And they like to go straight! But in the road somewhere, Martu side, they got some special thing in the road there somewhere. In a front. They gonna have to dodge around, go other way round, all around you know? When Canning been going working with them people now, another people mighta been say, ‘this not our Country now. You gonna have to get right mob to lead you la this place now. ‘Only somefella been say you not gonna use same fella all the way, this not our area. And that why Martu always been say, you know, that they don’t understand. They like to force him, keep going people – to go through there.

Clifford Brooks: Chain em up.

MS: Chain em up, if he not listening. Chain em up.

CB: So he can’t run away you know? Night time he can’t run away he chained up there. He’ll still use him in the morning, you know.

MS: He never know, might be that Martu chained up, he never know if that man used his wife in the night, never know. That kind of thing, you know. Because I been understand all the road it circle round and round, and I been thinking straightaway might be something, special place there, and they been make it clear place all the way to go, and that’s why people used that place – nothing to worry, you know – might be bad thing one side all the way you know. But that’s the main thing, when you go to another language boundary, you get a right one to lead you through there – to guide you all the way. But whitefella never think anything like that, you know, they just reckon long as they been go where the straight line is, that’s all. In the Martu side there’s no straight line. You can’t go straight when you got something, some special thing in the road - you’re gonna have to dodge around, you know.

They got good name, but I heard about and know some story not good, you know.

JC: What would Martu do, if they’re comin up, might be that hill there, or nother hill, they come up to that place and they know that’s another man’s Country now, do they stop there or?

MS: Yeah. Only people who know, who belong to that place, he got a right to do that, but not Martu from nother area. He can’t do that, he gotta respect another Martu – you know, respect. He gonna have to ask proper way, and that Martu will lead for that nother Martu that free way to go, you know, no anything in the road. He can make it good.

JC: So you can’t just walk through another man’s Country?

MS: No. If you kartiya [white person] you’re leading me there, I might say I’m not allowed to go there, but you keep on telling me to go there. I never say, ‘no’ – you might turn and what you’ll do la me? You not listening to me. And those days, like before, it was happening like that, you know, ‘oh you not listening’ – he can punish you. He can starve you for dinner, or you can camp no feed all night, or something like that. Or might be just poison you or get rid of you – if you run away.

JC: So what you were saying, some of those people who were making the stock route, they put some of those Martu in a situation like where they afraid of kartiya [white people] one side – because they might get chained up, they might steal their wife, they might get shot, anything.

MS: Yeah.

JC: But they afraid of Martu too because they’ve been taken in the wrong Country?

MS: Yeah. Wrong Country there. Yeah. And they been forced through that Country they gotta think bout ‘nother Martu might [XX] ... That Martu from nother place might be he’s thinking, ‘oh I’m doing the wrong thing because this whitefella making me to go there, I’m not supposed to be there.’ And Martu might say, ‘not me, you gotta get that one there, the right one to take you to show you to lead you right way. You get the right person from there to next language boundary – you get another Martu from there, keep going, you know. Language this one Martu all the way along, you know. That’s why maybe them Martu been frightened – they try to get away, but them whitefella keep going, force them to go there.

JC: It’s a little bit like this trip. Like you gotta have – early part, Jiglaong/ Wiluna mob, the right people who gotta talk.

MS: The right people gotta talk. Right across. When you’re lookin at this map there – it’s clean – just only that road Canning Stock Route all the way. When Martu look like that, it’s nothing there. They’re gonna have to work out some way to put boundaries so when people look here’s the language boundaries. And when we go to this trip, might be somewhere, who’s the right person to take you to lead you somewhere? Might be he’s right for whitefella, kartiya [white people] he just go you know.

CB: Yuwo [yes]. Kartiya-fella way, you’re trespassing on other people’s Country you know, other people’s land. You know that word you say “trespassing” - you can’t trespass on other peoples property. You’re breaking the law, you know. Because we’ve got our own law, and where the boundary ends is [XX] … it’s the songlines you follow, you know. That’s what the old people showed us, the old people keep it in their head, ‘this songline ah, that’s where my boundary finishes,’ you know. And that person in that group where they’re, you know, having a ceremony, ‘oh his boundary now, he can sing that area, that’s his Country.’ Well that’s what Mervyn been saying about the boundaries. We only can go so far, we can speak in that area because we – like for myself I’m a Kartujarra [language group], but I been born, I been with the Manyjilyjarra tribe, so I can speak two sides me. And my old man, he from up that side [pointing north] from [Well] 33 back here, he been right up to Lake Disappointment with the Putijarra tribe, so he made his way up this way to get through all that – so he had to … it’s already open for him to go through, for my old man. They been welcome him in every tribe. And like what’s-a-name been say, Mervyn been say, kartiya [white people] never put that in the map, where the language boundaries are. It might be in this book here [Tonkinson], old Tonkinson been put it, it’s in this book here, but there’s no line in that map you know. Like for myself, I been, I know that Country, all the language there, I can talk Manyjilyjarra I can talk Kartujarra me know, so I can talk right up to [Well] 33, to Kunawarritji you know, because of my old man on that side, father side. Mother’s side is here, from Raarki [Well 27] back that way [towards Well 23]. This last well we went through, my uncle’s.

I only been travel through here one time, from … goin up to [Well] 33. First time I came through here was in ’97, and I didn’t even know all them areas, you know. I knew them but I didn’t ... I was a young bloke travelling. I didn’t took much interest. I been listening to all them Countries when I was a kid with my old man. He tell me, ‘one day when you want to see me you’ll go to all them places there, and you have a look, and you can tell the story. If they can’t listen to you by the story, you’ll do the art. By painting you can do that’. And that’s one of the things I’m gonna do when I go back [to Wiluna], do the language groups’ painting. Tell my story through there, through the art. Probably do a really big one, show where the boundaries are for all the language groups

JC: We’ll put it next to this one [tourist map of the Canning Stock Route]!

CB: Kartiya [white people] been putting the map here, you know, he only want to put the cattle through, right up here to Wiluna, you know. And its like what Mervyn been saying, people been getting frightened come along, ‘oh I can’t go in the next man’s boundary, I might get speared, or they might do something, sing me, you know. You’ll be cripple or sick for lifetime, you won’t get healed. And the old people will say – they’ll point a bone at you, you know, you’ll be finished in one day, if they really wanted to get rid of you. So you can’t go back and tell the people what been happen. Finished’.

JC: That’s something kartiya [white people] don’t really understand. Like it wasn’t just kartiya who got speared for goin the wrong place, like Martu would spear Martu if they’re trespassing another man’s Country, wouldn’t they?

MS: Yeah.

CB: That’s right.

JC: It’s a really hard Law.

MS: That’s why I’ve been bring up this thing, looking at this map and I been thinking, ‘where’s the language boundary?’ You got a track right there, they made a good history, and where’s the boundary for all the people here? Because when you go farm they got electric fence. And that nother farmer, neighbour, they can’t jump over another people’s boundary. They got electric fence, keep that bloke one side. Martu boundaries got no electric fence, just tree … People just passing through. But looking at this map, they [kartiya – white people] gotta recognise where are all the boundaries, language boundaries.

JC: Do you think tourists understand, when they’re passing through, might be that way if there’s a boundary of hills, or sandhill, they understand what boundaries they’re passing through?

CB: I don’t think they really understand the boundaries, they just drive through thinking its free, vacant land, you know – they say its Country that anyone can travel on. But they don’t know the real history, the real true story about the Martu, what’s really underneath, the stories have really never been told, you know. I know its sacred to the Martu, but for the whitefella to really understand what this Martu land is, ‘oh, this hill, what is it sacred or you know …’ They just drive along, and drive up the hills thinking, ‘it’s only a hill there’. Like when we went past that hill over there [pointing to the sandhill with tyre marks running up it that Cam and Paul went back to film], they think its just a hill and you can drive up there and do whatever you want. Back in those old people days you’re gonna get, old people, if you go up there – you’re gone [dead] that night now. They’ll sing you just like that. They’ll come to you when you sleep. They can pull any part of your organs inside of you, they’ll pull it out of you. You’re gone. Like going into next man’s territory you know, you can’t do that really. Well in the kartiya [white person] way you can’t go into another man’s property, you’re trespassing, you go to lock-up. You’ll be prosecuted, or even shot! Yuwo [yes]. If you’re trespassing in another people’s Country, ‘specially in a farm. You got a house there next door, you can’t jump over the other side. Only if you’re welcome to go there. Same here now. Like that from Wiluna there I couldn’t speak, I only spoke quietly now. I just kept quiet you know. And I just tell Friday, I tell him, ‘hey, where’s that songline?’ That’s all I been ask him, you know, secret way, and he just tell me by myself, ‘that’s this one here now’, and I knew straight away because I knew some of the songs. But its just for myself, I keep it because I know – what my tjamu [grandfather] tell me, grandfather telling, ‘don’t tell anybody’, unless they’re a Man [initiated], you know.

MS: What is good thing for putting a boundary line, you know? Get somebody along this road – all the people who know where all the boundaries is, putting all the name, and when the tourist come they can sort of read, ‘ah, we’re in Gardujarra Country’. Next one, other sign, ‘ah we’re in Manyjilyjarra Country’.

CB: Or Putjiarra, or…

MS: When they know, when they coming driving through.

CB: It may be a good idea, you know, to just put signs [saying], ‘you’re in this territory’. ‘Oh, we’re in Manyjilyjarra tribe Country now’, so that they can respect. Put a sign there saying, ‘don’t go driving off the road and don’t go to driving doing wheelies around the claypans’, and all that stuff.

MS: Have a big sign, saying what’s the place where you’re in, and it’s got all the things there.

CB: Maybe put a sign there, you know. Its like what we said earlier, might be, to tell our story to the world, we can do it by painting, paint this Country. But we don’t want to paint other people’s Country, you gotta get permission first, ‘can we paint from the start to the end?’ You know. Maybe I can just paint in that area, my area, and other people from that side can paint that way and join it up together. Maybe this mob can join up, and nother mob can join in the middle you know, like do it in parts you know. Maybe … that’s what I think. We can paint in one area, and middle mob can, that tribe can paint that area, and that last mob can painting and put it in the painting. Join them together.

MS: Make a map out of the painting!

CB: Maybe, I’m just thinking you know like that, a good idea.

JC: I think that’s a really good idea, that the real map.

CB: Yuwo [yes].

MS: Yeah.

JC: That’s what this exhibition can be, if you mob want to do it that way, telling your story through your own maps.

CB: That north mob, Balgo and Fizroy, they painting their Country, like that picture I been see the other night, they painting they’re Country, they paint, like that one now. We get them to paint, get a painting for that one there, and maybe we can paint our one in the middle there and join em together. … and we can get maybe this mob, maybe Jiglaong or Parnngurr to join em together, join the paintings, tell their story
through there, ‘this one here rockhole, mine one belong to my grandfather...’

MS: And they can know now, they can know where’s that place not to go, where’s that place you can go – all that kind, all the way along. That map will show everything that way; it would make a really good map.

[Note: There are four minutes at the end of this track that are not transcribed. In this section Clifford Brooks talks about his father’s story looking for Rover Thomas, with some interjections from Mervyn Street]

[CSR Tape 7: Side B]

CB: Yeah, big painting from the start, today that’ll be really good for the exhibition, you know.

JC: Well it’ll be great because kartiya [white people] will be able to see, they can look at this map that they understand and then see that other map there and go ‘oh, there’s a different story’.

CB: Yeah, oh this is where … the boundaries are here, you know … we want to … what we say been a good idea … where the boundaries you know? We can tell our stories through that, you know? Might be here, put it on here … some part might be, will be cut … to make the program on the thing there shorter, you know? That’s what um, editors do, you know? They might cut all the stories out, you know? Yuwo [yes]… to make it short, you know? Yuwoo [yes].

JC: They might have to.

CB: Yuwo [yes] … that’s how some of the stories are getting get missed out, you know? Our stories are getting missed out, you know?

JC: Yeah.

CB: But … the only way for us mob is to do it by painting, do it section by section … this is the group, this is the language group here, another language group here, you know? And this is a boundary that one, we can put it all in the one … boundary side. When you look at it now, kartiya’s [white people] going through the boundary, going right through …

JC: It’s trespassing - but we call it tourism.

CB: Yuwo [yes], tourism yeah, tourism you call him.

MS: Just like a … Canning got good history of this road now for his story, made it really good history – what about all the Martu? We got no history. We been working through here, at least Martu do their best to make a road for other mob.

CB: All the Martu been used, like some of them come on the trip, they’re like a cook, old people, they been come as a cook washing plate and all that, and they been come up there … They not in the photo, they not in the book, they not in the pictures …

MS: No name, nothing …

CB: Nothing. You go to Turkey Creek now I seen a one old lady there she got a wooden leg you know … and he been sit down they and he been tell me the story, ‘well, I been droving, I been go that-a way, Wiluna’, and he got a wooden leg.

MS: Yeah.

CB: I seen her last … year before … last year when I was there. Yeah before that, yeah … I seen her with a wooden leg still walking around and he been tell me that story, ‘oh, I been to Wiluna, I been droving, I been washing plate I been come back and I been hurt my leg on that, on that trip’ … that old lady still there …

MS: In Billiluna … they know their story again, you know, old people again, but they’re not in the photos, they got no name, nothing. And we’re trying to get that story back and, you know, put their name down. They gotta be part of this droving story and this story about why Canning been making that well all the way. They got names, old people. But we want to bring them back again, story for old people.

CB: Yuwo [yes].

MS: Yuwo [yes].

Source: CSROH_07_Jawurji_Mervyn_Street_Clifford_Brooks

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.

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)

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.

Clifford Brooks


Clifford Brooks - Canning Stock Route [ORAL HISTORY]
Synopsis: Clifford Brooks tells some the old people's stories about when they first saw the Canning Stock Route and thought it must be a snake path. He also talks about them seeing machinery and white people for the first time.

Date: 2007-07-01
Art centre(s): Birriliburu Artists, Tjukurba Gallery
Language spoken: Kriol, English
Catalogue number: CSROH_149_Clifford_Brooks
Date: 2007-07-01
Transcribed By: Monique La Fontaine
Location Recorded: Talawana Track/Canning Stock Route intersection

Cultural Protocols: Public Access - Restrictions on Use
Access: Public
Notes: Numbered differently in permission form
Full transcript: Clifford Brooks: Righto yuwa [yes]. Just givin’ you fellas a run down on long time ago when old people used to live around here. My mother’s Country just up where that well is. They used to go out hunting just about up here. And cool day one time they went for a walk, hunting, as they were coming back to the camp they run into this, this track here. Going up from the west Talawana Track going to, this well up here, and they didn’t know what it was, this track here. They thought it was a big snake went through, you know? They had the old fella to have a look at it now because there’s a something like a big animal goin’ along with a big noise, you know. But it was a bull-dozer, they had to go back and they had to jump from side of the road to other side they had to jump without touching the road. So, they didn’t know what it was. Long time they been telling me in the camp fire, ‘that road only just been put in’. Len Beadell came through here with a bulldozer and a grader. He was cutting this road. That’s when he came a cross a couple of people in the rockhole at Parnngurr [Ngamaru Bidu, Jakayu Biljabu, Kumpaya Girgaba etc]. Then, so all my family was there too in Parnngurr rockhole and that’s how they came to know this track here. Big, big, big machinery came through here, cutting up the track. They didn’t know what it was first. But only word they knew was ‘government’ that’s all. [XX – in language] Country belong to my old people [XX - repeats in language]. But they been taken away to the mission, long time, that’s why this is, I feel at home, you know, my Country here. Yuwa [yes]. Palya [good]? John Carty: When they jumped over the track, how come they couldn’t touch it, you know? What they must have been thinking? CB: Well they were thinking must have been a big snake come through, [XX - person?], you know. That to touch it might be dangerous to them. ‘Cause only snake can cut this sorta tracks and they didn’t want to put their, no foot on the ground. That snake might come back and smell him, because, yu [yes]. That’s why they had to jump. ‘Cause when they went out in the morning and they came back in the afternoon and saw this road, this one here been cut, when Len Beadell came through here with his big machineries putting the track up to Gary Junction, Highway. JC: Did they hear that sound? CB: Yeah they could hear the sound. Like in the morning they could hear it, like this time now they could hear ‘em, goin’ up, big noise. Cos they could hear the vibration on the ground you know, dff dff dff dff. And because grader came just behind it cleaning it up, bulldozer was just cutting all the trees, knocking all the trees, clearing it up. JC: Had they seen kartiya [white people] before, your mother and your uncle? CB: Nah. They never know kartiya [white people]. They didn’t know what it was. You know, they just thought it was something else. But they never seen that kind of thing at the time. They didn’t know what that snake or machine, how it came, you know. But they never seen a whitefella before. Mm. Yuwo [yes] … JC: Does this road, does it cut across the stock route? CB: Just the creek up here, and this goes straight up east, straight up Gary Junction Highway meets with Gunbarrel Highway south, and this one goes back up Well 33, meets up there. And then the road goes right back and then goes to Kiwirrkurra. Yuwa [yes]. Kiwirrkurra, then to Kintore, then straight up Pupanya [Papunya]. END
Video format: DVD/miniDV/QuickTime movie
Video recording: 5 IV - Annette at Durba, Cliffy at Talawana Rd, Cliffy Merv at well 28
Source: CSROH_149_Clifford_Brooks
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Clifford Brooks; © FORM, transcript only

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.

Name: Clifford Brooks

Clifford Brooks - Brief life history [ORAL HISTORY]

Synopsis: Clifford Brooks gives a brief life history.

Date: 2007-07-27
Art centre(s):
Language spoken: English
Catalogue number: CSROH_06_Clifford_Brooks
Interviewed By: John Carty
Transcribed By: Monique La Fontaine
Recorded by: John Carty
Location Recorded: Durba Springs
Latitude/Longitude: -23.45/122.31

Cultural Protocols: Public Access - Restrictions on Use
Access: Public
Full transcript: Clifford Brooks: Yuwo [Yes ready]! My name is Clifford Brooks. I come from Jigalong. Yeah, I been born there in the mission, old hospital. Yeah. I been go to school there, primary school … and … I don’t know [XX - if ?] primary school, I always run away from school, go bush. Yeah. But I been grow up with my older sister on a station, [XX]. Where it’s not far, west of Newman, Prairie Downs Station. And only time I go back there is when they have a work break, that’s all. And I’ve been grow up with my brother-in-law and my sister. But when I go back to mission I’ll be stay with my parents. I only go to school there when I go there, you know.

But every time they go out weekend they camp out in bush, in the rockholes. I go to school right up till Friday afternoon then I take off, Saturday morning. I take off, get all our bit a ration, like potato, onion, apple, orange, maybe one chop, that’s all. Then we take off. We go out with the family camping in the rockhole, out bush. We walk all the way, maybe get there to camp, that’s maybe sunset, stay there till Sunday, go back school. Camp there, go school next day, maybe Monday.

I been there right up till primary school, then we been shift to Strelley. They been taken away, Strelley, what they call ‘em, them nomad people. From there I been run away, go to Hedland. I been go to Hedland Senior High School then. I been doin schoolin’ there for two years. Moorgunyah Hostel I been stay. From there I went to Jiglaong, went back on a plane and never went back to school. I just took off to station. Yeah. And then, a bloke, I was … oh, my teacher, oh he told me, ‘Oh, them mob from Jigalong, never came back to school, they got no future’. You know, they tell us. Yeah, ‘they got no future’.

John Carty: Who said that?

CB: My teacher. From senior high school, he been tell me that, and when he came up to Jigalong one time, he saw me as the Chairperson there! And he says, “Whoa!” I made him to see: Look, we running this community ourself. Yeah. He said, ‘Well, ah well, good on you now’. He was with the, whats-a-name, sport and recs up at there, Perth there somewhere. He was one of the scout go round gettin’ footy players. Took players, for the ah, whats-a-name, oh what they call em? AFL or what that club, Junior League.

But I been the Chairperson there in Jigalong there for nearly two years. Back in the ‘90s. I been working there as a builder. For everything I been work there. I been nearly a project officer. Assistant project officer. We went out to build a out-station in the, back in 1986, ’85. Went out for, Seaman Inquiry was on back in ‘86. I think ‘85, ‘86. That’s when we went out to build that community at Parnngurr. I put a windmill there for them, ah windmill, a tank there for them and a shed. Before they moved out, people moved out there, lived there. Now it’s a big community. And the community, there’s a couple of communities that, outstations that they built, [wind in microphone] I lived in [XX]. Robertson Range, one of them communities. One of them is Puntawarri outstation, ‘nother one [XX - Muka?] outstation, we built it at Jigalong there. The people are really happy with their new houses there. Well, that’s the life where I been working and working all the time. We all went to station. Mainly I been working the station back in ‘83, ‘84. Yalleen Station. I been the cattle man there, catching wild bulls.

Well, then we had to move to Balfour Down Station. I been work for a boss there, he paid real good money. I was only young fella. Yeah, by myself. I had no offsider me.

JC: What kind of work were you doing?

CB: I was doing cattle mustering, yeah. Checking fencing, checking windmill.

JC: You on horseback or …?

CB: I had a Toyota and a motorbike. Well, we had horseback sometime, we had, know how to ride a horse. We need to drive some cattle, not through, from stockyard to another windmill, you know. ‘Cause the windmill break down, we move ‘em, move all the cattle, to the windmill where there’s a water or else they might perish, you know. ‘Cause they had a time to fix the windmill up, get all the parts from Perth, with the windmill. So, we went to thing. But the cattle, we drive ‘em up there but they still come back to windmill because they know that area there. So, we gotta get the windmill going for them. Yeah, well that’s where I been grow up there, Jigalong. That where I been taught everything there, through business and all Law business and everything else. That’s why they put me through.

JC: You mean through Jigalong?

CB: Yuwo [yes].


Source: CSROH_06_Clifford_Brooks
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Clifford Brooks; © FORM, transcript only

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.

Name: Clifford Brooks

Clifford Brooks - Painting stories and skin groups [ORAL HISTORY]

Synopsis: Clifford Brooks explains two of his paintings and explains four skin groups to John Carty.

Date: 2007-08-01
Art centre(s):
Language spoken: English
Catalogue number: CSROH_17A_Clifford_Brooks
Interviewed By: John Carty, Karen Dayman
Transcribed By: Monique La Fontaine
Location Recorded: Kutjuwarri (Well 46)
Latitude/Longitude: -20.64184/126.28722

Cultural Protocols: Public Access - Verbal Consent
Access: Public
Notes: These are transcribed stories for Clifford Brooks’ paintings: CB/11/TJ, and CB/9/TJ. Paintings CB/11/TJ and CB/9/TJ were not part of the final collection.
Full transcript: John Carty: Ok, this one now is for Cliffy’s painting catalogue number CB-11-TJ.

Clifford Brooks: Yu. Yuwayi [yes], this just about all the Ngurra [Country], you know. People live in their own Ngurra, like rock holes, and they got their own, own maaja [law boss], like own boss, and their own, might be they got a one elder there. Like when you go to communities now they got that big boss there, might be for the tribe for the law, you know business time, they got a boss there. Like a one boss for law, ‘nother boss for … different, different law they got ‘em, you know, different tribes got different … Like he’s in charge of that dance group, he’s in charge of this dance group, you know, that one there. You know, Ngurra, you know, not one boss for everything. Gotta listen to, you know, if one talking they gotta all agree, you know. Sometime you don’t get people all agreeing in one you know, you get, ‘Ah, nah, nah, nah. You do it this way,’ you know. They don’t all agree in one, they all different, different but different way of thinking you know. Yu [yes].

Karen Dayman: That always been the case?

CB: Yu [yes].

KD: Bushmen would have been arguing little bit too?

CB: Oh yeah. Some people don’t agree with one. You know, ‘oh, let’s do it for the whole lot of us,’ you know. Whole lot. [Laughs] I been see that happen you know. Yu [yes]. Now then and [in whiny voice], ‘Oh, what you gotta say? Well we not gonna listen to him,’ you know. ‘He not a maaja [law boss].’ Yeah. [Laughs] You know, might be he just come lately that bloke, man you know. They go, ‘Ah no, we gotta listen to that old fella, he been there long time, you know. He’s the maaja. He got the dreaming, that one there, you know. Listen to that man there’. You know, one group decide, one group that side, ‘nother group that side, ‘nother group that side. That’s why, you know, [laughs] different different ideas, you know. [Laughs.]

KD: [XX - indecipherable]

CB: Yeah that’s that story there that one.

JC: Alright, we’re moving on to Clifford’s other painting, CB-09-TJ.

CB: Yuwayi [yes]. This one four skin groups. You know, four skin groups? For that one. Four skin groups. You probably get the name of the four skin groups in the book you know. They got ‘em in schools there.

JC: Say ‘em now.

CB: Karimarra. Panaka, Purungu and Milangka.

JC: You’re Milangka? [Speaking to Karen Dayman]

CB: Mm.

JC: And you? [Speaking to Clifford Brooks]

CB: Karimarra.

JC: You’re Karimarra.

CB: Same as Tjungurrayi and yeah. [Laughs]

JC: How does that? Do you know how they flip over? With the eight and the four … so that Karimarra
that’s a Tjungurrayi and ...

CB: Tjungurrayi yeah.

JC: Karimarra is Tjungurrayi and which one? You know how there’s ...

CB: [XX – Jarartu?] Jarartu, you talking about Walapayi.

KD: Is it male/female?

CB: Eh? No, no. That’s skin colour. Desert, they different. They say different way. Different way of saying it, but it’s the same word what they mean.

JC: Yeah, yeah, but I’m just thinking like …

KD: Milangka is Nakarra so Jakarra?

CB: Yuwayi [yes] and Jampijin. Jampijin.

KD: They said I’m Milangka, I’m Nakarra.

CB: Yu [yes], Milangka and Jampijin. Yeah, you know what they call, ah whatsaname mob, um Walmajarri [language group] mob or that side, what they call em, that Balgo mob, Kukatja [language group] mob call it, yeah.

JC: Yeah, see that way, Balgo mob got eight skins so …

CB: All mean the same thing, but different way of saying it.

JC: Yeah, but like so Milangka is Tjakamarra, Nampitjin, Tjampitjin, but you know what Purungu is?

CB: Purungu, ah I don’t know Purungu.

KD: Jangarti.

JC: Jangarti.

CB: I don’t know Purungu. I don’t know that one. But Walapayi, he know.

JC: Yeah, I’ll ask him. Because I don’t fully understand which one is which, I only know Milangka.

KD: Yeah, Milangka, yeah, like Jakarra, Nakarra.

CB: Yu [yes] Jakarra, yu.

KD: Jakarra, Japanangka.

CB: Japanangka is like me, yu [yes].

KD: Purungu.

CB: No, no. Like people on that side, me, like a Japanangka they call me or Tjungurrayi they call me if I go
that side.

KD: Japanangka or Tjungurrayi? That’s different.

CB: Yu [yes]. Japanangka is like the way they call me, the different way they call ‘em that side.

JC: Japanagka, Tjungurrayi for Karimarra.

CB: Yu [yes], Karimarra Tjungurrayi, yu, that’s one same colour, me.

JC: So, Japanangka Napanangka is the same, male/female is irrelevant.

CB: Yeah. Like the old man Milangka well that side they might call you oh Jampijin.

JC: No, Nampitjin.

CB: Nampijin they call ‘em Jampijin like same thing. Like one old fella name is a Jampijin.

JC: N is for female and TJ is for male. [Note: Interviewer references TJ here because he speaks some Kukatja. However, in the orthographies of Manyjilyjarra and Martu languages the usage is J.]

KD: That’s what I’m saying that Nakarra and Nampitjin are the same.

JC: The same. In Martu.

CB: Yuwo [yes], Milangka. Milangka yu [yes], like Milangka I call ‘em niece or Mummy, I call em, me.

KD: But they’re not the same in Kukatja, so ...

JC: No, not at all.

CB: See different way they call em that side. Different way they call em. See, you have a look there Walapayi and Tjungurrayi, they two brothers. They got the same colour but see, they call him Tjungurrayi because he went that side. He went to that place, what they say? What that...

JC: [XX – indecipherable]

CB: No that way, that way … Lajamanu. Well Tjungurrayi they still the same because Walapayi was saying, ‘I’m a Jarurra [Jungkurra?] me. I’m one Jarrurta. I never change my name.’ He been tell that he went that way, he came back a Nungurrayi, ah a Tjungurrayi. Yu [yes] and he was saying that the other day. You been hear him? Yeah.

KD: So you were saying Nakarra is Milangka, so what does Nakarra call Jampijin?

JC: Granny.

CB: Ah, I’m not sure ‘cause that’s a different way that side. [Laughs]

KD: Yeah, but I’m just wondering why they’re grouped like that.

JC: Um, maternal grandparents.

CB: Must be … granny … yu [yes].

JC: Must be Tjungurrayi maybe. What do you call them? Uncle?

CB: No, brother! Them two they the same colour.

JC: It’s too hard.

CB: It’s too hard.

KD: So that’s the four main ones there.

CB: That’s the four main ones, that’s the Ngurra [Country] there, all the Ngurra there yuwo [yes]. Yuwo.


Source: CSROH_17A_Clifford_Brooks
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Clifford Brooks; © FORM, transcript only

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.


Story:They killed that jila for that water Kulyayi. They found him at his own waterhole and killed him. My people always used to see him outside the waterhole. Long time ago. We went there lately and I saw that there was hardly any water. Only little bit, enough for birds to drink. Before it was big. Water was full. They were looking for water at Kulyayi. They dug down and found that snake. Kartiya [white people] shot it. They killed him, poor thing. They killed him and ate him just like ordinary meat. (Milkujung Jewess James, Ngumpan, 2007)

My grandmother was telling me story. She was a young girl and big mob of people were coming back from walkabout. Then they saw kartiya. He chopped that head off for kalpurtu [rainbow serpent]. He gave them that kalpurtu to eat. “Eat it! That’s meat,” kartiya say. “No, we can’t eat it,” [the people said]. “Oh, it’s no good, it’s not your meat [to kill]!” (Jukuna Mona Chuguna, 2009)

Well, people felt empty when he was gone. They can’t come back. They moved away. Animals moved away. People, animals, they’re connected. When they took that snake out, they made that place out of balance. (Lloyd Kwilla, Wangkatjungka, 2009)

At Kulyayi, which became Well 42, history and the Jukurrpa irrevocably collided. The ‘great rainbow snake’ Kulyayi was killed, either by Canning’s well sinking party or by one of the reconditioning teams. During the excavation of the well, Kulyayi was said to have risen up in anger, and was shot dead.

Some early accounts describe Kulyayi being destroyed finally with explosives. Others, like the accounts above, epitomise the extent of the cultural clash. Kulyayi was a powerful rainbow serpent but he had also walked the earth as a man. The well team not only treated him like an animal but tried to feed him to his family.

Media Creator:Clifford Brooks

Media date: 2007
Story Location: Kulyayi (Well 42)

Media Description:Kulyayi (Well 42)

Story contributor(s):Milkujung Jewess James, Jukuna Mona Chuguna, Lloyd Kwilla, Monique La Fontaine

Art Centre(s): Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency, Ngurra Artists
Publisher: FORM
Media copyright: Clifford Brooks
Accession ID:20131024_FORM_MIRA_B0097_0001

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.


Non-Indigenous name: Well 49

Native title area: Ngurarra determination
Well data: 1906 quality: Excellent

1906 total depth (m): 15

Current total depth (m): 10

Current quality of well: Refurbished 2001

Current quality of water: Clear. Drinking quality. Test before consumption

Current depth to water: 5

Current depth of water: 5.3

Total dissolved salts (ppm): 440

PH level: 7.7

PH level date: 2007
Related art centre(s): Other

Media title: Well 49
Media creator: Clifford Brooks
Date: 2007

Media description: Country near Well 49
Media Copyright: Clifford Brooks
Format: Image
Accession ID: FORM_MIRA_B0088_0034

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.


Non-Indigenous name: Well 46
Historical name: Kuduarra

Place description: Sergeant Richard Henry Pilmer was well known to Aboriginal people in the Kimberley for having dispensed a bloody form of ‘justice’ there during the 1890s. Along the Canning Stock Route he left a similarly bloody mark over the summer of 1911 - 1912.

Pilmer had been despatched from Perth on a ‘punitive expedition’ to find the men responsible for the deaths of drovers Shoesmith, Thompson and ‘Chinaman’ who had met their deaths at Well 37. Although he made no arrests on this expedition, Pilmer killed at least 10 people at Wells 31, 35 and 46. Pilmer’s own accounts of the number dead vary.

In 1934 a journalist who had access to his now lost 1911 journal described several killings that were omitted from Pilmer’s official report and later book, 'Northern Patrol'.

The most exciting and most disastrous incident of the whole journey happened … at Well No 46. The men were whiling away their time … when they were suddenly attacked by a band of 25 aborigines. Fourteen aborigines formed an advance party and, each armed with two whackaburras, they came running down a gravelly slope towards the camp … The invaders had reached the camp but were not close enough to use their weapons when the police opened fire. Six natives fell dead inside the camp while another was killed about 20 yards away. Three were wounded but they escaped with the others who immediately took to their heels. (West Australian, 22 November 1934)

By the time Northern Patrol was published in the 1940s, the number of Pilmer’s attackers had swelled from 25 to between 60 and 70.

Native title area: Ngurarra determination
Well data: 1906 quality: Excellent

1906 total depth (m): 6

Current total depth (m): 6

Current quality of well: Refurbished 2005

Current quality of water: Clear, no smell. Marginal drinking quality. Test before consumption

Current depth to water: 2.9

Current depth of water: 2.7

Total dissolved salts (ppm): 1045

PH level: 8.2

PH level date: 2007
Related art centre(s): Other

Media title: Kujuwarri (Well 46)
Media creator: Clifford Brooks
Date: 2007

Media description: Photograph of Well 46
Media Copyright: Clifford Brooks
Format: Image
Accession ID: FORM_MIRA_B0088_0033

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.


Non-Indigenous name: Well 43
Historical name: Billowaggi

Traditional knowledge: We used to walk until we came to the Canning Stock Road. At the stock road we speared bullocks. That was where they travelled on the Canning Stock Road along the wells to Kulyayi [Well 42] to Katajilkarr [Well 43] from there on to Kujuwarri [Well 46]. That¹s where they used to spear bullocks, my father and Kuji [Rosie Goodjie’s] father. (Mayapu Elsie Thomas, 2008)

Alright, twobella [two people] been bring ‘em word now: "Kartiya there."
"What kartiya?" them old people been say.
"Kartiya got a white-one, red-one [skin]".
"What he got ‘em?"
"Oh, we’ll have to go [and follow them]."
That well there, Katajilkarr, we been come here, have ‘em dinner that side. Little lake, water there, little one. Mebella [we] been drink there, water, and look ‘em [boot] track.
"Oh, different foot! I don’t know what! Devil."
Look ‘em well. Nothing, no kartiya. All gone.
(Kurtiji Peter Goodijie, 1987)

When drovers were taking cattle down south, they had Aboriginal blokes working with them as stockmen and cooks and camel riders. The workers were telling the people about food, all different kinds that the kartiya was bringing. Flour like ashes. That was what they were telling them. And tea they were boiling in billycans. When it boiled, they chucked sugar in. It was good food, they were telling them. That’s why people kept going to them. (Kurrapa Peter Skipper, 1991)

Native title area: Ngurarra determination
Well data: 1906 quality: Good stock

1906 total depth (m): 6

Current quality of well: Caved in

Current quality of water: High tannin, no smell

Current depth to water: 1.1

Current depth of water: Trace

Total dissolved salts (ppm): 4125

PH level: 7.4

PH level date: 2007
Related art centre(s): Other

Media title: Katakiljarr
Media creator: Clifford Brooks
Date: 2007

Media description: Ruins of Well 43 and landscape at Katakiljarr
Media Copyright: Clifford Brooks
Format: Image
Accession ID: FORM_MIRA_B0088_0031

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.


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