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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.

Katapi Pulpurru Davies

Katapi Pulpurru Davies - life, Country, and family [ORAL HISTORY]
Synopsis: Pulpurru Davies talks about hunting for food, seeing whitefellas for the first time, being filmed by Dunlop, and Matjiwa. Pulpurru also talks about her Country and family.

Date: 2008-04-21
Art centre(s): Kayili Artists
Language spoken: Nyaanyatjarra
Catalogue number: CSROH_61_Katapi_Pulpurru_Davies
Date: 2008-04-21
Translated By: Lizzie Ellis, Jan Mountney
Location Recorded: Patjarr
Latitude/Longitude: -24.61/126.31

Cultural Protocols: Public Access - Restrictions on Use
Access: Public
Notes: There were some additions and corrections made to this transcript when permission was gathered on 29 May 2009. These changes have been incorporated into this transcript.
Full transcript: Pulpurru Davies: We went and lived there at Patjarr rock-hole when there was no water. We lived there for a long time.

From Tarrtja we came and we lived here a long time at Patjarr. After a long time we saw a white man who came. Who was that white man who came here with lots of food?

We used to eat the food given by that white man for quite some time. We looked after him here. We were all living together here for a long time, that white man and us. He also had a vehicle.

John Carty: We are sitting here with Pulpuru in Patjarr on April 21, 2008 and she’s going to tell her story about living in the desert.

PD: Who was that white man who was here? The one who was giving us food? He used to give us tinned corned beef, sugar and tea leaves. He lived right here and we lived there. We all lived together in the creek. We looked after him for a long time. He was here a long time. We used to get up in the morning and put our carrying dish on our heads and walk off. He [Dunlop] used to film us from behind. That white man filmed us as we gathered fruits, grains, and berries. That other lady and I and the children used to collect food and he used to film us. We would dig for small game, dig the animals from the burrow, kill them, pick them up and walk off. We were always tracking game and killing it and collecting it and gathering berries, grains and fruits. We would track the animals as the tracks entered a burrow, dig the burrow, kill them and walk off. We used to collect desert raisins, collect all the desert raisins and put them in the shade. We would go out foraging and return to our home right there.

That man making the movie stayed here a long time and later on he went back home. We put him on a plane. There was an incident when Dr Gould was here and ceremonies were taking place. Dr Gould was involved in the ceremony and I strongly objected, saying, ‘He is not here to be involved’. That was settled.

We had lots of bush tomatoes and we were seeding them and eating them. We also seeded them and threaded them on long sticks (like satay sticks). We made quite a few like that. When we finished doing the threading, we went off again to collect more. We came from that way and collected all the bush tomatoes. For a long time we collected them and came back to camp to sleep. That man, Dr Gould, stayed with us a long time. Then my brother, now deceased, who used to be married to Manalingku said, ‘I don’t want to get into trouble’, so they put Dr Gould on a helicopter and sent him off and he went on the helicopter all the way to Kalgoorlie. This was in relation to ceremonial business. My husband was involved in getting Dr Gould on the helicopter and out of possible trouble. We used to all live together, eat together and Dr Gould slept near us, on the opposite side of the fire.

Matjiwa’s father, my brother, and Mr. Giles used to spear a hill kangaroo and it would fall to the ground and they would pick it up and gut it. All my brothers and Mr. Giles used to do that when they were young men. That’s what we used to do. We lived in this Country hunting animals and foraging for food. Then we would pack our things up and would go to another place. We would walk down towards the low-lying flood plain where water from high ground was lying. We used to go there and hunt rabbits and later come back up and go across and set off for Tarlarla rock-hole. Yakuri [another name for Tarlarla] rock-hole is over that way too, and Patjarr rock-hole. These are the places where we used to live, hunting animals and foraging. We used to always go hunting, always hunting, collecting bush tomatoes, seeding them and threading them on sticks. We used to do the seeding and the threading out where we collected them. Then we would put them in our wooden bowls and carry them home on our heads. At home we would eat all the bush tomatoes and next day would get up and go again. In the afternoons, like this time, we’d be out there, walking around, hunting, tracking animals and killing them. Tracking animals and spearing them.

I was born north of here at Untaru. I’m not exactly sure where it is. My mother didn’t see me. We used to go down to that low-lying Country, to the lake, and hunt there. Then go back home. Everyone would be heading home, all the ladies with carrying dishes on their heads, full of small game. Unfortunately, some of my family had died and were not with me at that time, so I used to walk around by myself or with other extended family, hunting and eating what I had gathered or killed. I used to say at the start of the day, ‘You lot go that way and I’ll go this way’. Then I used to go and get bush tomatoes and seed them. Then I’d keep going from that bush tomato area. I used to go hunting with my sister, the mother, oops grandmother, of this child sitting here. Tjarnangu, Nyurrpaya and someone else and I used to hunt together. We were always travelling round together, hunting and foraging.

After that time when we lived there, I can’t remember where we went next. That’s right, we used to live there close to Tarrtja and then we were given bags of flour there. So we got the flour and all our things and went to Patjarr. Maramutu [missionary] brought all that flour and he gave us some. When we first got the flour, we didn’t know how to cook it and we made a few mistakes. Then we learnt.

One day I went to collect seeds of ngukurrpa while Marnupa and Tjungupi went for kampurarrpa [desert raisins]. I collected the seed, thrashed it, winnowed it and brought it home and put it down. I was sitting down and I heard a growling noise. I thought it was an animal but it was Dr Gould in his car. The noise would increase as he drove up and over the hills and then stop when it was in the dips. He came close to us in the car and when he arrived, he gave us food. Sadly, in the morning, he left. The next day, Marnupa and Tjungupi were vomiting and I asked, ‘Why are you sick?’ Some people, when they started eating flour, a food new to them, were sick. But others, like me, were not affected. When Dr Gould gave me flour, I used to carry it around from camp to camp and use it. We used to carry everything we had, our own things and the food given to us by Dr Gould. We used to pick it up and carry it to the next camp. Some people, who were wary of the flour, gave it to others to use.

We used to always do these same things all the time. Walking around in our Country to the same water-holes, making camp, hunting, foraging. From here, we would always go that way, come back here, go round, and walk up that hill, down that gully. I would go way over that way for a long time and then I came back. We used to go to Karlipi creek bed and dig for water and when there was nothing there, we would go on. We used to come down this way, from Karlipi, walk along here and then go down that ridge to the low Country. There’s a path there where we went in and out to Karlipi soakage. We used to always walk around in that Country, always going to water-holes, collecting bush tomatoes and recently with the CALM [Conservation and Land Management] people, we went out to Mina-mina where we cleaned that rock-hole. All the CALM staff were there with us. My memory isn’t very good. I’m getting forgetful.

We used to always live here, around in this Country. We’d go off separately and meet up at different water-holes. We’d live in one place all together for a long time and sometimes we’d go off together to another water-hole, but always the same water-holes in our Country. Have you seen Patjarr Creek, the big river? There’s no water in it at the moment. The camels can’t get a drink. When people went hunting hill kangaroo, the first one would be gutted there where it was speared and then the other hill kangaroos would smell the stomach contents and come down from the rocks to investigate. They would think that it was fresh grass that they could smell. Sure enough a couple would come down and also get speared. People speared the hill kangaroos when they came down for water. My brother was one of the men who used to spear them. He’s passed on now. Many who have passed away were the ones who did the spearing. Sometimes they would go out in different directions and then hunt back towards each other.

Once, long ago, all the old people were fighting with lots of spearing and hitting. My young brother speared one of our uncles and ran away to Papunya because he was ashamed. I’ve got four uncles; one is buried quite close to here. I’ve got three brothers, Lana Porter’s grandfathers.

Lana’s grandfather would go up hunting for hill kangaroos in the late afternoon when they were lying in the long afternoon shadows. I used to hunt too with a rifle. I used to climb up and walk around on the ridge with a gun and I’d look for the kangaroos’ legs stretched out. I’d put the bullet in the gun and shoot. Once I was walking along and saw the legs. I put the bullet in and ‘Bang!’, but I missed.

We used to go down here, following the creek and keep going. We’d follow the creek along, and go round towards the water-hole. We’d sit down and have a long drink, splash ourselves and then go to sleep. Marnupa’s mother and my mother were always walking around with us.

Sometimes we would be hunting and there would be an argument, or we would hear news of a death and we’d cry in the bush. But we still lived together. Sometimes we would go off in separate groups and then later get back together again. One time we went to Kunpurangu after my grandfather died. We went there and joined up with another family group there and then went to Wuurnmankunyangka. We used to always live and walk around in the bush, going from water-hole to water-hole. It’s only now, in recent times, that we’ve been living in communities. Some of the water-holes we used to live around are: Ngamurru, Kunpurangu, and Kurrkapitjarra. I only travelled around to all the water-holes and Country that belonged to our family. We didn’t go beyond Country that was ours. Yes, we used to live in our Country.

We lived there for a long time and then we went to a place with houses, Warburton. We lived there in Warburton. Tikatika is one of the other rock-holes in our Country. Once, we put a lot of bush currants in a dish up in a tree and then forgot and left it.

Video format: miniDV/DVD
Source: CSROH_61_Katapi_Pulpurru_Davies
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Katapi Pulpurru Davies; © FORM, transcript only

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

Name: Helicopter Joey Tjungurrayi

Helicopter Joey Tjungurrayi - Walking through Coutry [ORAL HISTORY]

Synopsis: Joey Tjungurrayi talks Nyinmi, his Country, and also talks about his father's Country. He talks about his travelling, and also when he came to the old mission for the first time. Joey also tells the Kaningarra porcupine story.

Date: 2008-05-01
Art centre(s):
Language spoken: Kukatja, Walmajarri
Catalogue number: CSROH_66_Helicopter_Joey_Tjungurrayi
Interviewed By: Monique La Fontaine, Tim Acker
Transcribed By: Putuparri Tom Lawford
Location Recorded: Balgo
Latitude/Longitude: -31.84885/115.82492

Cultural Protocols: Public Access - Restrictions on Use
Access: Public
Notes: Language changes noted in transcript.
Full transcript: Tim Acker: Sitting here with Helicopter Tjungurrayi, 1st of May. We gonna do little bit story about that helicopter. Chopper, you know last year we been do that stock route.

Helicopter Tjunurrayi: Hmm.

TA: We been go sit down Kilykily, travel up and all that Stock Route story.

HT: Yuwayi [yes].

TA: What we want to hear is all those artist talking about their families.

HT: Hmm.

TA: For how they been, where they been travel on that stock route, and other family’s they been meet their history.

HT: Yuwayi [yes], yuwayi.

TA: You can tell one story for nyuntu hey.

HT: Yuwayi yuwayi, only me self.

TA: Just yourself, your story, what story for you.

HT: From Kilykily?

TA: Your story for nyuntu, whole story.

Monique La Fontaine: Nyuntu, nyuntu kura for story.

[Speaking in Walmajarri]

HT: Yeah, I will tell my story or what.

TA: Kukatja way you can tell him proper.

HT: Ahh, what about from Kilkil?

TA: Na na, you been born Nyinmi.

HT: Yeah, yeah, yuwayi, Nyinmi.

TA: Nyinmi and then travelling.

MLF: You been travel Natawalu.

HT: Ahh, Natawalu. No, wait, my Country is Nyinmi, Nyinmi side. But he not really my Country Nyinmi, but he’s right.

That for, he for that other one, that one. Jampijin’s for Jangala’s for Jakamarra’s for and for all the Jupurrula’s family side, it belongs to us. But my Country is Nyakin. Nyakin is my Country, that’s my land, Nyakin.

TA: Nyakin.

TA: Nyakin.

[Speaking in Kukatja]

Yuwayi, Nyakin, west of Nyinmi. Jupiter Well is my grandfather’s, na na Nyinmi, Nyinmi and Nguti, ah there’s three there, but Nyakin is my Country. My father got [me] from there. Yuwayi, at Nyakin he did, and my mother too. From there they had me and grew me up and father took me around. We travelled around that area everywhere, here and there. We travelled everywhere. We went right up to Nyujunjarra. Around there we walked around. From there we go to Ulkurr then back to Nyujunjarra. From there we used go to Nyila, just walking around with my family. Then we used to keep on going from there right up to Kukapanyu. Hang around there for while then from there we walk back, right back to Nyila. We stayed around there at Nyila, walked around there.

We walked around everywhere: north, east and south. Walked around every, sometimes up to Minyurr, that’s [our] Country too but my Country is Nyakin. They were just taking me around them countries, my mother and father. They took me everywhere. Around Kukapanyu we walked around and around Julkulu. That’s not my Country Julkulu, we were just walking around there, going hunting, going walkabout from Jupiter Well. We went there hunting. Our Country is Nyila, more closer in a different area, rabbit Country. From a rabbit Country we came eating rabbit along the way, that meat rabbit, we were just walking around going walkabout anywhere, close up country, long way Country, then we always go back home, right back to Nyila. Then from there back to Pinangu. Back to Pinangu we go through Nyila then around there we go walkabout, hunting.

Then we go hunting around Well 33, north of Well 33 on the Canning Stock Route then around Kilykily, Pangkapini. I know that Pangkapini, we stayed there. We always went hunting through there, through Kilykily and Pangkapini and then we go to Wataparni to that rockhole and then on to Kukapanyu. From there we head up north, there’s a living water there, then back home to our Country, through Kumparr, Intaramalu, right back to Nyila, our ngurrara, Nyila is our Country.

Yuwayi, that’s where we were travelling, through them places. We sometimes walk around closer to Country and sometimes we travel further from our Country, north, east, south, just going to waterholes and our living water, rabbit Country. We kill them, eat them right there. Yuwayi, I was walking around everywhere in that Country, that was the last time. I went to Nyinmi and to a living water north from there, then back to Nyinmi then on to Natawalu. From Natawalu that’s where they picked me up and brought me here.

They took me away. We landed at Billiluna, then from there we went to the old mission. That’s the first time I went to a mission. I never knew nothing. From there we shifted to Balgo for good and I’m still here. This is where I grew up from a kid. Yuwayi, nyamu.

MLF: Tell us a little bit where you been go la helicopter to Balgo when that helicopter been come down from Natawalu.

HT: Yeah, that’s the one I been talk now today.

MLF: Yeah.

HT: From that when I been go there

MLF: And your mother.

HT: I’ll tell ‘em again today

TA: Yeah.

HT: I went, ahh, big mob of us, we went big mob of us, that’s big mob of people we went to Nyinmi, we stayed there for a while. We then went to Ngurti, from Ngurti we went to the Canning Stock Road. We went the same way we always travelled to them water holes on the Canning Stock Road, stopping to drink at living waters along the way until we came closer to Natawalu. At Natawalu, that’s where we saw a helicopter for the first time, right there at Natawalu for the first time.

Then in the morning they gave us feed. They told [us] to go to Natawalu, ‘There’s big mobs of people, there, they’ll give you feed.’ We went to Natawalu then, they gave us feed and we stayed there. The others went hunting, they took us when they were away, me and my mother. The helicopter was nearby, they carried me and put me on the helicopter right there, me and my mother. Then they took me to what this place ...

MLF: Halls Creek?

HT: No, no, na, this um, in the desert…

TA: Kilykily kilykily?

HT: No, no, no, this um, wait…

MLF: Kaningara?

HT: Kaningara yuwayi, Kaningarra. at Kaningarra they put us down. For the first time I saw a tractor, it was little, like a little porcupine. I didn’t know, I thought it was a porcupine, but it was a tractor. I went and looked at the well then we kept on going to Kurrurungku [Bililuna]. For the first [time] I seen big mobs of people. [The helicopter pilot mob] went to look for the hospital, [the kartiya at Billiluna] said that it was at Balgo, “That-a-way, take him there,” that kartiya said.
They took us to the old mission, we didn’t land at the airport, we landed near the houses. Them people from the old mission, it was the first time they saw a helicopter too, even me, first time they seen me too. Then they was talking to me asking who my parents were, yuwayi. I told them who they were, then they knew me through my parents. My tjamu was there, all the Tjapanankas. They all died now. I stayed there for a little while at Balgo, then he took me to Halls Creek, then I went on a plane to Derby. After I got better they took me back to Balgo and I’m still here today. I started working here now, chopping wood for the kitchen. Sometimes we rode horses, sometimes we cut timber for the yards, at stockcamps for yards.

Then this fella picked me up to go drilling, drilling for water. We did two bores at Tjumunturru. Then we went around here drilling for water. Yuwayi nyamu.

MLF: Nyamu palya [that was a good story].

HT: Yuwayi, playa [yes, good].


Video recording: 169 HELICOPTER, LOOMOO, EUBENA 2.5 BALGO
Source: CSROH_66_Helicopter_Joey_Tjungurrayi
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Helicopter Joey Tjungurrayi; © FORM, transcript only

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

Name: Ngalangka Nola Taylor, Kumpaya Girgaba, Joshua Booth

Ngalangka Nola Taylor, Kumpaya Girgaba, Joshua Booth - why Martu paint [ORAL HISTORY]

Synopsis: Ngalangka Nola Taylor, Kumpaya Girgaba, Joshua Booth discuss why Martu people paint and how they learned to paint. They also discuss the ways in which the Canning Stock Route affected Martu kids, why the Canning Stock Route Project is important to Martu people, and why kids need to learn about this history.

Date: 2009-04-20
Art centre(s):
Language spoken: Manyjilyjarra, English
Catalogue number: CSROH_164_Ngalangka_Nola_Taylor_Kumpaya_Girgaba_Joshua_Booth
Interviewed By: Monique La Fontaine
Transcribed By: Monique La Fontaine
Translated By: Ngalangka Nola Taylor
Location Recorded: Punmu
Latitude/Longitude: -22.042865/123.120883

Cultural Protocols: Public Access - Verbal Consent
Access: Public
Notes: This interview was recorded for the foreword of Ngurra Kuju Walyja – One Country One People – Stories from the Canning Stock Route (Macmillan, 2011).
Full transcript: Nola Taylor: You know, [when] Martu paint, it’s like a map. Ngurra [Country]. So kids, different generation, they always ask the parents and grandparents when they first start painting where the families came from. So old people like Kumpaya tell them where their parents from and their grandparents from so they can start putting painting on the canvas. And this book now, like the story now, what old people paint together today is telling kartiya [white people], and our young ones, their stories in their own ways, and tracing their footsteps.

Joshua Booth: They couldn’t write it down but they could tell their stories painting way, where they’re from, which area. They paint about their own Country, and other person, might be next door, other mob, they’ll do theirs, like writing down a map.

NT: Even before it was Canning Stock Route it was Martu Ngurra [Country]. Lot of people used to wander around, come and meet [each other] and share stories and go back. So old people teaching those stories to young people. Not only to teach Martu young people but to teach kartiya [white people] too, to tell stories about our ngurrara [Country] on Canning Stock Route. Even before our time, and before kartiya [white people] came, and before the road [was there]. So Martu have lived and hunted in this Country before this track, this Canning Stock Route.

There’s no [other half of the] Martu story with the half of whitefella story. There’s only whitefella story and how whitefella went through and made this road. Martu, their story was there before. And to tell walypala [whitefellas] Martu stories, it’s good to have them Martu stories on the top of [the whitefella stories] because Martu Ngurra was first.

Whitefella have a map to show his family, where he’s from, but Martu draw story on the ground, and by drawing on the canvas and all the circle and line, there are the hunting area and different water and tracks where people used to walk and can’t [walk] across, like boundaries. So nowadays, you see a colourful painting and wonder what it is but that’s how Martu tell story long ago. It’s not just a lovely big painting, it’s a story and a songline and a history and everything that goes with it. And even the food, bush tucker, they used to look after it really well. And they used to burn the Country, they look after it properly. So they do all that, and those stories are in the painting too.

Kumpaya Girgaba: I don’t paint other people’s area and stories, no, only one. Canning Stock Route, that’s where I paint, my own story. I left our home, our own ngurrara [Country], and I still remember my homeland and my stories. Dreaming come from there. So when I [moved] close to my home at Parnngurr, I started doing paintings about our stories for our Ngurra [Country]. So when somebody ask, ‘Where is your Ngurra?’, I tell them, ‘My home is Canning Stock Road’.

I don’t go into other people’s area and do other people’s stories. But I do my own, where I came from, where my parents used to take me, where my grandparents area [was], where we used to hunt and go place to place, camping with my parents and grandparents. They used to take us around, to the east, to [the] west, back to the Canning Stock Road, in the middle, and north and south. We used to travel for law [ceremony] on the northern side and south. I been around everywhere, mixing up with other families, meeting up in other places, north, south, east and west.

NT: To connect all the families, to bring it all together [after] people left that area. They were all together once and then they separated, and some people left when they were young and don’t remember, and so doing painting the ngurrara [Country] they do it to remember their connections to ngurrara [Country].
When they done the road it separate all the family from that area, and some didn’t even know where the families ended up. Some Martu have long stories. Some of them went so far, and they got young ones in some other place far off. And they have to tell the families where they from. It’s good to have this Canning Stock Road Project, [because after] making road through the middle of the Martu Ngurra [Country] and just splitting it apart and now they coming back together, strong story, and putting back together to heal up.

JB: Like long time ago, old people used to have them in their heart, and now they start painting about the family. Must be how strong she is to tell stories her own way, so the grandchildren and young ones who don’t know can learn. And not only kids but young men too, so they can know their Country and pass the story to their young children. Kumpaya was telling stories not just for her own family but for everybody so they could learn.

Ngurra [Country] that they left behind was old people’s Country, for our grandparents and sisters and brothers and grandmothers, so what they doing through painting and telling stories is good for young fellas and old. Old people that we lost, that died along the Canning Stock Route, they left stories and never been told, our great great grandparents left Ngurra [Country]. They left the Country for young ones to take care of.

So people from that road, they separate and follow the Canning Stock Route, and some go to Wiluna, and other followed the road up to Fitzroy and Balgo, and the ones that left behind some wandered off different way, east west south and north. They never come back to see their Country. Now they tell the story through painting. I know this Ngurra because I grew up here, and with my old people, my great grandma and grandfather and dad, we walked around. And when I got bigger I still wandered around, and then I left the Ngurra and came to Jigalong, they left it for me to tell the young ones and paint and teach them. People out here, we used to hunt out own kuka [meat] long ago, pussycat, sand goanna, and gather seed and grind it for damper.

NT: Kartiya [White people] came and put flour and sugar and tin meat on the Canning Stock Route, and all the Martu followed that food to new places. North and south and west they followed that Canning Stock Route. Long ago they used to get food for themself.

Like people today, they got medicine and tablet. They got sugar diabetes and blood pressure and can’t hardly walk. Everything went wrong for Martu, but on those days they used to be healthy, going place to place non-stop. Healthy looking people before Canning Stock Route. They used to walk a hundred miles and no feeling weak, didn’t get tired. What they was eating in the past, no weakness, no tiredness.
By doing painting it feels good inside and your connection to one another, and you’re feeling happy about what you’re doing. It’s not just painting for money, you’re walking in the land, gathering and hunting and they feel happier. You feel good about painting, even if they on medication, they feel strong inside, strong heart that they still in their ngurrara [Country].


Video recording: 91 - Punmu, Kumpaya, Josh, Nola IV, Nov 09
Source: CSROH_164_Ngalangka_Nola_Taylor_Kumpaya_Girgaba_Joshua_Booth
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Ngalangka Nola Taylor, Kumpaya Girgaba, Joshua Booth; © FORM, transcript only

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

Name: Mantararr Rosie Williams

Rosie Williams - Early life and the Canning Stock Route [ORAL HISTORY]

Other Speaker/s: Ngalangka Nola Taylor, Morika Bilijabu

Synopsis: Rosie Williams speaks about her life, family, Dreaming, and the way she stayed away from the Canning Stock Route. Rosie also tells the story about how when the Jigalong missionaries put lice medicine in her hair, she thought they were going to chop her head off!

Date: 2009-04-01
Art centre(s):
Language spoken: Manyjilyjarra
Catalogue number: CSROH_274_Rosie_Williams
Interviewed By: Monique La Fontaine
Transcribed By: Ngalangka Nola Taylor
Translated By: Ngalangka Nola Taylor
Location Recorded: Punmu
Latitude/Longitude: -22.042865/123.120883

Cultural Protocols: Public Access - Verbal Consent
Access: Public
Notes: Fieldnotes transcribed by Monique La Fontaine and translated by Nola Taylor on the spot. Some family information was explained before the oral history began.
Full transcript: Mantararr Rosie Williams: They wandered round and lost their grandmother. My two mother from Kurtararra in Juwaliny Country, and another old grandfather, adopted them through her grandmother [became father for Rosie’s two mothers when he married their mother]. That old man, his wives went hunting and he passed away early in the morning, and all the grandson and granddaughters [Rosie’s mothers] tried to wake him up but he passed away. And mothers and fathers went hunting, leaving kids to look after him. When they came back they saw him still lying in the sun and start crying, hit ‘em self. The kids thought he was alive and just asleep when the mothers and grandmothers came back.

They left him and went to another place, south. Wawul near Lake Blanche. They stayed around and kept going to Tarl, not too far from Kutupa. And went west from there collecting kalaru – black seeds. Place called Jantinti. So they used to stay around claypan, no yinta [spring], kept on going west to Karlamilyi – lungkl [witchetty grub] place top of Rudall River. Manantayarra and Jintirinpalya – windy place. The river runs and ends in a big flood place.

Morika Bilijabu: Claypan. Good place.

MRW: And they followed along the river. There were a lot of soak and they went near Jartarr’s Country (Lily Long), Pinartipartujarra, Warnman Country. Pinarti means red seed and partu means one. And they used to eat melon, big melon.

Ngalangka Nola Taylor: One lady at Parnngurr made jam out of it, taste nice.

MRW: Melon. Piki melon we call it. Big and round like watermelon, in Warnman Country. Sweet Melon. And they met up with Warnman people and Nancy Taylor’s father and Minyau’s Dad, and Minyau’s Dad had two wives, all Warnman people.

So they left with Rosie’s mum and Beatrice’s grandmother and other two wives, [their husband went away on law business]. And five little kids and the others stayed behind. They waited [to see] if they were coming back. And so they walked around with their mothers. They used to walk and go off, and drinking from rockhole and lake. River used to be full with water. And when after rain season, when seed fall and get feed, collecting seed from trees, they grow around side of the river. And when they used to have it they used to roast it on hot coals and grind it to make it into a paste and eat it like that. Kalara [seed] yinta [waterhole] Country. Jamal seed and lungurr seed.

They stayed and they seen a man with camel. Their Dad and Karen’s husband’s father, they passed where they were – they were around the corner – Kalkun Kalkun area – west of there – then they went east, close to south west of Talbot soak. They had one whitefella with them with a camel. Rosie’s father was with him, they were looking for Rosie’s family. Kids were playing and they turned around and seen this big, they didn’t see the camel but they seen the track, and the KD’s [Karen’s] husband’s dad asked Rosie’s father to look for the kids [after he’d been away on law business]. The kids were playing, and Rosie’s father went looking for them, and as he came closer the kids heard him crying, coming towards them, crying. He had seen the tracks of his kids and he started crying. They looked around, they seen a man coming crying, coming closer, and the kids ran up the hill. The four mothers got up and saw him coming and realized it was their husband and they called his name. So he met up with four old lady and they all followed the kids up the hill and said, ‘Come back, come back, it’s your father!’ He was crying for them because he missed them. He went away before seed was falling and came back in seed season.

Four mothers and three grandmother and the husband for those mothers were there. My dad came back. He took the kids and the wives back to the place where the camels were. And they went and sat under the shade. While KD’s father in law was preparing a meal for their families, and he called out, ‘Come! Dinner’s ready.’ They came close and they were lining up naked one. KD’s father in law and Rosie’s dad were wearing clothes, travelling with walypala [white person], he was a missionary from Jigalong, Mr Lamb. KD’s father in law left the camel killer, kuka [meat they’d killed] for them. Other lot of family, Booth family, they went off with that walypala and showed that camel man where all the waterholes were. So, and our family was left behind, father, daughter and all the kids. They used to go back and forward along the Karlamilyi river, they were with other mob families – a lot of people – and their Dad wandered off, business time with Jakayu’s family. They went east all the way up the Wikirri for business.

Rosie’s mummy and another of her mothers stayed with Nancy Chapman and Minyau family, and they still had their grandmother with them. Dulcie and other kids, Baker mob, went off with her Dad. Rosie went off with Beatrice grandmother, with other two sisters. After that they stayed around, Rosie mob, and they went up again, east to where they started, Mukurtu. They went right up to Mukurtu but other mob came back to Jantinti, but Rosie mob was slowly coming down. They seen the smoke and they met up with them right in Jantinti. Together they went east towards Karlamilyi, starting again. When they went to Karlamilyi from there, Dulcies’s father and mother, they took Dulcie back kakarra [east], they were looking around for two sons. He was just looking for them trying to find them. They went with other families. But they left to collect seeds, Rosie mob, and their mother and Baker’s mum, and Beatrice Nana and one more, Mrs. Watson. Wakunya. They were all collecting seed, lungkurr and jamal. Next day when they got up early in the morning they heard Dulcie’s Mum crying and Dulcie, after they lost their Dad – they’d come back to their families after losing their husband. So they all got up crying and she came back to find her families, Dulcie’s mother. They stayed, and others start to travel, all the families, Rosie’s and others. Two grandmothers and two mummies. They went all separate [ways], Rosie’s mum took the six kids west to Wintamarra Bore [near the Talawana track on the way to Jigalong]. Four adults and six kids. They found a spring there and never moved for many years until they went to Jigalong. And they lost their two grandmothers west of Wintamarra Bore. After losing their grandmother they went back to the water place, used to be a soak and they used to hunt kangaroo with dingo, and those old two mothers/ladies used to use the spear. And mostly dog used to hunt and old lady used to get [the] kangaroo off [the] dogs – and break it up as soon as they hear dog barking. They used to waste meat, they couldn’t eat it all. Kangaroo and emu in the summertime, and the kangaroo and emu used to come in night and morning.

When the dogs went off in mating season they followed them because they couldn’t get kangaroo and emu without jarntu (dingoes). They kept on walking north towards Telfer area, past Karlamilyi, Wulpulpu. They kept on walking north to Warkulajarra. And they were getting homesick so they travelled back South to Wulpulpu [Dog Pool]. So they stayed and they met up with Nancy Taylor again. From there they went south again to Jintinmarra rockhole, yinta [spring], big one. So from there they start walking kayili (north) back to Wulpulpu, east to Yantikuji. They had to take Nancy back because husband used to be cheeky, angry one [Desmond Taylor’s Dad]. So they camped the night and next day families split up again and they went north, Nancy mob. Rosie mob went south, they camped in the middle [of those countries named above]. One mother and three sisters, Rosie and Beatrice’s mother [Rita] went another way by herself. Rosie, she went west with her mother and Phyllis and Rena. Right up to Wuruwurunya.

Beatrice mother went looking for lungki [witchetty grub], climbed up a tree, wakarnu [her calf] got scraped, deep cut. Another mob made a fire, five [people], three walking and two on horses. People was coming, they seen the smoke, they were looking for them, coming from Jigalong – they were looking for Rosie mob. They saw the smoke – Rosie mob had sent the signal in the night – so the five Martu from Jigalong, family, came looking for them. They went round, two horses round the back to stop them from running off frightened. But the other three went walking toward camp straight. But they just got up looking for lungki, Rosie and Phyllis, other two little girl sick, they went up to Nyunpa, burnt area, and Rosie had a funny feeling, got hold of little sister and said, ‘Get up!’ They thought it was a camel but it was a man on a horse. Never seen a horse before, they thought it was a camel.

Rosie grabbed hold of Phyllis and ran away to hide under a bush. And man on horse blocked them before they could run into the bush, and they ran, holding her sister running, and they turned back running other way, and when they were running they saw another man on a horse again, and Rosie said to her sister, ‘I think they got the other sisters!’ And sure enough she seen two little kids and a mum on the front of the horse. They were all frightened. Her mum was asleep back at the camp, she had little one, Rena, and she didn’t know what was going on. They ran and joined up with other two sisters. When she was back at the camp with her mum and seen, little sister Rena, seen horse, and she ran and jumped on her mum and didn’t say a word. She was shocked, [the ladies all laughed here, because Rena got such a fright that when she jumped on her mum she virtually winded her, and was speechless with terror], and mummy said, ‘What you seen?’ And mummy woke up and seen her sister coming, and children and sisters start saying, ‘This is our families. The men on yawarta (horses) they came to take us’.

So they camped the night and waited for Beatrice mother to come. Beatrice nanna went back to Wintamarra looking for Beatrice mother and she saw her with her sore leg. She piggy-back Beatrice mother [mother piggy-backing daughter], she was a big girl. They went front and waited at Wartatanya, waiting there for the other two to catch them up, Beatrice mother and grandmother. They got up in the morning and made a fire, winter time, standing up next to fire – she was looking and she saw them coming, carrying her in the back, big one. They slept the night and next day they went west Marlumalanya rock hole – big one. People used to fish in it. They stayed the night and rested. So next day they got up, Beatrice mother jumped on top of the horse because she had sore leg, with one of the mother. They left afternoon and camped sand dune. Next day they started walking north of Talawana. There was a windmill where they camped. She was walking behind with little sister and when they got close to windmill there was a billycan hanging off tree but they went past it straight to the bullock trough. But the billycan water was left for them but they went past.
Beatrice father asked them [he was on the horse], ‘where did you get the water from?’ They said this one – trough – we drank the water from the horse piti [water coolamon]! But it was bullock trough. And he turned around and said I left the water [in the billy] here for you to drink – that’s the trough for the cattle. They camped the night there, next day they start travelling again and then they got to Talyiwana [Talawana] track – used to be station. They left the family there and the two old chaps walked to the homestead and told the kartiya [white person] there. Six kids and two mother were there. They stayed in Talyiwana and kartiya went and got clothes and blanket for them. There was some people working on the station – family. They walked up to the station and got clothes and blanket. They put their clothes on and left everything they had with them there and that old girl Winta gave them apple, orange, and fruit. When they got those fruit, especially orange – they bit the orange skin and it burned them and they thought it was something else and they dig a hole and buried it. So they started from the station and walked south of 61, there was another well. Next day they travelled to another, right in the middle, and met up with Tinker family and Yupinya’s [Eubena Nampitjin’s] brother and that old man started crying and they said to themselves – who’s that man crying? Next day they camped and another day they went to Watch Point Rockhole just north of Jigalong. And next day they got to Jigalong. When they got to Jigalong they saw so many people crying and coming up to them they were huddled up in the middle, really frightened and they thought, ‘Who are those people?’ (they thought it was a mamu [devil]). They were a tight squeeze in the middle and it was their families they were frightened of. Desert families. It was a chicken wire with barbed wire and they couldn’t get in [at watch point] Rabbit Proof Fence – they were trying to go through so their old auntie Jikak showed them, ‘Go through here,’ and she pushed down the fence so they could go in. And they all arrived in Jigalong.

NNT: Sad story, when they got there couple of days later, Beatrice Nana passed away. She left three little kids and Rosie’s mum raised them up.


[Field notes taken]

Lowu Lowu [sic]: close to Nyarruri, Well 32

Yartutuma - Rosie’s family used to keep women and kids away from CSR. Frightened of walypala [whitefella] for taking women and kids. Only men used to go to CSR for kuka [meat].

Rosie’s dad had four wives. Wintuny [one of the wives, came] from Kunawarritji. Mummy from Lake Percival .

Brothers and sisters: Baker, Bert Lane, sister finish [passed away] only Baker and brother left. Dulcie, Muni [Rita- recently deceased], oldest brother finish, Phyllis, Serena, Karen, Rosie all had one father.

Another father, Rosie’s father’s brother, he robbed Wintuny to keep as one of his wives.

Dulcie’s mother
Baker’s mother
Rosie’s mother
Beatrice’s grandmother (Rita’s mother)
[4 wives]

Father’s Country: From Kunawarritji, Kinyu, Nyipil, Pangkapini

Mummy’s Country: Kurtararra – Percival Lakes.

Juwaliny side – Beatrice grandmother, Rosie’s mother

Other two wives - Manyjilyjarra.

Rosie’s family used to travel around Mukurtu – east and west of Lake Auld – Western side of CSR + Lake George.

Source: CSROH_274_Rosie_Williams
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Mantararr Rosie Williams; © 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.


Non-Indigenous name: Well 33
Historical name: Gunowaggi

Traditional knowledge: My mother used to leave us alone, my brother and I [when she went hunting]. I used to cry for my mother to carry me around, but my brother would help look after me. My brother used to carry me, leave me in the shade and wet my hair, and I would wait for my parents to come home with meat. We would wait and see my mother coming with food, and my brother would run to our parents to get the meat while I was sitting in the shade waiting.

We used to share food together as a family… My brother got sick and died and my other brother went north and passed away. I was alone. I stayed with my family and got bigger, and then I went north [to Balgo] when I was old enough to hunt for my own meat. (Nora Wompi, 2008)

This is my mother’s homeland, my grandfather’s, my uncle’s. I move back here in 1983. Kunawarritji. We just talking about homeland movement then we move up here. No houses, just a windmill. That’s how the thing started now. Later on now, stay here. And I was thinking about to start this business. It was my idea and now it’s a service station for tourist to come through. They all interested in this Country. Our Country is beautiful, magnificent, that why the tourist like it. People like it. Better place. I was living in better life in my days, just walking and walking for days, months. I know where to go. I know where the waters are. I can travel in night. Which way is the south, which way the kayili [north], which way the kakarra [east]. In the middle people’s homelands. We got a family any way where I wanna go. (Jeffrey James, 2007)

Native title area: Martu determination
Well data: 1906 quality: First class

1906 total depth (m): 9

Current total depth (m): 5

Current quality of well: Derelict, caved in

Current quality of water: Brackish, no smell

Current depth to water: 1.5

Current depth of water: 3

Total dissolved salts (ppm): 165

PH level: 7.8

PH level date: 2007
Related art centre(s): Martumili Artists

Media title: Martunmili artists at Kunawarritji
Media creator: Morika Biljabu
Date: 2008

Media description: Nora Wompi, Bugai Whylouter, Kumpaya Girgaba, and Nora Nangapa at Kunawarritji, Well 33
Media Copyright: Morika Biljabu
Format: Image
Accession ID: FORM_MIRA_B0088_0022

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: Charlie Wallabi (Walapayi) Tjungurrayi

Charlie Wallabi (Walapayi) Tjungurrayi - Travelling the Canning Stock Route, hunting camel and eating poisoned meat [ORAL HISTORY]

Synopsis: Jeffery James tells the story of Lake Disappointment.
The Ngayurnangalku (cannibals) were travelling across the Country during Jukurrpa. They had a big meeting asking whether they should stop killing people and eating them. Everyone decided that they would stop eating people, but the new born baby said 'No, keep eating them!' This split them, the Ngayurnangalku.

Date: 2007-08-07
Art centre(s): Papunya Tula Artists
Language spoken: Kukatja
Catalogue number: CSROH_12_Charlie Wallabi_Walapayi_Tjungurrayi
Interviewed By: 2007-08-07
Transcribed By: Nola Taylor
Translated By: Nola Taylor
Location Described: Kumpupirntily (Lake Disappointment)
Location Recorded: Kilykily (Well 36)
Latitude/Longitude: -22.13954/125.28315

Cultural Protocols: PUBLIC ACCESS - EDITED
Access: PUBLIC
Notes: Transcription includes some comments by transcriber.
Full transcript:
Today, I tell ‘em today. Yuwa [yes], listen to me I was at Kukapanyu. I slept there and in the morning I got up and found a track of camel. A track came and went to the kapi [water] place, so I followed the track and saw where the camel got water from a drum after rain, the rain filled it up, big rain. I then had a drink, and then I sharpened my spear and put hooks on it. I did slowly and I got up and tried, practising aiming with the spear, then I got up and followed. Kept on following for a long time, tracking it from that place Kukapanyu. I followed him and the camel stopped to rest in the sandhills. Then he got up. I followed and it was fresh track, no mouse had run over the track to cover it up it was so fresh. I followed him to Wajaparni where camel had stopped to drink. I kept on following his track I followed him south, other side of little sandhill, I saw some shape,I saw the shape of the camel it was the neck part, then he moved his head up and around, up and down, so I stopped and creeped up to the camel, went around, got really close, this far [pointing to something there] so I creeped up close and then I speared him, I got him! And then he got up spear hanging out, still in his side. I chased him round and I tried to block it, then I followed him, tracked him to the waterhole, camel kept on running and I followed him. I followed him back to Wajaparni to this little creek here so the camel fell then I got close and I speared him for a second time. And he tried to get up trying to run but he couldn’t, he fell down again on the edge of the creek trying to go up but he fell back.

So when he fell down I ran up with a stick and him with a stick until I killed him. I got a knife, knife jimarri [stone knife] I then started cutting it. I cut the tongue first, and then I cut the two shoulder and then I cut his guts, whole lot, pull the guts out and get all the stuffing out, then I left it. I then started collecting wood for fire. I lit a really big fire, then I dug a big hole in the ground and put some wood in there and lit it up. I put them meat in the hole the whole lot even the head. I put it all on in a line, stretched it out. I had a big stick I used to turn the meat over. Then I was separating the hot coals to put the meat in the hot sand. I cut a big steak from that camel and cooked it separate for myself on the edge of the coals. I waited for the meat to get cooked. And when they were ready I pulled it out one by one. So after pulling it out from the fire I went to cut all the branches to cover the meat up. To stop the crows and other birds like eaglehawks from getting into the and eating. So I carefully put more heavy wood on top of it to keep it pressed down. So I left everything and went after the people followed them where i’d left them and I brought a piece of meat to show them that I had a bigger one back in that place where id cooked it. So I caught up with lots of people in a place called Nan, so they seen me carrying something big around, big steak, they watched me carrying it there, they was happy to see me carrying something so I gave meat to them, they was happy. And then I took them back where the rest was left and showed them. So everybody had a share of meat and I grabbed myself a shoulder blade and the rest was for the others. So they went back to Nan. So we stopped to finish off the kuka [meat], stayed for a while there til we finished all the meat and we got up kept on going east. And then I went back west to the Canning Stock Road to see if there was more camel. But I seen other tracks, it was people with bullock and people on the horses. Whitefella. And I only found a tin of tin meat that was left with poison in it. We ate all that tin meat and it was poison. There was another bloke with me and we ate it all. And he said, my jamu Japapa’s son, my son, he ate all and then he felt funny, felt so funny and he was shaking like as if he was cold. So he was shaking and I was wondering why this man was shaking and I asked him why are you shaking? And even his voice sound funny, he couldn’t speak properly. He was lying down mumbling. He was feeling helpless he couldn’t move, everything went funny. So I start fixing him up with maparn [magic] trying to make him move again and talk again properly. So I done all that work on him and then I went and got a mob of wood and I went and made a big waru [fire] and left him cos he was feeling cold.

I went away and I camped in a place called Inja and next day I got up and I went hunting and I found a track of pussycat I followed him then got him, I speared him and I cooked the pussycat, gutsed it out first and cooked it, while the meat was getting cooked I got up and was walking around and went back, got the meat out and cut it in half, cut it in the middle and top and bottom parts and then cut it in half again- quartered it- so I grabbed myself a piece of one leg, I left the rest and start to eat it, just pulling out a piece like fat first and all of a sudden I heard a noise, from nowhere going, ‘BOOOI, BOOIYI, Here I am!’ And I said, ‘it’s a ghost coming!’ I left that man back there dead, poisoned. I was thinking to myself, ‘he’s come back alive as a ghost he’s going to spear me!’ I got up and got my own spear, if he does spear me I’m going to spear him back, I’ll make sure I do it. I think he’s just a ghost come alive come back for me I thought to myself and I got up and walked away and left the meat on the ground and watched him come closer and I said, ‘there’s some meat in there I cut it in quarters. And half of the kuku [meat] is for me.’ So I tell him, ‘you can have the other half,’ so he went and got half leg the ghost did. I watched him he grabbed the kuka [meat]. I was still standing when I got my piece and breaking it piece by piece and just watching, and then I took it slowly and half the kuka and I saved it for my trip. And then I asked him ‘Are you alright?’ And he answered me, ‘I’m ok. I’m good’ (so he wasn’t really a ghost) and he start talking and I said, ‘oh we both ate that funny taste of poison bad things together,’ so I asked him again, ‘are you really good? Better and good?’ He said, ‘yeah I’m really good and better.’ So we started to go together walking. So we walked all the way to Lurlur, got there, when I got to Lurlur and I told all the mans, they came to me, what had happened. They thought that I was alright, good but I was really sick from eating that poison. I told the mans because it was law time and I made them sit down to listen to me, I couldn’t go next to the ladies because I was on my business, kept away from them. But the other bloke went and told the ladies cos I couldn’t go near. Told them ‘we have eaten poison. I was almost dead when Wallabi fixed me. I was dead. But my uncle Wallabi fixed me.’ Cos I was his uncle had to fix him, I done everything on him I fixed him all up. All the man kept me out they start singing to bring me out, corroboree. And I stayed longer, I was still away from the ladies. I used to a lot of hunting I used to get so many kuka, malu [wallaby meat] snake and all, I used to feed a lot of mans, pussycat, goanna, mutijurrpu [XX-bandicoot], juntutarrka [XX - translation needed], all those kuyi that was around long ago, everywhere. I watched them disappear. See a lot of kuka when I was young hunting but now it’s disappeared.

Then I remember my homeland, everybody else getting land for each other ngurra [Country, home], so I went up to kakarra east, to Pupanya, Papunya, I met other people there, a lot of people, and I asked them quietly and I went west to Mt Lieberg Yamunturrkurr , so we had meeting there and I said I’m just waiting on you to go, I wanted to listen a bit more so I could go back to ngurra, my Country Kiwirrkura. We went, they took me to Kiwirrkurra and I stayed longer. We burnt everything, burning the Country and then I went back to Yamunturrkurr, and I stayed a while then I packed all my things and put it on a motorcar and went back to Kiwirrkurra. I left all my things then I went back to Yamunturrkurr by walking, too far. And I asked them to take me to Balgo. They took me on the aeroplane to Balgo. So I tell everybody, tell my wife in Balgo, I was alright, I even stayed and travelled round on my own with others, its good. So then I got all my family and I got on a motorcar and went back to Kintore. We camped there a night and then we start travelling east to Yamunturrkurr. We camped a night and then we start travelling back to Kiwirrkurra. So we stayed long time in Kiwirrkurra. There was no houses there only humpies. I told my wife and family I burned up my country and left it clean. So we start another trip to Ninmi Puntujarrpa, I told a whitefella take me up there and put a bore down, I showed him. So next day they went there and they were digging up the ground and they put that bore down at Nyinmi and Puntujarrpa and houses. So I told him to dig down to get plenty of kapi [water]. One had windmill and the other had hand pump. So I plant that tree as well and I tasted the water. I was surprised to see how the water was just shooting out , how that machine, pump could make it come out like that [new way, because old time you have to dig it out and wait hours and do it in stages to get a good drink]. Then I asked them, I used to talk to the money bosses on the radio, asking to put houses there at Nyinmi. I was just living in calico humpies and I was pushing for houses, I’m just living in a humpy. So all that work I did, kartiya came and they said ‘Oh we going to put two or three houses there’. And I said, ‘Don’t have to be big, can be little small one house’. So we waited around til the houses were built, we arranged for us to have a house, a stronger one than humpy. Now that I got a house I was happy with it. I’m happy here and even told my family I’m going to live here for a long time with my families. And in future we might have to keep asking for more houses so other families can come and live here. If Kiwirrkurra got more houses we might ask for more …. [he talking more about wanting more houses and trying to get government give them but he’s still happy with couple] … I got these houses so other people can come, people from other communities can come and stay with the families, stay the night or when they pass through. I was talking pushing people [with Martu and other puntu [men] talking to kartiya] til I got houses put in two places, Kiwirrkurra and Nyinmi…

[There is a little bit more about houses and carpenter building them. Then John asks more about poison story- whether that poison was put down for dingo or puntu?]

[He put that poison down] for me not dingo. You know why because of me killing the camel, that’s why he put that poison on that kuka. I been follow him from Kukapanyu to wajaparni and I killed that camel. Camel belonged to kartiya. I followed him and speared him and followed him back to the creek here and cooked it and cooked everything, head and everything and steaks for myself, cooked all night. The meat that I took I showed everybody and shared and told them I got more left [injanu]. I showed everybody, man and woman and young and old. I had to bring the whole family back to get more … [more of same] after we left, all those stockman they came looking for their camel they tracked it, so they seen big fire place where that camel been cooked and killed and eaten – it was a working camel got cooked. So they wondered what happened to that camel and they were shocked to see that camel was dead and got cooked and eaten. So they had a meeting with kartiyas, the Martu trackers, and they talked about what they gotta do and how they gotta stop the Martu from taking camel and bullock so they decide they could kill a camel, cut it up and dry it and put poison on the meat. They put poison on anything on the road so that Martu could eat it but they never know that Martu could fix themselves. They didn’t know anything. Stockman used to leave meat killed for bushmen so Martu didn’t expect this meat to be poisoned – they trusted the meat left by drovers. They could eat anything, they thought it was good but really it was poison because Martu was killing working animal. But that’s what they did and that’s why I accidentally ate that poison. Many tin meat he could open it and leave it open with a poison inside, that kartiya. Plenty of tin meat he’d put around everywhere.

So kartiya decide after meeting they had they was told that they could put poison in every spot and every places what Martu could come and take it and every time they have to open many tin meat and leave it in many places with poison. So they did left lots and lots of tin meat and I came back for a second time with my nephew I saw a lot of tin meat, most of the tin meat open one and then I start to eat. So that’s when we start to eat. [He repeats story from beginning to explain how he ate poison and why kartiya left it there]

After eating all that camel we had that tin meat, other bloke said to me shall we go drink a water now? And I said no I’m ok you go and drink, and he went and had a drink and he came back and he could feel the poison working on him spreading in his system. So me and my nephew start to walk and he couldn’t walk he felt so funny and cold and start to shake on the edge/side of these dunes. So I start to work on him with maparn to stop the poison from spreading further towards the heart and everywhere. I was worried and made a big fire to stop the shaking. I thought it was something else to make him cold, sickness, not poison. I made one big fire and I left him and went east. [same story continues as earlier in transcript- re pussycat, ghost etc]. wurru wurru, the ghost was going to kill me spear me and I was scared. So I asked him when he got closer, Are you ok? Are you good? He said he’s ok so I said well get yourself some kuka- half is mine half for you. Then I stopped and watched him eating I didn’t start eating I watched how he was going with that kuka [to see if he was a real man or ghost might be]. I thought to myself I think he’s ok so I started eating and I break the half for myself and I started eating. So after when we had our meat together we started walking east and went and joined the others. When we got back to the people we told them we got poisoned – that poisoner is the murderer! But still today I’m still around after having that poison! I’m still alive. That’s why I been travel right here. And kill that camel right here [at Wajaparni]. So after eating poison that was enough getting rubbish into my body, not to eat it anymore, and even camel, I didn’t eat it anymore.


Source: CSROH_12_Charlie Wallabi_Walapayi_Tjungurrayi
Rights: © Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Charlie Wallabi (Walapayi) Tjungurrayi; © 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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