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Natawalu: the Helicopter Story

Story:Many of the people from the Western Desert followed the stock route out of the desert once the drovers began moving through the Country. Following the stock route to find things beyond the desert, many people settled in cattle stations or missions.

However, in 1957 'Helicopter' Tjungurrayi left the desert in a very different way. As a child he was seriously ill when a mining survey party landed their helicopter near his community near Natawalu. His mother’s sister Kupunyina (Kumpaya Girgaba’s mother) was also suffering from an ulcerated spear wound. Knowing about the mission at Balgo their relatives encouraged the survey crew to take them for medical attention.The kartiya [white people] flew him Balgo to get medical attention. When he failed to return his family travelled north in groups to find him.
 
First Walapayi then Brandy walked north to Balgo. Both eventually returned south, following the stock route wells, to bring their relatives back with them to the mission. Helicopter Tjungurrayi has been known by this name for so long, he can no longer remember what he was called before.

'My young brother [Helicopter] was so sick; he had sores everywhere and he was helpless, a little boy. I grabbed my little brother and showed them. So kartiya [white people] looked at his sores and said, "OK, we’ll take him", because he was so sick. So I asked the kartiya, "Are you going to bring him back?" He was speaking his language and I was speaking my language. I kept on saying, "Are you going to bring him back?" I waited, waited, waited for long and I wondered, "They’re not bringing him back!" Nothing. It was getting a bit longer, and I said to myself, I think I’ll go after him north. From there I kept walking right, long way, all the way to Balgo.' (Charlie Wallabi (Walapayi) Tjungurrayi, 2007)

Media Creator:Nicole Ma

Media date: 2010
Story Location: Natawalu (Well 40)
-21.66779/125.78843

Media Description:Josephine Nangala recounts the first time she saw a helicopter, and the story of Helicopter Joey Tjungarrayi being taken by helicopter to Balgo for medicine.

Story contributor(s): John Carty, Helicopter Joey Tjungurrayi, Charlie Wallabi (Walapayi) Tjungurrayi, Josephine Nangala

Art Centre(s): Warlayirti Artists
Publisher: FORM
Media copyright: FORM
Accession ID:20131024_FORM_MIRA_B0046_0004

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.

Nyarna

Non-Indigenous name: Lake Stretch

Traditional knowledge: My father Jimmy James and my mother Jinny James, they both took me [down the Canning Stock Route]. I was small then. They been take me with camel. From this place, Billiluna, we went droving. We were taking goats for the drovers as meat when they were droving cattle. We went straight down on the Canning Stock Route. Past Kaningarra. Long way from there. Camping along the way.

Every night we used to make yards out of wood and big grass for the goats, so they can’t get away, then herded them in for the night. In the mornings we gave them water from the wells and kept on going. Me, they put me in a box on a camel. I was only a little girl then. We were having dinner somewhere and these kartiyas [white people] came, all the camel man. I got scared from seeing those camels. My mum said, ‘Look out manga [girl], camels are coming!’ I ran. I didn’t see that goanna hole. I tripped over and broke my leg. That mob that came with the camels had a nurse with them too. They put two sticks on my broken leg and then wrapped it with bandage. It was broken. They put that on me…

Then we had to come back from there, from half way, because those kartiyas told us to take the goats back to Nyarna [Lake Stretch]. We came back from there with those goats. Right back to here, Nyarna. (Mayarn Julia Lawford, 2007)

-19.678485/127.588112
Related art centre(s): Other

Media title: Tom at Lake Stretch
Media creator: Tim Acker
Date: 2007

Media description: Putuparri Tom Lawford at Nyarna (Lake Stretch)
Media Copyright: FORM
Format: Image
Accession ID: FORM_MIRA_B0088_0036

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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