Name: Jukuja Dolly Snell
Jukuja Dolly Snell - Mulan, hiding from kartiya, and painting [ORAL HISTORY]
Synopsis: Dolly Snell tells how she was born in Kurtal and walked up to Mulan where there were no houses. She talks about how her mother told to hide from white men in a creek bed, and also told her she couldn't eat the sheep of white men. She then talks about how she started painting when she moved to Fitzroy Crossing. Dolly finishes by telling how you have to light a fire when going to Kurtal to let jila know you're coming.
Language spoken: Wangkajunga
Catalogue number: CSROH_51_Jukuja_Dolly_Snell
Interviewed By: John Carty
Translated By: Putuparri Tom Lawford
Recorded by: Carly Davenport
Location Recorded: Fitzroy Crossing
Cultural Protocols: Public Access - Restrictions on Use
Notes: The original recording of this oral history is damaged.
Full transcript: Jukuja Dolly Snell: Yeah, I was born at Kurtal. My parents kept us there, me and my three brothers. I only had three brothers. The oldest passed away at Kupartiya. He was the boss of that jila [spring] Kurtal, and the other two, they finished up here in Fitzroy [Crossing]. Then we left Kurtal, my mother, me and my oldest brother. We left them other mob behind. My other mother was looking after them. We camped half way in the morning, we set off again.
There was no house at Mulan then. My mother took us to Jalyiwan, a place not far from where Mulan is now. My mother told me, ‘daughter there’s a whitefella on a horse coming!’ I ran and hid in a creek bed. My mother was still sitting there. After he left she went and got me from my hiding place, telling me, ‘He’s gone now, that man, let’s keep walking’. We went to Pankupiti. There was a big camp there with people. They were looking after cattle and sheep. I told my mother, ‘Can you kill that animal with woolly hair?’ It was a sheep. That animal that goes ‘maaaa, maaaa’. ‘Can you kill that for me Mum? I’m hungry.’ ‘I won’t kill it,’ she said, ‘it belongs to the white man. No.’ ‘But I’m hungry!’ I said. She said, ‘No. I am taking you away.’
We went north and we arrived at Balgo in the afternoon. We stayed at Balgo for a while, a good while. After that we took off again heading west. We came to Warnku. My mother, my brother and I. We camped there. In the morning my sister Woggagia gave me a digging stick. She told me, ‘Let’s go digging for bush tucker, mangarri [food] called mulaynpa.’ ‘What is mulaynpa?’ I said. ‘See that tree over there? That’s mulaynpa [an edible root],’ she said. We dug up plenty that day. My sister said, ‘Let’s go to Sturt Creek. There’s plenty of tucker there at Sturt Creek. There’s a big water there.’ We were collecting bush tucker around the water’s edge. After collecting enough we went back to Warnku. After a while we left Warnku and went to a place called Putalja. From Putalja we went to Louisa Downs.
We stayed at Louisa for a while until a man called Billy Cox came. He said, ‘Who are you mob and where did you mob come from?’ He was speaking in English. We didn’t know what he was talking about because we couldn’t understand. There was only a few of us ladies and two man who walked into Louisa Downs Station. We had no English then. We came in from the bush. Billy Cox gave us rations and we went walking towards Kupartiya. We stayed at Kupartiya and that kartiya [white person] gave us jobs. We stayed and worked there. We were looking after the goats and milking them and we took them goats to old Kupartiya. We kept them there for a while and then we took them back to Kupartiya. After a while that manager left the station. We all then went to Kurungal [Christmas Creek, Wangkatjungka]. We stayed there for good.
We worked there in the station doing anything for the white man. I was working in the stock camps. My brother told me, ‘I’m going back to Kupartiya.’ My other two brothers were with us at Kurungal. That was the last time I saw my brother. He died at Kupartiya a while after. We all moved to Fitzroy then. I’m living here now. I never went back to Kurungal. I came here for good. In Fitzroy we started to paint. I paint my Country that I left in the bush. Daisy Andrews and I were the first two to start painting. We went to school. These mob here are painting now. We were the first ones to paint. I paint my Country my jila [Kurtal, a permanent spring inhabited by an ancestral snake being]. We took our kids to Kurtal not long ago. We showed them the jila. They saw it for the first time. These mob that go in the front are Tom Lawford and Spider [Snell].
They are the boss for that jila now.
When you go there you have to light a fire so that jila [Kurtal] can know you’re coming. He smells that smoke and he knows that people are coming to visit him. Well, Spider taught everybody for Kurtal. Kartiya [white people], and all our kids, and everybody. Them three now, Tom Lawford, Tommy May and Spider, they are the boss. They taught all our kids and other people. They’re the ones who light that fire to let the jila [ancestral snake being which inhabits Kurtal] know we coming. He’s not cheeky. He’s quietened down now. You can go and camp there on top the sand hill, and you can see that jila down the bottom. You can camp at Kutukutu [the name of two sandhills]. There’s two Kutukutu there. One on this side and the other on that side and the water in the middle.
Nyamu [finished] now.
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Jukuja Dolly Snell; © 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.