Name: Billy Patch (Mr P)
Billy Patch (Mr P) - Ullalla Boss, Wally Dowling, John Forrest, Kumpupirntily [ORAL HISTORY]
Synopsis: Mr P talks about growing up with Ullalla Boss. Was picked up by Wally Dowling at Kunwarritji (Well 33), some of his family were stockmen with Dowling. He travelled with the stockmen to and from Billiluna before going back to his mother in Kunawarritji.
When he came to Wiluna Manga Margaret Long looked after him. They all went to Granite Peak, when Lena was a little one.
He talks about his uncle Peter Gogo and then Greg Mosquito (Kutukutu) from Balgo.
Mr P's Country is Kunawarritji and Yagga Yagga but he got married and lived in Wiluna.
He tells the story of John Forrest shooting people at Well 9, and how Martu were killed all over, in Kunawarritji too. They used to get Martu, Canning and his people, and tie them up, They would give them salt water and salt meat to make them thirsty so they would run to water, to find out where the well would be.
Bill Snell came later to fix the well, he liked Martu women, that's why they spear him.
Travelling past Kumpupirntily (Lake Disappointment) that would take spinifex and put it in the cattle's bells so it wouldn't make noise.
Language spoken: English
Catalogue number: CSROH_42_Billy_Patch
Interviewed By: John Carty, Monique La Fontaine
Transcribed By: John Carty
Recorded by: Monique La Fontaine
Location Recorded: Wiluna
Cultural Protocols: Public Access - Restrictions on Use
Notes: This transcript contains corrections and additional information given by Mr P. (Billy Patch) on 2008-09-26.
Full transcript: Billy Patch: Billy Patch, they call me. Short name is Mr P.
Monique La Fontaine: You want to tell us a little bit about when you were a little boy, and on the Canning Stock Route?
BP: I was a little boy and me and Geoffrey, Geoffrey Stewart and his mother was look after me, and my mother was – I don’t know, she was, I’m just a stock route baby. My mother was bit crippled, so she wouldn’t look after me, and from me and Geoffrey’s mother, me and him been playing round like a little kid, so I come this way and he went another way … and when I been come to my mother, and when they was travelling um, to drovin’, and my mother, mother, she didn’t, and my other family from Fitzroy [Crossing], they come. My family from Fitzroy/Halls Creek pick me up, when I was bout eight or nine. I just jumped on a … they put me on a camel, come all the way, all they way up down through Canning Stock Route … um I was enjoying myself, don’t know what going on. [Laughs]
So we come all the way up here, along the Canning Stock Route with bullock and cattle um… and round … I forgot that … Dowling, Wally Dowling. That’s the time I come on that ... first come up here on that camel, come up here, went to number, Number 1 [Well] up here. So we stopped there and another lot, um, all the workers, they look after all the cattle. Look after all the cattle and in the morning, in the morning before daybreak, when the day breaks they go to another well and we come with the camel behind. We come all the way and drover, they in the front with the cattle. They come all the way, cut another well and give it to … get the water for the cattle, and they give them a rest all day. Let him go and you know they stay round in the shade, 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 – they take it in turns – and then they go to, the other lot go and then this one. They gotta sing a song make ‘em go to sleep. And in the morning, they off to next well. I was only that little boy. [Laughs]
John Carty: Where did Wally Dowling pick you up?
BP: Right in Kunawarritji, [Well] 33.
JC: And some of your Fitzroy family, they were stockmen with Wally Dowling?
MLF: Who was that?
BP: Um, I couldn’t remember you know … some, the one in the book, they all finish in Balgo Mission and Halls Creek and … My family, I was only that little boy, just enjoying myself travelling. I never worried about my mother. But my mother was crying, ‘Where’s my little boy gone?’ I was here. And all them in number 2 – not number 2 – Number 1 [Well] over here ‘nother side [of] town in that stock yard over there … they just put all the cattle on the train… choo choo choo train … and from there another lot go on a truck, go back to … go back on the old truck and another lot, three, two… take the horse back. They take ‘em back and another lot they go right back to Halls Creek and another lot take the, take the camel back and they don’t do droving … they go back from, I forgot that, um – Mrs Doman …
JC: From Billiluna ?
BP: Yuwa [yes], they go back and another lot take that, two or three take that horse back, they used to have their own truck [to] take the workers back, right back to Billiluna – that was Mrs Doman. From there, right, we went back on the camel, right to [Well] 33, Kunawarritji, see my mother there. So they leave me there and then keep going all my ‘nother family. From there, we were sitting down there for a while waiting … I got used to my mother and family because I was too long this way. Later on we start walking back, palya [good]? Walking back … bring my family back here. Mother and a father and … last drove, yeah we walked all the way here, I was running around, not running around, me and my mother, station to Granite Peak and all that, Yiriyiti, so we went back, we walked all the way through Jilakurru and all that … We come to one place, I don’t know about, must be number… not Number 10 [Well], Number 12 [Well] or… we camped there, staying with my … oh we whole family travelling, little mob …
JC: Who was there?
BP: Brownie Brown, all the Browns, and um, Gibbs, yeah that … he had an eye out. We travelled this way, we bringing our whole mob, we leading this way, and ah … I went back, we went to Granite Peak, sit down there for a while, we … we trying to go back along the Canning Stock Route and the last drover they come around. Last drover. I don’t know who was … last drover…
JC: Mal Brown maybe?
BP: Must be, yeah, Mal. That was last, that’s from ngana [what’s the name], that’s from ngana there? Halls Creek or…
JC: Billiluna way…
BP: Yuwa [yes], and Mulan was nothing [didn’t exist], and old Balgo was there, with my family – we’re all scattered out from there, but I don’t know how I ended up here! [Laughs]
And we come up here and I lost … my father he found out to stop here working at Granite Peak and Yiriyiti from there, I was still running around, I run into Lena’s [Long] mother, Manga [Margaret Long], and she been looked after me then, because my mother was finished and I was lost. Went back to, oh in Granite Peak and all that and Lena was little one! I used to jump on the little horse … going mustering. I used to be in the back, and Lena on the [front] …
JC: She told us that story
BP: She been tell you? I’m in the back! … Manga was … all that, Manga been look after me and later on [Peter] Gogo come around, old man, my uncle … him and um, Lady [Stephens], old lady, Mum …
[Before Annette Williams was born her mother Sunshine and father (Dusty Stevens’ brother, deceased) came across a very young Mr P trying to ‘cart water’ to his dead mother, not realising that she had passed away. They took him and looked after him. Later Sunshine sent Mr P to Granite Peak Station where Manga Margaret Long was working and she looked after him. An expert horsewoman Manga carried newborn Lena in a carry-bag at the front ‘so she could get some titty’ while Mr P held on at the back of the horse. Later Peter Gogo and Lady Stevens picked Mr P up from Granite Peak and took him to Karalundi in Meekatharra where Gogo sent him to school.]
[Tape stops to avoid car noise.]
JC: You want to go back to Well 10 … start again, playa [good]?
JC: Start again, playa [good].
BP: Right. When I been come with my mother and father, they [whitefellas] been trying to bait for dingo, and our another dingo – quiet one – he eat the bait, he eat the bait and we don’t know what going on! We don’t know what poison is … old people, not me … I just enjoying playing around. And they’re crying and all that ‘What going on?’ Another one, when he finish, bit sad … when he been finish they end up cook it and had a feed.
You know where Number 10 [Well] is? We was gone then, gone to Number 9, Number 9, right, we went to Number 9 and Number 7, Number 7 Well. We seen old man coming, old Gogo, Peter, his family over there, my own uncle, coming with a horse and all … we gone, we was gone to Number 9 [Well] and he went up there and get that old Tilly [Gogo and Lady’s daughter]. You know that old Tilly? I met him all the time that old Gogo, my uncle. We was gone and Tilly was little one, then, Tilly Stephens. He come with a jeep. I don’t know where that jeep was going, he load us up and go to Granite Peak. I didn’t know what was going on, I can see these tree going whoosh, whoosh you know, I been put my head down! That’s the first time I see a tree going past, you know? We don’t know nothing! Anyhow, I enjoy sicking up and all that. We go Granite Peak … bit mixed story I’m telling … too many story I was…
MLF: You got a good lot …
JC: You right, we can straighten them out, you just keep talking, don’t worry.
BP: You know why? Because I was a, bit of … lost boy. Don’t know which way to go … till Manga [Margaret Long] been look after me, got too much … don’t know which way to go, because I was youngfella then, little boy, I just go where they look after me ...
JC: Where was Manga looking after you?
BP: Granite Peak, playa [good]? And later on …
MLF: Your uncle Gogo? Sorry can I just ask, he’s from Fitzroy? From Gogo Station?
BP: Yeah, when they been come, Gogo been come this way, last he come drovin’ and he stop here, you know all his brother over there in … um … three brothers they had, family all up there [in Fitzroy Crossing] …
JC: What’s those other two brothers?
BP: Um … I don’t know … anyhow, all them, when he used to stop in … where that place? Um … one community he been stop there, he passed away and I don’t know, I don’t know that name.
JC: It’s not … Spider Snell? No?
BP: Must be.
JC: And his brother, [Greg] Mosquito …?
BP: Eh? That’s his cousin.
BP: And you’re talking to … Yuwayi [yes], that’s my father … you know, stepfather …
BP: Yuwa [yes].
MLF: That old man? Your father?
BP: That’s my stepfather …
JC: Can you tell us that story?
BP: And he had my mother’s sister … old lady, you know all them Mosquito mob, well I’m their family ...
JC: Kutukutu [Greg Mosquito] …
BP: Kutukutu …
JC: Kutukutu grew me up in Balgo and all his kids are all my best mates in Balgo … Lincoln …
BP: That’s the one now … Lincoln he’s tall now …
JC: Yeah, when we took Clifford to Balgo after the CSR trip we stopped in the Mosquito camp, that’s where we stayed …
BP: That’s all my family.
JC: They told us! We’re waiting for you to tell us!
BP: I never see all them boys, all my brothers … they all, they all finish ... only Kutukutu. Mum finished [Muntja Mosquito]. That’s my mother’s sister.
JC: That old one in Balgo? She was your mother’s sister?
BP: Yuwa [yes]. I went up there for nearly six months and stayed with her, and when she passed away I went back for funeral. They put me on the Kingfisher plane!
JC: That Luurnpa.
BP: Yuwa [yes] … so I, I’m not … I never come from this end. I come from ‘nother end.
JC: So if you were to tell someone what’s your Country, what do you tell them?
BP: My Country’s Kunawarritji … and Yagga Yagga … my mum and old people, that’s their Ngurra [Country] now. Too long I come this … I come up here [Wiluna] and got married this end … so I just settle down with a family. I got three, four family here. From little boy … went to school, from Granite Peak to Yiriyiti. Old man Balgo and Gogo they trick me and make me to go school, so I went to school and him and old lady, they got married here when they was droving, you know old lady, Tilly’s mother, she come from that way. Droving down they got married here and she never go back. She was a cook. So end up … they find me, I’m lost boy, my mother passed away, they took me to station and put me into school. I’m bit of a [XX – cynical?] boy, what they call that?
MLF: Say him again?
BP: They call me bit of ‘cynical’ boy …
BP: Cynical … what they call? They look after me, and they look after me and this one … until Gogo find me and take me to station when my mother was finished. I leave all my two lot of sister back to … but they went to Jigalong. And we … um … when they come and they just meet one another that’s all … then we meet one another: ‘That’s your brother and sister,’ and we don’t know what … and so we just … I lost my sister and another sister was in [XX – Perth?] and, you know, my sister, Egan? Egan.
JC: Where she stop?
BP: He stop in [Well] 33, Kunawartiji. You know [Jeffrey James] he got his daughter …
JC: Ah, Marjorie? That’s his daughter for your sister. [Jeffrey James’ wife Marjorie is the daughter of Mr P’s sister Egan. Jeffrey James (JJ) passed away in 2008.]
BP: Yuwa [yes]. I never seen her, he been come this way, but they got frightened and went back Ngurra [Country] … they come up here.
JC: Did Wompi come this way?
BP: Nah, he went back [to Balgo] and got married. They went back before they get him to go to Perth, school. They went back, they went back - they got frightened not to go to school. Same stock route, they went back in the camel and we meet … one in Fitzroy, no not in Fitzroy, in Balgo … so we spread out.
JC: Who was that one in Balgo?
BP: That’s mum now, Mosquito mob, that’s all the family now. And they must be thinking he’s the oldest - I’m the oldest here! Kutukutu must be thinking he’s the oldest - I’m the oldest! [Laughs]
JC: We’ll have to take this … take it to Balgo and show it to Kutukutu … he can see you.
BP: And his wife …
JC: Gracie …
BP: Gracie now …
MLF: You haven’t seen her for a long time?
BP: I never seen … I only seen all them boys …
JC: We’ll show him.
BP: You just gotta tell him, ‘Oh who’s this?’
MLF: Say hello! Hello Greg and Gracie!
BP: Hello Gracie! They might be think, ‘Oh, who that? You know him?’ ‘He come from Wiluna.’ Yeah … I end up working and went to farm before I got married. I went schooling first and from there I been come back and got married and got family and every time they ring up from Balgo. ‘I’m not going back.’ He got his family, I got my own family. [Laughs] Palya [good]?
Oh I been just travelling round and when I had a family I just travelled around and do farming and shearing and do a little bit of this to keep the family going. Work for mirrka [food] and all. And that … there is a long way, but next time you write him down on paper, little book …
JC: Yuwa [yes], we’re gonna put him in a book
BP: You know what? My mother just make me walk, because she crippled, made me walk from … walk all the way … she can’t put [me] up.
JC: Too weak.
BP: Too weak and crippled … so I got to start walking, walk all the way. We went to where
Lena was talking about, where that whitefella they been spear him, [laughs] we went to that place.
JC: Tell me that story.
BP: We walked from there, nah we were walking from Number 10 [Well]… and we don’t know, ‘Oh that one’s finished’. We walking there to soak in there, soak in there, soak, um we stayed there, but he was finished.
JC: Who was that fella?
BP: Um ... I don’t know him much …
MLF: Was that too late?
JC: … Another fella … where was this, which place you thinking?
BP: That … what Lena been …
JC: Same story … that fella, that dogger … Wilkins …
BP: Palya [good] now, that’s the one…
JC: He was getting funny with a Martu woman…
BP: Yuwo [yes], and [XX] father, the leader – pshoo [killed him] - and you know where they catch him? When they finish that um, cattle dog there, I don’t know how many cattle dog he had, camel and all … they walked right to the – I don’t know where that soak, Country … this side ngana [which place?] …
JC: Which well is it near?
BP: Coming up to… um, where to? Somewhere around Yurtu ….
JC: Another story we’ve been wondering about is that, you were talking about when you to … were walking down you came through Well 9, you know like Weld Springs, couple of people said kartiya [white people] been put that stone wall there and he was shooting people, he was shooting at the Martu, do you know that story?
MLF: And burn them …
BP: That’s in … where now … Kunawarritji and this side, that’s John, John Forrest …
JC: Yeah, that’s the one. Did you hear that story from the old people?
BP: No … yeah I did. Right in Kunawarritji, he done all that.
JC: What did they tell you?
JC: What did the old people tell you about that?
BP: Oh, that’s right, I just … Number 9 [Well].
MLF: You got him …
JC: That’s the one, John Forrest was Number 9.
BP: Yes, sorry.
JC: No, you’re right.
BP: I went too fast.
MLF: You’re travelling all the way along that Canning Stock Route …
BP: They just go in … they just went hunting and all that … and he went out there – must be bout in the morning or dinnertime … and built all that, built that …
JC: That fort.
BP: Yuwa [yes] … and they had a soak that was that way and he just built all that before they come back, must be in the morning, and he … sitting down there. Right up … no, bit in the afternoon when kids, you know when the old people come? Old people come with the man in the front with the spear and all that, with marlu [kangaroo] and all that – that’s bad. He shoot all that.
Another lot come in from this end or this end, only the one soak was there, tjurnu [soakwater], they gotta come in from … to have a drink, yuwa [yes], all the time. And he had a horse in the … he had a horse in the thing. He tied that horse – if anyone come around on the other side that horse gotta make a noise, isn’t it? And he’ll turn around and shoot ‘em. Oh it’s sad. That … that place is sad. Kids and all. Never let nobody out – kill right through – kids and all.
JC: I never understood; how come he was shooting people?
JC: I never understood; how come that bloke Forrest was shooting people?
BP: Look here …
JC: How come he was shooting them?
JC: How come he was shooting them?
BP: I don’t know … he want this … Australia.
MLF: Hmmm … yeah phew …
BP: Palya [good]? He want to kill every Martu in this place. You go to station out here, phew, finish. You go to Number 9 [Well], he’s finish. You go to Windida, to all that station, all finish. Putijarra [language group] all them. You go to … um … where that place? This side, Sandfire, that’s the same there, when the people walk in there, you know – Martu walk in there to have a drink, he finish all that. Just like in Number 9 [Well] and just like in here. And I don’t know how he been done it, I reckon that he had a law to kill all ... You go to Perth, that ngana [what’s-that-place] … river or all over that. You go to south, he kill all that. Oh on the boat anyhow … fight for his Country and they just: bang. That’s all them Noongar mob got him now, right along. And he kill all my family in Kunawarritji, [Well] 33 and way out there where Sandfire is.
JC: What’s that story from Kunawarritji? We didn’t hear that one, nobody’s been talking, they’ve been waiting for you. We didn’t hear that story about people being killed near Kunawarritji. Can you tell us what you remember from the old people?
BP: Same thing. That’s the same story what I’m telling you now, at Number 9. You know
where that hill is? All that, they went out. Every time they come for a drink, kids and that, he shoot all that. So the old people said.
MLF: John Forrest again?
BP: Yeah. And I don’t know where the … which side he been burn all that. He made a lot of waru [fire] in that … kids got … man and woman … he burn all that.
JC: So nobody would know.
BP: Nobody would know. That’s the story what the old people was telling. My grand-grand-grand-grandfather, all finished there. True. Same with that other lot … all right along. That’s bad.
JC: Did you hear any stories about Canning? You know he was putting that stock route in, putting the wells, other people have different stories about what he did. Did all the old people tell you any stories about meeting Canning or that mob?
BP: Can I have smoke? No, no, he’s mad … that one you been … he done the same again.
BP: Mmm. That’s two. I think he done it first. I got a … they was telling me. That’s … he one of them too.
JC: He got charged … the cook … on the … when he was putting the wells in, 1900, 100 years ago, the cook from that expedition when he came back he told the judge in Perth, he said Canning was … some of those men they were rough with the Martu and they were stealing the women …
BP: That’s right now.
JC: They were putting the wells and ruining people’s water places and they had a big court
case, big court case - Royal Commission - and they put him on trail to find out the truth but the other man, the man who stood in the trial and spoke up for Canning was John Forrest and he said, ‘Nah, he didn’t do anything wrong ... that’s the right what he did.’
BP: That’s the one now what we talking about.
JC: That’s why that story’s interesting, because this man, John Forrest, he became the boss
of Western Australia, he became the first Premier … he stood up for Canning …
BP: And this one here … that one there, Canning, he done all that. Sorry, I done a mistake…
JC: No that … might be both
BP: And you know what? I’ll tell you. Right, they been getting all the black people, you know how they done it? Along that Canning Stock Route. Full story I’ll tell you. They get mob, they tie him up, tie him up. One by one they let him go. No water, just the salt water. They let him go and they follow him, to see where that well is…
JC: They make them thirsty and then follow…
BP: Yuwo [yes]. True. They leave him ‘nother lot in there. They let him go, till they find that rockhole, they make a well there. And they grab ‘em in the desert they grab ‘em and put him in, no water, starve him and just salt water and just give him … they gone. That’s how they been find him bore … right through.
That’s true I’m talking? Or …
JC: That’s true, that’s what they said in that court case. Canning said, ‘Yeah, we did that’ he said ‘that’s the only way we could find water so, that’s OK…’
BP: That’s what I’m telling you, true.
JC: It’s not OK …
BP: No, old people telling me.
JC: Mularr [true].
BP: Mularrpa [true], right. They tell me, I sit down with old people and they talk about it … you know them old well and all this … that one now. They wouldn’t [XX] you know that well over there Kukupanyu [Well 39]? He’s not far from there, who took him up there? Martu, they took him up there, they just follow him behind and where he got the water, water there. Righto, next one. They starve him and give him water, salty water, and all that’s how they find him. All the way. I been hearin’ lotta story on that. All that.
TAPE: SIDE B
JC: Sorry, say that … start that one again, go again …
BP: Nah, you know when they get … they let him go, they turn around and follow him up and shoot him. It was bad story.
[Talking to kids.] That’s my ‘nother grandchildren … ‘nother one there …
You know what, when they was doing like this … camel and all. Any black … any Martu they just put him in and stop him for drink, only salt. That’s how they been find him all the way up there through Canning Stock Route. ‘Long there. Another … and that one … old um, my grandmother she got a name through her, through him [Canning] … my grandmother, that old … my grandmother.
MLF: Which name?
BP: Um, she passed away.
MLF: What name she been get through him?
BP: Um … same??
JC: Is that for GB [Georgina Brown] mob?
JC: For GB, her family?
BP: Yuwa [yes]. And that’s what they call my grandpop, my grandnanna, grandmum, she got her name through that. From Kunawarritji and right up … and Peter, you know, and every time we go to Jigalong and we call … but she passed away that’s my grandmother. And her name is Jeanette. That’s her name, I found out the other day in Jigalong. And they call him … anyway they give him a name now, Jeanette, my grandmother. Been listen round over there and … that’s all that now. Sad story. They just leave starve for … give ‘em a little bit of feed and all this and no good water, salty water – they mix that water they been give ‘em - we were starving for drink. They let one out, he’ll be running for his life to get a drink. And the one with the horse, they’ll follow his track too … ‘Oh that’s the rockhole here, soak here’. That’s right through. They was telling me. I sit down with the old people. Do you know how that stock route, Canning Stock Route? They gotta go around this way and that’s a soak there – and go there. They never made it straight through. They was following Martu around. And they go and mess around with the Martu and keep going again. They don’t care a stuff.
JC: They couldn’t make that Canning Stock Road without the Martu.
BP: No, nothing. They were starving ‘em. True. I sit down and listen to old people. I never forget them. True. And they were doing bit of shooting too, when they was going. They don’t care what losses. True. I sit down and listen to some Fitzroy mob and this end … I just sit down and listen.
JC: What about … You get different stories about Wally Dowling, some good stories and some bad stories. What kind of, you knew him cause you were travelling with him as a youngfella, what was he like?
BP: He bit the same like him [Canning/Forrest].
JC: Got any stories from that side?
BP: I don’t know … Wally Dowling he was by himself and all the workers from Billiluna and he can’t say nothing … you ask them … so he bit, I don’t know … but that … I don’t know … don’t ask me for that …
JC: Yuwa [yes], he right …
MLF: Turn him off?
BP: You ask me I’ll give you answer, but …
MLF: I want to ask about Bill Snell, you know that bloke, fixing up those wells in the 50s or something …
JC: ... and then he stopped and he was living on the stock route …
BP: Yeah, that’s what he done. He want this Number 10 [Well] and … [Well] 11. Right to Number 15 … in’t it? Number 15, that’s his one, from there to back to this way. But I can’t … Bill … the one you’re talking about now, I don’t like him much. He gone … you know … he like a black woman too – Martu woman. That’s why they been spear him. Lena-ku [Lena’s] father been spear him. He bit cunning: that’s one, two, three. Don’t ask me. Only three old people, you know? I sit down and listen. You know when they’re drinking? ‘Oh he been …’ all that … I don’t know!
MLF: Was that … dogger bloke or ... ?
JC: That was Wilkins.
BP: He had cattle, he try to make a station out there … yeah.
JC: That’s Snell.
[Tape stops for a moment to wait for video tape swap]
JC: You were just talking about Snell, who had that … was trying to run some cattle up there …
BP: He trying to run cattle but old man there, old man Peter Gogo, old man? He had some cattle in there. So he got him to show him the soak and all that, so he was going half share with old man, Gogo - Peter. And that old man, Peter Gogo, he went same way, he bit of dogger too, old man he like travelling to Yiriyiti, Granite Peak to Number 6 [Well] when he come back and he had a look ‘Oh …’ all them, Lena’s father and all the family been … you know every morning he just go out … and they got sick of it, they spear him then. You know how … they just hide that gun and … (I forgot that …) ‘Right we’ll catch him.’ They went to get all the women, Martu woman, go and get camel and come back. But they been think ‘Oh, righto, righto. ’ He had a tent and he, they get that gun. Gun, they went up there and hide ‘em. And he don’t know that, he don’t know what going on. They just killed him, with a spear. He was running for … he was running for… he was running for the gun, but they got him. He went in there and ‘Oh shit!’ Got him right there. He never pull ‘em out, he just looking for gun. Gun was hiding long way. So he was finished [dead]. After that, cattle dog and them and they just gone. Somewhere … their Country that way they was goin’, they was goin’ that way. And old man come round, old man Peter Gogo come round. He just all the crow, all the crow and the cattle dog there eating it. Yuwa [yes], ngarlu [crow], crow there, nobody there, they hang him up in the tree. They was gone. They went all the way up there to Granite Peak to ring up to the police. They went with the jingana [XX], horse and cart. Early days. Got his body, I don’t know where the body is, they bring him all they way up here, I don’t know where he is, must be up here. So they got the police to follow them all the way to the soak, right to desert. They had a one black … Martu tracker, you know Tony? Not Tony, Tom? Tom Ingebong …
JC: Ah … he was working the station out there too?
BP: Nah, he stop at Blue Hill, that’s his Ngurra [Country] there. They get him to track them, track em all the way out there to desert. Somewhere around … ah … their Country, they went back. You know what they done? They was making noise, enjoying themselves, they were home in Country. You know what, all them policemen they went right around with a horse, so one made a noise looking for another mate horse … seen the policeman there, policemen there ... they look, see. Tie him up, they had a long chain. You know where they been turn from there? Right to here [Wiluna]. Can’t go toilet, they gotta make toilet right in the … that’s bad.
JC: So who did they pick up in those chains?
BP: This was … I forgot all that name.
JC: Whose family?
BP: Lena’s family. Then … I forgot all that name. All Lena’s family anyhow, her family anyhow.
JC: Can I say the names?
BP: Go on.
JC: Is that like Malloora, Yalyalyi …
BP: Yeah, Lalilali ... he done his time for that. He the one been spear …
JC: Which name?
BP: Lalilali. He the one that done it, he done that when he was young fella; he come back … he was pretty old.
MLF: When he come back from jail?
JC: They sent him to Fremantle eh?
BP: Fremantle he was sitting down. He nearly done it about, oh when he was young fella, he came back old. He must’ve been about 20 or 30, come back about 70. And he went ... went to Karntili then, got married then come back here then ... that’s all the family now, they was all right along from Yiriyiti and … that’s her place. You know Timmy Long? Timmy? That’s all their Country now. Manga, all them, um Kadabil [family] that’s all their Country now.
JC: Jigalong side now?
BP: Yuwayi [yes], but they went to Jigalong but they belong to here. So we supporting them, that’s their Country. My Country long way. I was a wanderer boy! Ha ha.
JC: It would have been nice if you had been on the trip when we were at Kunawarritji …
BP: Yuwayi [yes] – I would have been pointing out to you – this one and this one… Ngurra [Country] there, camp here. That’s part of my ‘nother place - Savory Creek.
JC: Going in for Kumpupirntily [Lake Disappointment].
BP: Yuwayi [yes] … Not me, that’s belong to, what I been lost, passed away, my little brother. That’s all that Country now and he’s Ngayurnangalku [cannibals] there …
JC: We went past there, we camped close – it’s a hard place.
BP: You know, when they’re travelling from north. They just take all the spinifex and put him in there [in the horse/cattle bell] – no noise. Only bullock can make a noise ‘Booo’ … they tell us, ‘Don’t make a … don’t make a fire’. You know, ‘Don’t make a spinifex light’ you know, otherwise Ngayurnangalku [cannibals] will be making a fire again. Yeah. Giving a sign.
What else … you ask me? I’ll tell you a story that I only learn from old people you know … sit down and listening, all that in Jigalong … all the Watson and all them I sit down … that’s all my brother. We just sit down and … all the Watson and all them. Watsons, we just sit down, all my sister, and we just sit down. I’ll look after you, yeah. We all born in Kunawarritji and all that, through Punmu and all that and we sit down, ‘Oh that’s my Country’. ‘Oh nah, wiya [no]. I’m boss too.’ ‘Yeah alright’. We don’t, you know, ever have a row, growling for Country, that’s brother and sister Country. He’ll say, ‘That’s mama-ku [father’s]. Mama-ku ngurra [father’s Country], don’t growl’. And my sister they don’t say all that, sisters, Watson and all them. Old one, the one you been tape that’s my little sister …
MLF: Which one?
BP: The one been painting um…
JC: Which one Sheila, Annette, Vera..?
MLF: From Kunawarritji?
BP: Yuwa [yes]. Vera, init [isn’t it], you know. How she been look, picture there in the book, paper … no he right, I just had a look …
JC: You were saying there was something in this book – the ‘Wiluna’ book – is there something … anything in there either for you or ...
BP: I’ll just have a look … there’s some in here but …
JC: Hang on, I’ll show you the Canning Stock Route section, it’s more at the back … [pages turning] There’s people … there’s Wally Dowling there, that’s two people I don’t know …
BP: That’s … that’s my … there, and that’s his son … my step-mother …
JC: This one now? Can I say the name?
BP: Yuwa [yes].
JC: It says … it says that there’s Anthony Patching …
BP: Yuwa [yes].
JC: And Buddy Patching …
BP: Yuwo [yes].
JC: That’s where you got the name Patch.
BP: That’s a mother now…
JC: That’s your mother?
BP: Yuwo [yes].
BP: Step-mother… this one.
JC: Wara [look out] … that’s page 447 of the ‘Wiluna’ book
BP: ... And that’s my little step brother over there, he in Karratha … and another one here somewhere … two old people in here somewhere … that’s around here … that’s from before [pages turning] must be in that nother …
JC: Might be in another book.
BP: Another book-nkga [XX]. That’s her …
JC: Where was she living? That says Granite Peak Station … she was there?
BP: Yuwo [yes]. Do you know this one here, you know um Kutukutu?
JC: Mmm, that looks like his mum, doesn’t it?
BP: That’s his sister… Kutukutu-ku [Kutukutu’s] sister
BP: … Kutukutu-ku mother, that’s two sister now.
JC: Mularrpa [true]!
BP: Yuwa [yes].
JC: She looks like her … young one.
BP: She the older ... than, nah, she the older … mum is the oldest, mum the oldest the one in Balgo … no she the one … You don’t know?!
JC: You learnt us a lot! I’ve been trying to think and trying to put together a lot of these stories people been talking about and a lot of what you’re telling us brings it all together…
BP: That’s … she come this way and then another mum went that way, Kutukutu-ku. So she come this way … that … oh you know how them old people was, they getting married with the old people and all that and he had that old bloke um, old man over there, old man Mosquito … there’s all the family now.
And ‘nother one, I’m in there me and my brother, might be in another book …
BP: Yeah, one like this. When I was youngfella.
JC: This is a book about Meekathara … might be in there …
MLF: When you was kids there’s a photo of you and your brother?
BP: Yeah … when I was coming this way and she was, she was … before we born, she was …
MLF: Before you were born?
BP: Yuwa [yes], before we born … oh, I must have been born before … from his sister, my mother, but she the one, the one … my picture in there somewhere when I was little youngfella …
BP: Thing was right … no he must be in there … no she must be in there.
MLF: Your mother … stepmother in that book now, she was your mother’s sister, your crippled mother’s sister?
MLF: Right …
JC: ... And also sister for Kutukutu’s mother …
BP: Yuwa [yes] … they were sister, nother sister. They all scattered.
… another mother had a family over there, she had six, old mum [Muntja Mosquito]. That’s Kutukutu and two brother we been lost, three, only Kutukutu and another youngfella that’s from six, she had six …
MLF: Why’s she in this book with Wally Dowling?
JC: She was … not with Wally … she was at Granite Peak Station. [Sound of engine, tractor] What’s that?
BP: It’s for mosquito …
JC: Oh true … oh that’s good, we gonna get sick if we breathe that air?
BP: Yeah they go Bondini … they go reserve and right around, round the town …
MLF: Wow … I seen this smoke before … I’m thinking hey, ‘I can smell fire …’
JC: I thought his exhaust pipe …
BP: Old people going, ‘what’s that smoke coming round’ … Mosquito ku[XX], mosquito for…
JC: For anyone listening to this tape in a few years time there’s a man driving past us on a tractor blowing mosquito-killing smoke around Wiluna…
BP: So I can’t say him name … I only can say him, I don’t know what they call him here …
JC: I knew that old man …
JC: That old man, Kutukutu’s father. I knew him before he passed away…
BP: I went to his funeral.
JC: I was there! I might have seen you … it was cold, that day, remember, really cold.
BP: Yeah. All the family … all the family we don’t meet one another … they stop another side, I stop this side … they just ring up they don’t … even my sister Nora, Nora – I don’t know what they call second name … Nora…
JC: Where, in Kunawarritji?
BP: Bo, in Balgo.
MLF: In Balgo.
BP: Yeah, he was in Mulan …
JC: Nora Maggie?
BP: Yeah must be … my brother in law. She gotta white …
JC: Was she married to Kamina, Larry…
BP: Yeah. Yuwayi [yes], that’s my brother in law, but he’s passed away isn’t he?
JC: Nah, he’s still there.
BP: Someone said, ‘oh he passed away’. I don’t know about those two um, ‘nother sister … um … I don’t know that Martu name … but finish?
MLF: Ah you’ve been so good Mr P! You’re good story teller … we could sit down with you for a long time and listen all the time …
Video recording: 165 MR P - BILLY PATCH 1
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Billy Patch (Mr P); © 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.