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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: Ngarralja Tommy May

Ngarralja Tommy May - Kurtal, Kaningarra and the Canning Stock Route [ORAL HISTORY]

Other Speaker/s: Ngilpirr Spider Snell, Jukuja Dolly Snell

Synopsis: Tommy talks about his painting Kurtal and Kaningarra, and tells the Jukurrpa story of these two. Tommy and Spider Snell talk about taking care of these two jila today, and who is left to look after Kurtal and Kaningarra. He talks about seeing bullock for the first time near Well 42. He talks about cultural and law boundaries throughout the Canning Stock Route Coutry and how kartiya doen't know about thes boundaries.

Date: 8/16/2007
Art centre(s):
Language spoken: Kriol, English
Catalogue number: CSROH_27_Ngarralja_Tommy_May
Interviewed By: Nicole Ma; ABC 7.30 Report reporters
Transcribed By: Monique La Fontaine
Recorded by: Nicole Ma; ABC 7.30 Report
Location Described: Kurtal, Kaningarra
Location Recorded: Nyarna, Lake Stretch
Latitude/Longitude: -19.0796/128.2542

Access: PUBLIC
Notes: Recorded by Nicole Ma with ABC 7.30 Report/ Landline. It is likely the male reporter asking questions in this footage is David Mark. There were notes and corrections made to this story when the permission was gathered on 3 September 2008, these notes have been included in this transcript.
Full transcript:
Tommy May: Yeah, right through.

Nicole Ma: And what do you remember about this place from before?

TM: Yeah, this place right. We walked from desert, we been right around here, all around, when I was a kid. With my mother and my uncle. One of them, his father for Tax, Richard Tax. He up in Halls Creek, eh. Old people home. Richard Tax. That’s my cousin brother. He from this Country too. I know all of his family around in Balgo and here.

NM: What do you remember before the Stock Route came?

TM: Ah, that stock road I know is before all that, whitefella, kartiya [white man] bloke in the road been just, still I reckon only lately. That road been put, [by] all those Canning mob, whoever been working on that road, lately. But we trust this bloke. Dreamtime. That really true. And before it used to be blackfella Country, they used to walkin to Kurtal and walk to, what that place um, Kulyayi, or way down another place too. They was walking down, all around, walk around. See? Before that Canning Stock Road. That Canning Stock Road they been only put it lately. Still, lately, name. It wasn’t Canning Stock Road before. Before was a, now can’t drovin there. Nothing. Before that drovin, still lately. I say only yesterday. Before was just nothing: blackfella Country. Soakwater, jila [spring], jumu [ephemeral water], rockhole, that area.

NM: And now what?

TM: Now it’s Canning Stock Road now. For anybody to use. That camel man been working for the well, still lately. Before, these two man [pointing to painting of [Kurtal and Kaningarra], Dreamtime stories and before used to be blackfella Country this.

NM: Ngarralja, when you were a little kid in your Country what stories did you hear about the stock route?

TM: Still, I heard the cattle drovers still, but nother mob tell me jila [ancestral being, spring] side still very important Dreamtime stories really. Yeah. Dreamtime for jila, all of those stories. What jila been living in there, anywhere, in the hill or rocky Country. Dreamtime was before that, that really true. And this two person was a really true. Before, early days when I been a kid, might be before I been born, these two waterholes they been looking after, cleaning all the time. They, this mob [Kurtal] they used to come down to this mob, Kaningarra, Kaningarra. I know these people for that side, for old people. That’s the looking after Kaningarra. Keep it clean and sometime make it rain. That same two for that thing, story.

NM: It’s that old man. [Spider Snell sits down]

TM: Yeah. He know these stories, two, these two [Kurtal and Kaningarra jila].

Spider Snell: [asks question in language, nganayi]

TM: No, purrku [husband], Kurtal and Kaningarra

SS: Yeah, Kaningarra, Kurtal.

TM: [pointing] This one Kaningarra, Kurtal.

SS: [pointing] Kurtal here, Kaningarra there.

TM: That’s the one we sing and dance with these two. Anytime. For KALACC [Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre], KALACC …

SS: [pointing to Kaningarra?] Shut him up, this one shut him up today, no more …

TM: No more today, nothing.

SS: No juju [song and dance] [gestures wide distance] juju, might be. [Speaks in language.]

TM: No more Kaningarra, no Kurtal, nothing.

NM: No more?

SS: Mm, all in Bayulu, what name [meaning sorry camp] ...

TM: Someone passed away in Fitzroy.

SS: Yuwayi [yes], Jakarra [Skipper].

TM: No more this one song.

SS: They been shut him away, leave it.

TM: Some day they can dance after one year, over.

SS: Only, any time [language], wati kujarra [two men] for Kaningarra there, Kurtal …

TM: This one [Kaningarra] he got no really boss. No one looking after properly. That jila [ancestral being, spring], cleaning up.

NM: No one’s looking after it?

TM: Yeah. This one [Kaningarra]. This one right [Kurtal].
[Both men pointing with their sticks]

SS: Oh, boss, right. [speaks in language] ... ngaju [points to Kurtal] this one boss [I’m the boss for this one].

TM: For this place, this place used to be before, keep it clean. Old people, jila people.

NM: [XX – indecipherable, referring to young people for Kaningarra?]

TM: They don’t know nothing. He lost that water hole. People used to live there. Kurtal help clean that special way. Very sad.

Dolly Snell: Ah, yawi [poor thing].

SS: Wayampajarti, nganayi [what’s this one]… Nyirla, Yawul [near Kaningarra] Wayampajartu [drawing in the sand] …

TM: No, these two [pointing to painting].

SS: Yeah … [XX – in language] make, Kurtal. I been shut him up.

[Dolly stands between the two men.]

NM: Dolly sit down, sit down. [Spider tells Dolly to sit in language]

[Dolly moves to left of Spider.]

NM: Stay there! [In the middle]

DS: No, I sit down here [looks at painting, camera moves to include her.]

TM: Story I did for all that road, well, putting well, still after, lately. These two first, Dreamtime. Jukurrpa [dreaming]. All of the Jukurrpa. Dreamtime, stories. And people used to walk up and down in the blackfella Country before, no worries.

SS: [In language: I took Kurtal dance to America and all around the world, everywhere. Dolly interjects and revises his story, he laughs and continues, Dolly adds to it.]

NM: Spider, do you know any stories about the Canning Stock Route?

SS: Yuwayi [yes], that one all the way.

TM: My story is finished.

SS: I’m have to go stock road, stock road any time, go. Yangurta time [XX] yawarta [horse] time.

[Dolly speaks in language referring to Tommy having made the painting they’re looking at.]

TM: My mother been taking me around here when I been a kid. To this place and this place, no worries. Show me waterhole, names.

Male Reporter: Tell me what Country you were in when you first saw the bullocks and the drovers?

TM: Ah, near Kurtal Country. Come from Kurtal to Canning Stock Route just for walk around with George Lee father, Ned Jamili. Way down desert, yeah.

Male Reporter: Were you just a boy?

TM: Yeah, me and my brother.

Male Reporter: What did you think when you saw them?

TM: See all the dust, drovers from here, and we come across for meat, for bullock. We knew some family was there. [Laughs] Married some fella, they want a tobacco, old people. That niki niki [tobacco] init? Kartiya [white people’s] tobacco.

SS: Yeah niki niki tobacco.

TM: Niki niki tobacco and flour might be, yeah.

Male Reporter: What did you think of the bullocks when you saw them the first time?

TM: No, I never come there. Frightened of big bullocks. I know one galloped at us near one place, another well the other side of Kulyayi. You might have come through, know that place? What they got here? 42. The Well. 42. Yeah, we been walk around there.

NM: You went there?

TM: Chasing all the rabbits. Did you see all the rabbits there? Rabbits, should be plenty there.

John Carty: Wallabi [Charlie Tjungurrayi] said there was a big mob but we never saw them. He said in that tali [sand hill] there …

TM: Scrub Country.

JC: Yeah, near the lake …

TM: Yeah, scrub Country [XX] place. [Film skips forward] No, no, no. [Skips forward again] Here in Balgo, and go back from Balgo to Lamboo Well there and from there we heading to another place. Through Fitzroy Crossing way. We was a kid. Lot of our people, old people, brothers, these days, brother, uncle they been already working in station. We couldn’t find anybody behind. [Chuckles] That’s why we went.

Male Reporter: So you left the Country?

TM: Yeah, but still now we think back to Kurtal. I been there now lately. Yeah.

Male Reporter: What County did you go to when you left?

TM: From here? Ah to Christmas Creek. Way down to long way to near Derby Country. Work around. Kid time.

Male Reporter: Was that when you where still a boy?

TM: Yeah, Meeda, Meeda Station. Man grow up there, ride a horse. Stock ringing job. Yep, wali, nyamu [that’s all, finished]. Yeah, me and my, I know, Richard Tax, he’s my really cousin brother. He from Kurtal Country.

SS: Desert country, Kurtal.

TM: Mariya janu [XX], he finish up in there in Halls Creek, yeah.

SS: Ngurra ngurra [Country, home is Kurtal].

TM: His Country is this place, Kurtal Country.

Karen Dayman: Ngarralja, do you still take your sons and Spider’s Grandsons back there now? You been doing ceremony at Kurtal and ...

TM: Yeah. Japeth [Rangie – Spider’s grandson], Thomas [May – Tommy’s son], they went.

SS: [In language] Japeth went there ...

TM: [smiling and pointing at Tom Lawford] This bloke was there too. [Laughs] Yeah, when that water was still full!

NM: But you said that no one is looking after it anymore?

TM: No, this place little bit [Kaningarra]. Not this place, we visit. When that no water we go a clean em this place [Kurtal]. He only shallow. He not, he ...

NM: You still wanna do that?

TM: Yeah, when he dried up. Might be dried up I don’t know.

SS: Might be dry or might be nothing ...

TM: It’s very important for us poor fella. It’s old people home there.

SS: All finish. Old people finish, langa this one there [Kurtal].

TM: Jila people. All the Lawa Lawa mob. You know Lawa Lawa?

SS: Lawa Lawa, this one father [pointing to Dolly] This one father, properly, Kurtal. And me too, but little bit outside me.

TM: That’s why you got no good road eh. To Kurtal. No you right. [chuckles]

NM: Do you want to get a road there?

TM: No, somebody might be come along behind eh, leave it quiet, eh. [To Nicole Ma:] Eh?

NM: Remember you asked me to build a road?

TM: Yeah. One time ago.

DS: You want to make it manga [girl]!

SS: Yeah, gotta make it.

TM: No nganayi [what], somebody might come along, tourist. Eh? Tourist, visiting, I reckon.

NM: To make a road they’ll all be there?

TM: Yeah.

DS: All can’t visit em kartiya [white people] langa there you know, that jila [spring].

TM: No.

DS: Yeah but one side where there might be, nother road.

TM: Not from other way.

DS: Yeah.

TM: Kulyayi side they might be come from cross way.

NM: You know they can go from the Canning Stock Route?

TM: Yeah, easy.

SS: Only one side, Stock Road …

NM: Helena Springs and then they’ll find it.

TM: Yeah easy. And they make camp there, big camp.

SS: [XX - speaks in language, says they’ll have to grade it]

TM: There was one man. One man he must be been running around there, one blackfella, in that Country, early days. That, who that bloke? Jangala bloke [Daniel Vachon] he was reading in the book eh. One Camel man come along, he had five camel I think.

KD: Carnegie.

TM: Carnegie. Carnegie, that’s the bloke eh. And he come, find that blackfella, walk around in the bush and kartiya [white man] want to find the water. Camel man eh.

And he saw that blackfella and he ask, ‘Any water?’ ‘Yeah, we know. I know, water here.’ He might be meet him in somewhere, other side eh. In Warla Country. Warla. He been ask for water, ‘Yeah, I’ll take you down to water.’ But he never tell him with English. I don’t know what he been do [chuckles] He might ‘Wiya nga katikunanta’ ‘I’ll show you.’ He might be take him to that Kurtal now. Show that big waterhole. They been stay there for five days. Story about there, camel man.

NM: Is that true?

TM: Yeah

NM: Carnegie was it?

TM: Yeah, his daughter init [isn’t it]?

KD: Helena.

TM: Helena, yeah. Man that, he had, now he lately, he’s name of, in that girl name now, that Helena Spring. Yeah. He had daughter behind, eh? Live.

NM: So he named that spring after his daughter?

TM: Yep, there now, Helena Spring.

[Film skips forward …]

TM: One been, might be one of them Lawa Lawa family, Lawa Lawa family, he been know that water. That kartiya [white man] couldn’t find water. And they been take him to that place, big water hole, [XX] he springing all the time see.

SS: Dead [?]

NM: Because why, why is it always dead [?], the water?

TM: No, he all the time, shallow thing, lotta spring water, lotta strong. He bubbling from under too. Under the gate [?] he in a good Country, not in hill, not in billabong, not in river, just in bush Country. Oh, you saw [to Nicole Ma, smiling] no, no, you never seen it properly, he was cover up [with water].

NM: Yeah, I haven’t seen it properly.

TM: Yeah.

NM: Maybe next time.

TM: Yeah, next time when dry time. But dry time you not allowed to stop there looking at the waterhole, you gotta be bush. All the woman bush, he did it [pointing to Karen Dayman?] all this mob, only man work, only be man, one time. Right down, like sunset, when everything finish, someone gotta call you out, come to waterhole, come to that place. After all the work finish. They used to do that too before when I been a kid. Stranger, only for law really, really hard. You gotta have water in drum or jerry can or whatever. Karen’s right. Yeah. All for old people for. Really punish, punish[ing work] for young people, gotta learn that way.

NM: Where are all of the old people then?

TM: No they work. They in the waterhole, gotta be work all the time. Old people. Or young people. Got to work by all the skin group too. That water got a skin group. Law for that water. Kurtal story. Mm, yeah … Yeah, Kurtal he not far from ... [ends, tape skips forward]

Male Reporter: What do you think about telling these Aboriginal stories about the Canning Stock Route?

TM: Well there is, very important thing for early days, really. This thing about before that Canning road been put up that, whoever been workin’ camel, making the wells, still lately. Mmm. I reckon it used to be blackfella Country before. All the jumu [ephemeral water], jumu like soak water.

Male Reporter: Why do you think it’s important to tell these stories?

TM: They don’t know anybody. They might be, they might be … [tape skips forward]
… and nother one round here, but they gotta come careful way, you know. Respect nother elders in front. Come there they gotta learn different way. But there they used to have a business might be, kid time, he right. Marlulu [law – boy’s initiation time]. Whoever know the Marlulu. Law time. He right. Palya [good]. Not just walk in anyway. No. Danger.

JC: Do you think that today, like when you see the map you just see the one road Canning Stock Route, that’s all kartiya [white people] see, do you think kartiya understand those boundaries you are talking about now?

TM: No, nothing.

Male Reporter: How did that road change what you are talking about, the blackfella travelling out there?

TM: He change, still lately. Might be been a lot of law ground there. Dreamtime. Whoever been live there early days really. And they been just claim all other boundaries, and nother boundary. They don’t care about. No respect really. Nothing. No. That white kartiya law not like blackfella, no. Blackfella got to respect, respect nother people, nother tribe, other language. Old people good stories. Yeah. He right. Today, lately. Any whitefella can through any … [tape jumps forward]

People get killed over there. Yeah, from not crossing, too rough, come to that nother tribe, other side. Making trouble, something wrong. Get speared, yeah. Someone might be get sing, mad. That blackfella way, early days. You gotta respect elders there. Not too rough. Not walkin anywhere.

Male Reporter: Do you know stories about people being killed because of the Stock Route?

TM: Oh, not for, before that. Before that everywhere too. You can’t come to cross to law time there, now lately too. You come too rough there nother way, and they won’t like you. Too rough. They gotta come really careful or manners, respect, he alright.

Male Reporter: And today you got tourists going everywhere.

TM: Mixed. Don’t know where they go. That’s why all the law finish. Mm. Grog too much

SS: Mmm mm.

TM: Another thing, ganja, drink too much, lotta business still there for old people. Yeah. All the marninwarntikura law [women’s law] there. I been grow up in different old people. They was telling me story, don’t, not to be do that. My time. I used I used to live in young people or old people in the, we get them, not in woman mix, kid time. That’s where you learn, get all the idea here, learn you there. Come good people, careful. That’s it. Not mad way. Someday you get spear through you. Nulla nulla [speared] in the head.

Yeah. That’s it.


Source: CSROH_27_Ngarralja_Tommy_May

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.

Wally Dowling

Born: 1910
Died: 1959

Art Centre(s): Other

Biography: ‘They called him King of the Canning …’ (Jeffrey James, 2007).

Wally Dowling is probably the best-known drover in the Canning Stock Route’s history. Born in Northam in 1910, he began his droving apprenticeship in Meekatharra at age 14. He made the first of many trips down the stock route in about 1931, when it was reopened after reconditioning. His death in 1959 marked the end of droving on the stock route.

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

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

But Wally Dowling was also known as a hard man, with his revolver ‘Little Bertha’ always at the ready. He reputedly robbed many Aboriginal men of their wives, ‘He had his revolver all the time. No smile on him. He been a rough bloke, and he wanted a black woman’ (Anga Friday Jones, 2007).

In about 1941 Wally Dowling found a baby suckling its dead mother’s breast. One of his stockwomen fed the baby camel milk, and Wally named the infant Pelican because, ‘his beak could hold more than his stomach’. By the time he was 16, Pelican was Wally’s head stockman.

Wally found another child in 1953. Although initially unwilling to take him on, he changed his mind when the three-year-old put his arms around his neck. Wally named him Churchill. Wally’s son, Bob Stretch, grew up at Moola Bulla station with his mother, Lanyina.

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).

Wally’s death in 1959 marked the end of the droving era on the Canning Stock Route. ‘Wally died in [Mistake] Creek; he had a bad flu. He went holiday with his camel. One of the tourists find that camel, took the hobbles off and ring to Billiluna, ‘Wally die!’ The camel walked all the way back. Halls Creek rang up, ‘Camel just going through!’ Next day, Ruby Plains rang up, ‘They on their way to Billiluna!’ I was there. I open the gate. That it. The road was closed. No more droving’ (Jeffrey James, 2007).

Photograph date: 1957
Photography copyright: © People Magazine
Format: Image
Source: Images - Multimedia + Sig Piece
Category: People
Accession ID: 20131016_FORM_MIRA_B0090_0100

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.

Putuparri Tom Lawford


Putuparri Tom Lawford - effects of the Canning Stock Route [ORAL HISTORY]
Synopsis: Putuparri Tom Lawford talks about the effects the Canning Stock Route had on the Aboriginal communities who lived in that area.

Art centre(s): CSR Project, Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre
Catalogue number: CSROH_295_Putuparri_Tom_Lawford
Cultural Protocols: Public Access
Access: Public
Full transcript: Nicole Ma: So Tom, can you tell us a little bit about this Country? What it is to you? Putuparri Tom Lawford: This Country is Walmajarri Country. NM: You know your relationship to this Country, what used to be here? TL: I think it’s on my grandfather’s side I think. Grandfather used to travel up around here. Nyarna, a place called Nyarna. Most of the people who are living here other then my family. NM: And what did they used to do around here? TL: I don’t really know much about this Country, I don’t know what, back at the Goollong [?] area. NM: Coming on this trip, you know you have seen these wells, what do you think about that? TL: Good, yeah. Because all them wells, like I’ve been hearing the stories from old people talking about that Country. I’ve been hearing stories like when I was a kid. It like remind, bring back memories from them old people telling me stories. Most of them all dead. But where they used to roam. Meet other groups of people, other tribe. NM: So what did they used to do around here? TL: Well, there used to be free before roaming around till someone came around and started pastoral companies, bringing cattle in. And made them work for nothing. Building yards. NM: And what do you think about the Canning Stock Route, did it have an effect? TL: Yeah, yeah, it had an effect on people. It mainly people went everywhere and people went to Wiluna, family went to Wiluna another family come up this way. You got that artist from Tennant Creek. He from Dongara and he ended up in Tennant Creek from the Canning Stock Route. NM: So did it mix everything up? TL: Yeah, it mixed everything up. Families, you know, all got drifted apart, a long way apart. All because of a lousy stock route just to take cattle from here to Wiluna. NM: So as you came along here how did you feel about it? TL: Mainly looking at them wells. Them wells, they’ve been put in there by the Alfred Canning. But them wells were there before he ever existed. Aboriginal people knew about that water a long time before he came onto the scene. Without them people there wouldn’t be a Canning Stock Route. Because, he, I don’t know somehow forced them people to show him where the water was. So he made, shutting them up, starving them for water and let them go and track them. NM: So before that happened what was going on? TL: Brother was living in harmony. And along came this buddy with a big idea of opening up that Kimberly from here to Wiluna. Fuck everything up. NM: Could you talk a bit about what water means? TL: What it means is. Water is. Especially out there in the desert, it’s important because it’s a dry Country, you know, and people need the water to survive on hot days especially on a drought, people know where there is living water. On a good season there is rock holes, you know hills, soak water, but the main water was the other one that people used to hang on. NM: Can you explain a bit about living water? TL: Living water is like a story like in Dreamtime before snakes, they talk about rainbow serpent snakes and in Dreamtime they were human. They would travel around the Countryside making songs and stories and then they turned into a snake and get into the ground that where the water is, living water. Jila, we call him jila. NM: So that’s what you call living water? TL: Jila, living water yeah, jila. NM: So what happens if someone who doesn’t know the water comes to the water? TL: If you’re a stranger come through, stranger yeah, I don’t know. They probably get killed or eaten or something. Well there’s a snake in the water. Ah, but a lot of people out there they know what to do, you know? Other people who walk into another place they get a stone or chuck sand into the water or get a stone and rub it in their armpit. Chuck it in the water. And then they drink the water. NM: Then it’s okay? TL: Yeah. NM: But a lot of people don’t know how to do that? TL: Yeah, not these things. NM: And then what do you think happens? TL: I don’t know, there might be rain or be wind storm. NM: So when Canning came here he didn’t know any of these stories? TL: Nothing, he didn’t know where the water was. He wouldn’t know where to go. So the only way he knew where to go was to get guards, Aboriginal guards and chain them up. Give them tobacco anything just to pay them and get them to show him where the live water was. NM: So that couldn’t have been too good for the communities? TL: Well, because, yeah, he gobbled up, some water was sacred to people like Well 35, it’s sacred really, sacred to that mob up there. Other mob. Like some place that’s sacred to us but he didn’t give a shit. He wanted water. NM: Do you think they would have tried to avoid telling him? TL: At the time them guards didn’t know any English, only water. Only water, kapi, he keeps them kapi, he shows them where the water was. Only way he know where the water was he get them salt meat and starved them for water. And let them go and follow their tracks. Then water there. NM: So it must have been a big shock for all. Can you talk about all of the different Countries? TL: Yeah, all of them, like the people that were taken are from other tribe, gone into unknown area for them because the barrier was halfway. And he even take them in. Taking them into another area boundary for other language tribe. NM: But that map doesn’t show that on there. TL: That map doesn’t show that. If you go into another boundary a different boundary. You get killed you get speared. NM: So when that road started they must have got a bit of a shock? TL: Yeah, they got a shock. No road really only just cattle travelling through. Through every waterholes. NM: ‘Cause you come from a big, can you tell us a bit about your background? TL: My father is a cattleman, horseman. He used to take cattle from Christmas Creek to Derby. Or sometimes to Broome. He didn’t go up this track the Canning Stock route. He did that, Christmas Creek to Derby of Broome. NM: And is your family very involved in it too? TL: Yeah, we got a cattle station back home. The only person who is driving cattle out is a big truck, yeah a big truck driving cattle. On a bitumen highway. Them days are gone, horse taking cattle to other places. NM: And did that change things when that happened? TL: Yeah, it changed things, people got no. It made people feel lazy because no, they used to be real hard worker in those days. Been hards, waking up sunrise facing sundown riding all day. Not like this machine they just lay back you know. They just get on the piss and that’s it. NM: So do you think when the trucks came in that a lot was ... ? TL: It put them out of the business. They had drover, all drovers lost their job driving cattle. Even horsemen. Nowadays you don’t see anybody on horse mustering. You see this horse on the sky. Helicopter. NM: So what does that mean for your community? TL: Well, you got to pay more money for that horse in the sky. For fuel and his hours for flying up. Whereas when you’ve got your man on the horse on the ground. It don’t cost much, just pay the wages. But with the helicopter you have to pay the fuel pay the hours and everything. A lot of money. NM: What about jobs? TL: Jobs. NM: Are many people losing jobs? TL: Yeah, people losing jobs. NM: Is that why they are going into town? TL: In our other place we just use chopper now and then but not most of the time. We got horses. We go on horseback. Do what our father used to do. NM: So how do you feel, the difference between being here and in your Country? TL: I like it here, I like the bush. I think that’s where I belong really. We be outside on the ground you can see the stars. Because when you go in the town there’s nothing, cars, lights, drunks. But what I really wanted to see was the young people on the trip. So they can learn about their Countr,y their, area, where they come from. Or their grandparents. Father, mother, come from. NM: Why is it important? TL: It’s important because they are going to be the future some day. And all of the old people, what we have now, they won’t be here too long. One day they will leave us and they gotta carry on their stories, Dreaming and things like that. Is that what them will do. Listen and start going out on these kind of trips. NM: What do you think will happen when you lose all of the old people? TL: I think it will be sad. If only a couple of people like me going out on these trips is that enough? You don’t need one person you need plenty. The more the better. NM: So you think you need to get them out here? TL: Yep, anywhere you know. Not just on the Canning Stock Route. Where their um ... where their grandfathers come from. Grandparent come from. So they can learn their story. Well me I’ve been everywhere, [XX] back, [XX] back. I know from my stock. NM: So can you just explain what it is like for you going out there, for you? TL: For me, going out there for me is like I learn my culture and my history of my people. Where they come from, where they live. Where they work. And their stories you know. My grandfather told me stories. My nana told me stories about ... END
Source: CSROH_295_Putuparri_Tom_Lawford
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Putuparri Tom Lawford; © 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.

Partukala Frank Gordon

Partukala Frank Gordon - travelling [ORAL HISTORY]
Synopsis: Partukala Frank Gordon tells a story about travelling with Wally Dowling

Date: n.d.
Art centre(s): Paruku Indigenous Protected Area
Catalogue number: CSROH_268_Frank_Gordon
Date: n.d.

Cultural Protocols: Public Access
Access: Public
Full transcript: Partukala Frank Gordon: Yeah we went Kunawarritji. We went all the way long from Kunawarritji, right up to that other one for that other one for [cannibals- ?] travelling. They might kill mefellas. All that people. We was frightened all the way along. And I went over there. And we was frighten for all the poison tree there too. All them poison tree? We move ‘em, cut ‘em out all the bullock, driving him away all the way. I went went went right through to Kunawarritji get water and keep goin’. Right up to Kulyayi, get water keep goin’, get water keep goin’ … with Wally Dowling, he was getting old now. I was young then.

Source: CSROH_268_Frank_Gordon
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Partukala Frank Gordon; © 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.

Ngilpirr Spider Snell

Ngilpirr Spider Snell - women drovers [ORAL HISTORY]
Synopsis: Ngilpirr Spider Snell talks about how all the women were drovers on the Canning Stock Route.

Date: 2007
Art centre(s): Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency
Language spoken: Kriol
Catalogue number: CSROH_232_Ngilpirr_Spider_Snell
Date: 2007
Transcribed By: Karen Dayman
Location Recorded: Fitzroy Crossing
Latitude/Longitude: -18.17/125.59

Cultural Protocols: Public Access - Restrictions on Use
Access: Public
Notes: These are notes taken from a group discussion at Mangkaja, this is not a transcript of consecutive dialogue rather small notes from different parts of the one group conversation. The text in square brackets contextualises the quotes from the artists.
Full transcript: Ngilpirr Spider Snell: I’ve only been as far as Kulyayi. My brother went all the way to Wiluna but me, only half way. Me, I been only go half way, to Kulyayi and back, come back from half way. Too many bullock. Ngapa, jila [ancestral being, soak]. Jila that one, jila.

All the women were drover men on canning stock road, my sister. I been lose em all the women droving men. They had their own husbands. Wally Dowling used to get all the old people from Billiluna, old Billiluna, husbands and wives. Stockmen properly women. They been get buluman [bullock] too. Kakaliya [see Nyuju Stumpy Brown’s story] stockman as well.

Source: CSROH_232_Ngilpirr_Spider_Snell
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Ngilpirr Spider 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.

Kurpaliny Bessie Doonday, Tuntayi Bill Doonday, Nangalaku May Doonday

Kurpaliny Bessie Doonday, Tuntayi Bill Doonday, Nangalaku May Doonday - Barrumundi Dreaming [ORAL HISTORY]
Synopsis: on mini DV cassette: CHAMIA SAMUELS (also contains Bessie May and Bill Doonday and Evelyn Clancy) a. Bill continues story of two emu chased by two dogs that eventually formed part of Paruku (with Bessie) b. Bessie shows their journey and the places they created on the Paruku map a. May tells the story of how barramundi ended up in the east kimberley after starting at Paruku b. Bessie adds to Barramundi story. Bill droving to Wyndham

Date: 2009-04-02
Art centre(s): Paruku Indigenous Protected Area
Language spoken: English, Walmajarri
Catalogue number: CSROH_161B_May_Doonday
Date: 2009-04-02
Translated By: Monique La Fontaine
Location Recorded: Billiluna
Latitude/Longitude: -19.584061/127.630717

Cultural Protocols: Public Access - Restrictions on Use
Access: Public
Notes: This transcript appears to be truncated early.
Full transcript: Nangalaku May Doonday: Which one that fish one?

Monique La Fontaine: Yes ladies one.

Kurpaliny Bessie Doonday: Yes already talked about that one.

NMD: Long time ago in the Dreamtime, they used to live old people in the lake, one day they saw a flood coming down from the river, they saw lots of fish coming down. All kind of fish, crocodile, shark and barramundi fish and one of them bird he was like a watchman, we call ‘em jalka, he’s a big white great egret and he saw those fish went for this place and he was inviting those fish. He was putting little fish one side and took those other fish back.

He said, ‘That’s strange that fish not belong to this place, too big, it’s just making a noise’, so they took that fish and he take him with his beak, right up to Kununurra somewhere and he dropped that fish, yeah. And now we got little fish, yuway walja.

NMD: That’s a story for kids.

MLF: Yuwah walja, is that a ladies Dreaming?

KBD: Yeah .

NMD: Yeah, they got that Dreaming.

MLF: Turkey Creek got the same Dreaming.

KBD: That for the grandmother was for me Lulu, Megan, Leanne and Leonard … my brother. Trevor and Kevin, that one and Alison. That Dreamtime story they been take him down from … Ngawaiji (father’s mother), from that area now. What’s this place? From Labalany [?] that fish, see.

MLF: That’s a great story. And Bill did you ever work as a drover, were you droving or working on a station?

KBD: Yeah he was working younger, long time, yeah, Billiluna.

MLF: You been droving when you were young?

Tuntayi Bill Doonday: I never go droving. Yeah Wyndham … I was droving, yeah, on this side, territory.

MLF: So you didn’t drove on the Canning Stock Road?

TBD: No. I never drove.

MLF: Any more story you wanna tell him?

Video format: on miniDVD/DVD
Source: CSROH_161B_May_Doonday
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: ; © 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.

Nora Wompi

Nora Wompi - Pujiman and droving days [ORAL HISTORY]Other Speaker/s: Kumpaya Girgaba

Synopsis: Nora Wompi talks about travelling in the Canning Stock Route region, and also talks about Pujiman and droving days.

Date: 2008-04-01
Art centre(s): Martumili Artists
Language spoken: Martu Wangka
Catalogue number: CSROH_092_Nora_Wompi
Date: 2008-04-01
Transcribed By: Ngalangka Nola Taylor
Translated By: Ngalangka Nola Taylor
Location Recorded: Kunawarritji (Well 33)
Latitude/Longitude: -22.34188/124.77525

Cultural Protocols: Public Access - Restrictions on Use
Access: Public
Notes: Follows on from T304.
Full transcript: [Bio]

She went to Balgo when she was a young girl, she didn’t have any children yet. Her mum used to leave them alone, her brother and her. She used to cry for her mother, to carry her around, but her brother used to help. Her brother [correction: Morika’s daddy, and for Renette and Levina] used to carry her, leave her in the shade, wet her hair [to keep her cool] and she used to wait for her parents to come home with meat. They would wait and see her mother coming with food. And her brother would run to the parents to get meat from them, while she was sitting in the shade waiting. They used to share food together as a family. And as a little girl she used to walk around and hunt for small lizards and other animals. Her brother got sick and died. And her other brother went north and passed away. She was alone. She stayed with her family and got bigger and then she also went north, when she was able to hunt for her own meat.

Kumpaya Girgaba: People all scattered, travelling on that Canning Stock Route, that’s why everybody left. All gone everywhere. Wiluna, Jigalong, Fitzroy, Balgo, Christmas Creek, everywhere.

KG: Was on her own, she looked around for all the other people. She was the last one. She went to catch up with the Biljabu family. Her parents had died, no one was around, the people that went earlier had died already.

Source: CSROH_092_Nora_Wompi
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Nora Wompi; © 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.

Nyulku Dusty Stevens, Jawurji Mervyn Street

Jawurji Mervyn Street and Nyulku Dusty Stevens - droving and working as a stockman [ORAL HISTORY]
Synopsis: Jawurji Mervyhn Street and Nyulku Dusty Stevens talk about when Mervyn worked for Dusty when Dusty was head stockman. Annette Williams also tells some life history.

Date: 2007-07-01
Art centre(s): Birriliburu Artists, Tjukurba Gallery, Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency
Language spoken: Kriol, English
Catalogue number: CSROH_143_Nyulku_Dusty_Stevens_Jawurji_Mervyn_Street
Date: 2007-07-01
Transcribed By: Monique La Fontaine
Location Recorded: Well 1
Latitude/Longitude: -26.55781/120.18128

Cultural Protocols: Public Access - Verbal Consent
Access: Public
Notes: Correlates to edited film S3_Jilajurru 3_Droving
Full transcript: Dusty Stevens: … droving.

Mervyn Street: You been run a camp eh? Good stockman. (Time code: 0026) From first thing in the morning you make me get up …

DS: Chase the bullock all day, wild one. Work.

MS: Now you gotta tell story for droving, you know, from long time, you know, story you been telling me for droving from Billiluna to here. I want you to tell that story. (Time code: 0104)

DS: Yeah. All the nightwatching. All a 500 bullock driving long, no sleep, no sleep, truck ‘em and go back again.

MS: No, I like to say about myself, I know Dusty, and I was young here and he (Time code: 01020) was head stockman in Carnegie and Wongowal [Stations] and that’s where I met him and he told lotta story ‘bout droving and I learned some story from him and he got good story.

DS: And the whitefella can’t get wild, ‘Come on, hurry up and get up,’ nothing. They gotta listen to me what I tell ‘em … They know. Night watching …

DS: (Time code: 0206) I come from Ned [?] Creek station, 100 mile from here, truck the bullock here, go sit down …

My mum and Dad was there Jigalong side, mission you know, long time, Mt Newman before Mt Newman was a put up. We been working all round Ethel Creek. We get chucked off [a horse] get a hiding from whitefella …

DS: (Time code: 0303) Come here with a bullock, come straight across through Ned Creek and go back, and another lot come straight across form Billiluna straight across form Carnegie, into Carnegie through there Wongawal, truck ‘em there and go back. Horses go back and bullock go in the train. Go in the truck, you know, good. Good road through Ned Creek. Rabbit Through Fence [Rabbit Proof Fence] goes through there. You know when people go [law] meetings they go Rabbit Through Fence straight across to Jigalong. We meet up with men at Mandawinti and Wiluna all meet up, three four week, all old people gone now, walking, long time. Camel cart, not now. Long time.

MS: You were telling me in Carnegie droving in Billiluna, you know anyone in Billiluna?

DS: Yeah old people, they carry a swag and billycan full a water, they got a government well there fill ‘em up water… Good Country.

MS: ... Story about droving across Canning Stock Route, how he remember droving days (Time code: 0715) when they came with a big mob of cattle here and cattle used to stop here, and went on the train and then finish, no more droving you know. (Time code: 907030)

DS: They pay us money, few bob, when you want to get a tea and sugar and go, no motorcar. Tea and sugar and flour, give us ration you know, plenty tucker and you can go sit down in the creek. ‘Job finish you fellas can go and sit down now. No more work,’ like that. That’s a long time, that’s a main camp we used to camp at Bondini, that’s where we been long time sit down, you know, old people. It was the job, corroborees there. They had that well there right in the camp, used to get him with a billycan. Pull him out and pour him in and drink a tea, old people, long time. Fill him up in a billycan. Old people telling us story. Like Jigalong, we learn from them old fellas. We sit down good, no fight, sit down good, have a drink of tea, damper cooking in the ground. That’s why we learn. Whitefella give us tea and sugar in the bag. Tea, sugar, flour, that’s all. Poor old fellas can’t understand, we don’t know what we gotta say …
(Time code: 1842)

DS: I raise him up [Annette Williams]. I’m married to his mummy, that’s my daughter.

Annette Williams: We going up Canning Stock Route. Old man Dusty come from Jilakurru. That’s where his Country is. I want to go there and look at this place. It’s my first time to see his Country.

DS: I’m still going … [Dusty’s son doesn’t want him to go on the trip because of health concerns. Dusty is still determined to go]

My Country Jilakurru. My old man take me Jigalong, Carnegie Country.

AW: I’ll tell story about old man Country … When my father lost his mother and father old man Dusty mother and father took care of my father, and they went across to Jigalong and that’s where they learned how to work on station.

DS: That’s’ old timers. People need to know what they been doing, see? Coolamon, old lady carry them on the top [of their head], carry a bangarra [goanna]. That’s old timer story.

Video format: DVD/Quicktime movie
Source: CSROH_143_Nyulku_Dusty_Stevens_Jawurji_Mervyn_Street
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Nyulku Dusty Stevens, Jawurji Mervyn Street; © 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.


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