Browse by

Browse by art centre


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.

Name: Ngilpirr Spider Snell

Ngilpirr Spider Snell - Kurtal story and Kinki [ORAL HISTORY]

Synopsis: Spider tells the story of Kurtal, where he came from and his journey during Jukurrpa (Dreaming). Spider then tells his own story, about being left at Kurtal,and being one of his lightnings. His mother found him there as a snake and that is where he was born. He grew up there and would go hunting. He brother drank from the water at Kurtal and was grabbed by the snake and pulled into the water, he let him go. Kurtal is quiet now, Spider is the only one looking after him now. He went from Kurtal to Billiluna, where he was initiated and he finished law at Wangkatjungka.He married Dolly when they were young and they still live with each other. Finally Spider tells the Kinki story.

Date: 11/16/2007
Art centre(s):
Language spoken: Wangkajunga, Walmajarri
Catalogue number: CSROH_52_Ngilpirr_Spider_Snell
Interviewed By: John Carty
Translated By: Putuparri Tom Lawford
Location Described: Kurtal
Location Recorded: Fitzroy Crossing
Latitude/Longitude: -18.17/125.59

Access: PUBLIC
Full transcript:
I am jila. I will tell you about jila, I’m talking about Kurtal jila [ancestral being, and spring]. Rain came, a big one, in the early days. It rained for a while, a big rain. After the rain, grasses started to grow. That was him, the grass that began to grow, purrun purrun [grass] we call it. From the grass he turned into a man. Kurtal turned into a man from the grass, purrun purrun. From all that grass he grew into a man. From there he sent a kutukutu [rain-bearing cloud] but it came back. He sent it again, it still came back. He sent it again, this time north, it still came back, that cloud kutukutu. To the east he sent another cloud [kutukutu]. This time it didn’t come back. The cloud went into his own Country, Kurtal, and it went into the waterhole. From a grass he became a man. From there he said, ‘Kurtal wanyjurla wanyjurla’ [He’s singing here: Kurtal, where are you?] He called himself Kurtal. Kurtal is big. He is very big. From there he went to a place called Japingka. Japingka is another jila [ancestral being, and spring] too; Japingka gave him some sacred objects.

From there he went off again past Karlijita [St. George Ranges]. He came to a place call Mangunampi, [a place near Yakanarra] another jila [ancestral being]. He was there with that jila for a while. From there he took off again heading towards Broome, he been travel there. He arrived at Broome and had a rest there for a while. After hanging around at Broome he took off again, heading up the coast. He arrived at another jila called Jintirripil [somewhere near One Arm Point]. He stayed with Jintirripil for a while there. Jintirripil told Kurtal to stay with him near the sea. Kurtal tricked him saying, ‘Yes, I’ll stay with you’.

Jintirripil then told Kurtal to look for anther jila [ancestral being] call Paliyarra [near Nookanbah] because Paliyarra stole sacred objects that belonged to him and he wanted them back. Kurtal set off to find Paliyarra. After finding Paliyarra he went hunting, killing bush animals and cooking them up. He gave them to Paliyarra. Paliyarra knew what he was there for: to steal back the sacred objects he stole from Jintirripil. From there he told Kurtal, tricking him, ‘I haven’t got what you came here looking for.’ [Singing:] ‘Ngajirta Pa Mintirr Mintirr.’ He told him he got nothing. Kurtal could see through him, he could see lighting flashing inside him all that time he was telling him, ‘I can’t give you anything.’ From there he set his dogs onto Kurtal. They bit him all over. He ran around Paliyarra with the dogs after him, tripping him over. They both fell down, Paliyarra spilling the stolen objects onto the ground. Kurtal kicked them objects towards his home, into his waterhole, all them objects they used to make rain with, the same objects we still make rain with, but I am only one left now. I don’t know how I got to do it now, maybe with my grandsons.
With the dogs still chasing him he took off running, heading north to a place called Pinykurrngu [don’t know where this place]. On top of a hill he had a rest for while there, away from the dogs because he was bitten. After that he went to another waterhole called Kunjurrpung [not far from Ngumpan]. He had a look around to see if he had any objects with him for Kurtal to steal but he had none. After talking to that jila he went on his way. He came to another jila [Spider doesn’t know the name of this one], they sat down and had a chat. Kurtal went hunting for that jila. That’s what they did in the Dreamtime, to kill feed for another person. We still do that today but in the law way. After having a feed that other jila told him the same thing: he got nothing, no objects. [Singing:] ‘Ngajirta Pa Mintirr Mintirr’. He could look through him and seen lightning flashing inside him. Kurtal then made willy willies [whirlwinds] come up around them then. They all became one big willy willy and it covered them both with dust. They couldn’t see. The other jila didn’t know what was going on. With fright he dropped his objects on the ground. Kurtal kicked them towards his Country, Kurtal. Into the waterhole, they went. Yuwa [yes].

Kurtal took off again, this time north. He came to a hill and had a rest there on top, looking around where he’s going to steal the next stuff from. He climbed down and went to a place called Kilalaparri [at Christmas Creek]. He sat down there with that jila [ancestral being] and then all this little men, Murungkurr, came out of the ground and started attacking him. He was killing them with his lightning. Off he went again to another jila [Spider doesn’t know this one either]. This time he stole everything from him, all the rain-making stuff. He took them all with him till he came to Kaningarra. That jila Kaningarra was waiting for him. Kurtal and Kaningarra are yalpurru [were born at the same time]. They’re mates. Kaningarra told Kurtal, ‘Let’s lay down here then we can be together.’ Kurtal, tricking him, said, ‘You lie down over there and I’ll lay down here.’ Kaningarra then went into the ground and turned into a snake, kalpurtu [rainbow serpent], and today that waterhole Kaningarra is still there. Kurtal kept on going, carrying all them stolen objects in a coolamon to his Country. He was slowly getting weak. He fell down on one knee and that place we call it Tujulu. He then started to crawl towards his waterhole. He crawled inside with all his stolen objects for good. He went inside and turned into a snake, and he is there today, at his home, Kurtal. That’s the song ‘Kurtal wanyjurla wanyjurla’ we sing. That’s Kurtal, that’s where he went inside for good. He sent up a kutukutu [rain-bearing clouds] like the ones I made at the water hole. He his still there, even to this day.

[Now Spider is telling his story.]

I am from there. That’s where Kurtal left me. He left me and my wife Dolly [Snell], and her brothers and Mosquito, Johnny Mosquito, my brother. Kurtal put them there. And Wiyli Wiyli, my son [Richard Tax]. He put everybody there, that Kurtal. Kurtal left me further up north. I am one of his lightnings.

There was a big storm, lighting everywhere, big rain. From that place my parents found me. I was a snake, a water snake. My mother saw me and was coming up to me, creeping me up, I saw her coming and laid down for her. She hit me, killing me and she pulled me out of the ground from my ribs. She then lit a fire to cook me. She covered me in hot coals and ash. Then all of a sudden there was water where she had me cooking. Water and a tiny snake. She then threw that tiny snake away saying, ‘What happened to that big snake I had cooking here? Did it turn into water too?’ Then I was born right there at Kurtal. That little snake was my Dreaming. I was a kid at Kurtal. My mother and father went hunting sometimes for two or three days or more. I was there alone, and at night I would say, ‘Kurtal, look after me. I am alone, my parents haven’t came back yet. Can you look after me?’

In the mornings I would get up, go hunting. I was a good hunter when I was a kid, killing all kinds of animals in the desert. I used to cook them near the waterhole, chucking bones in the water. I was a good child when I was a kid, looking after my own self, and then my parents would return. Kurtal is cheeky. He doesn’t let any animals drink water. He’ll swallow them up. One time me and my brother went to have a drink. I drank first, then him. Next thing he went into the water! That snake grabbed him! I was scared. I ran to tell the old men who were sitting under a tree, calling out, ‘There’s a kid in the water! That snake got him! He swallowed him! Come and get him out!’ They all got up carrying axes with them. They ran to the waterhole saying, ‘Let him go or we will chop you up!’ From there Kurtal let him out alive. He kept him inside there for a while then spewed him out. He’s my brother. He was okay. Then they picked him up and took him to a shady tree. He’s a cheeky bugger. He don’t let anything drink water, that Kurtal, man, wanya [featherfoot/sorcerer], devil, anything. He’ll just chuck you in the water and swallow you up. Cheeky bugger.

Today he’s finished now. Nothing now. He’s quiet. He’s got no people left now, all his mob all gone. I am the only one visiting and looking after him now. Everybody all passed away now, all the old people that belong to Kurtal. Wilyi Wilyi Mosquito, my brother who died in Adelaide, the whole lot, all finished now. He’s only seeing me now, looking after him. Only one. Today Kurtal is full of water. Everywhere, it’s flooded. We went there recently. I had a swim there.

I haven’t got that story for Kinki and I never seen camels in the Stock Route. I went from Kurtal to Billiluna. I was initiated at Billiluna. I stayed there for a while finishing my law, the law that belongs to them old people. Then I went to Wangkatjungka, then I finished everything there. They told me, ‘You’ve finished your law now. You are a law man.’ I was a young fella then. I didn’t have a wife then. Because I’ve finished my law, my lamparr and yumari [father in law and mother in law] gave me Jukuja [Dolly Snell] as my wife. They gave Jukuja to me when she was a young girl. We lived together until we got old, still today. I had no trouble. We lived a good life.
I know about a white man who got killed at Natawalu [Well 40] and there’s another two that got killed at Lampu [Well 49]. One, he’s buried there. That kartiya [white man] shot that other kartiya. We were all bushmen then when that two kartiya killed each other. There’s a grave for one of them at Lampu. That fella at Natawalu speared that kartiya and then that kartiya shot him with a 44 maybe.

[Kinki story]

Little story I’ll tell you: Old man kartiya [white man] came. I don’t [know] where he came from, they shot and killed old man Kinki, and his daughter as well. They salted them and gave them to us at Jikarn [Well 50]. We thought it was goat meat. They killed them. We ate him. That old fella. My old man (that’s what I called him: father). We had a good feed. We didn’t know it was a human. We boiled some in a billycan. All that time we were thinking it was goat meat. We all ate them. Nothing was left. We thought it was goat we were eating but it was old man Kinki, poor fella. It wasn’t good meat. It had no fat and it tasted horrible. But we still ate it. They killed him and his daughter at Kaningarra. They cut them up and salted them. We ate my old man and my sister. We ate em all up. Finished. Wali [that’s all].

Source: CSROH_52_Ngilpirr_Spider_Snell

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.


Story:Before Kurtal turned into an ancestral snake being and entered the 'living water' or permanent spring that bears his name, he was a man. In the words of Kurtal boss Ngilpirr Spider Snell: 'A big rain came. After the rain, grasses started to grow. From the grass Kurtal turned into a man.'

'Kurtal travelled to Jintirripil, a jila near the sea, who asked him to stay for good. Tricking him, Kurtal agreed. Jintirripil told Kurtal to find the jila Paliyarra, who had stolen his sacred objects.

'Paliyarra knew that Kurtal had come to steal back Jintirripil’s objects. He told Kurtal he didn’t have them but Kurtal could see the lightning flashing inside him. Paliyarra set his dogs onto Kurtal. Badly bitten, Kurtal tripped over Paliyarra, who spilled the objects on the ground. Kurtal kicked them towards his jila.

'Kurtal stole more objects from other jila, then went to visit his friend Kaningarra. Kaningarra asked Kurtal to stay with him there forever. Tricking him, Kurtal agreed, saying, "You lie down over there and I’ll lay down here.” Kaningarra went into the ground, turning into a snake, and Kurtal took off for his country.

'Getting weak, Kurtal crawled inside his waterhole with all his stolen objects and turned into a snake.

'That’s the song "Kurtal wanyjurla wanyjurla" we sing. He sent up a kutukutu [rain bearing cloud] like the ones I made at Kurtal.'

This is Kurtal's song:

'In the north-west I saw leaping fish sparkling in the sunlight. Carrying the sacred object I wade through the water. The waves carry me down to the depths. In the north-west I saw a seagull. The seagull was speaking. I saw lightning flickering in the north; I was the rain cloud. I am Kurtal. I bring the meat and make the country fruitful. The wind is wild, the lightning flickers in the sky. Up there Kaningarra is crying. The wind roars. I am Kaningarra, the great rock. Look to the south. That flat ground is sloping now. Who is that coming after me? I am a maparn [magic man] but I’m losing my powers. Look to the west. See his headdress.' (Ngilpirr Spider Snell)

Media Creator:Tim Acker

Media date: 2008
Story Location: Kurtal

Media Description:Kids all ready to perform Kurtal. Majarrka Workshop at Ngumpan Community.

Story contributor(s):Karen Dayman, Monique La Fontaine, Ngilpirr Spider Snell

Art Centre(s): Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre, Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency
Publisher: FORM
Media copyright: FORM
Accession ID:20131024_FORM_MIRA_B0046_0001

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, Lake Stretch, 2007

Location: Nyarna Lake Stretch

Date: 8/16/2007

Event Description: In July and August 2007, around 60 artists from seven art centres travelled along the stock route documenting their stories and painting their Country in workshops held along the route. The last of these was at Nyarna, Lake Stretch, near Billiluna. Many new artworks were produced at Nyarna and the first Canning Stock Route 'exhibition' was held here on the shores of the Lake. A number of dances were also performed as part of the final celebrations at the culmination of this trip.

People: Putuparri Tom Lawford, Monique La Fontaine, Karen Dayman

Art Centre(s): CSR Project

Media Description: Artworks displayed at the Nyarna, Lake Stretch Artists Camp. Canning Stock Route bush trip 16- 18 August 2007.

Rights: Photo by Tim Acker

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, Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre, Mangkaja, Martumili, Ngurra, Papunya Tula, Paruku IPA, Warlayirti and Yulparija artists and art centres.

Name: Murungkurr Terry Murray

Murungkurr Terry Murray - Family connections and CSR Proejct [ORAL HISTORY]

Synopsis: Murungkurr Terry Murray tells some stories about the artists connected to the Canning Stock Route. He speaks of personal family connections to the Great Sandy Desert, and how art can express feeling and show the Aboriginal side of the story. He thinks the Canning Stock Route Project has a 'strong and friendly approach' with a balance of Aboriginal and European perspectives. Terry also speaks about learning from Wally Caruana and how is happy to be a part of the Canning Stck Route team.

Date: 2008-04-10
Art centre(s):
Language spoken: English
Catalogue number: CSROH_194_Terry_Murray
Interviewed By: Nicole Ma
Location Recorded: Old Masonic Hall, Nedlands
Latitude/Longitude: -31.98/115.8

Cultural Protocols: Public Access - Verbal Consent
Access: Public
Full transcript: Nicole Ma: What’s different between the first CSR project and this one?

Murungkurr Terry Murray: Well, um … the first time we had to work with the nine art centres to bring in painting about what happened in the Canning Stock Route. Like the history side and also, um, what artists and family members around the stock route.

NM: How did they do that?

MTM: Well um … we work closely with the nine different art centre. With Hayley Atkins that works in Newman, and me in Fitzroy Crossing with Mangkaja Arts and also with Carly and Mon visiting all these other Art Centre – like Warlayirti [?] Art and …

NM: So did you travel around?

MTM: Um … I didn’t travel on the Canning Stock Route but I helped in that, um, on the top end with Mangkaja artists and the Wangkajunga artists that relate back to the Canning Stock Route.

NM: Do you have a connection with the CSR?

MTM: Well, um, most of my family are more in really central, Great Sandy Desert. But my mum and family members are connected to different family groups that are in the Canning Stock Route. But, like, in those early days they used to hunt and gather and trade different objects and … also, um, yeah just visiting different waterhole and come to ceremony time, like different ceremony in different areas and …

NM: And did that happen around the stock route?

MTM: Yeah … in the Canning Stock Route. There’s a lot of history, good side and bad side. But most, I think the top part of the Canning Stock Route, to Well 33, is in the Great Sandy Desert area, that most of my family members are familiar people coming from different areas and meeting them at different waterhole – jilas, we call them.

NM: So the Canning Stock Route goes through more than one desert.

MTM: Yeah, bout four or five desert. And yeah um … Canning Stock Route is, yeah, made up of about four or five different desert and about six or seven language in the … in the five different, in the Western Australia, from Halls Creek down to Wiluna.

NM: So your family is part of one of the deserts?

MTM: My family is more right in the central Great Sandy Desert, but, I was involved in helping this project in other different ways of how we look at art work and dancing and ceremonies and other way of … how, um, yeah, Aboriginal people in Australia are expressing the feeling through art and different way of getting their … the wider of Australia and the public to know where they’re from and how they’re connected to land … themself.

NM: Do you think this project is important?

MTM: Yeah, um, this project is really important to the Aboriginal side of … way of looking at the history and the European side of looking at their history. How Canning and different tribes and family in the Canning Stock Route were involved in making all this well.

NM: Can you talk about what you’re learning?

MTM: Well I’m learning to um, how you’re looking at making it a strong … strong way of looking at … the both different history, like the European side and the Aboriginal way of telling that history in a more public and a friendly approach to how in the earlier days that Eurpoean meeting Aboriginal people and Aboriginal tribes seeing European people for the first time and how … you know, we, now we’re living in two different culture. The modern way of living and the traditional way, and now it’s … you know, the change in our lives, the younger generation, that we have to tell the story.

NM: What do the paintings have to do with the project?

MTM: Well, the painting tell the story about how different tribes lived in this big area, the Canning Stock Route, and also how they related to different language groups, different family grouping, and how in those days we didn’t have all this technology and all this … you know, how we come together in … you know, in all these different waterholes and jila [ancestral being-snake] and also how … the painting tell the story how we are really expressing our feeling and what is in our mind, and how to tell the story about what really happened in those days. And how, the Canning Stock Route came to all these different wells and waterholes and how Aboriginal people reacted in different ways of telling the story through their art

NM: What reasons are you using to choose the paintings?

MTM: Well the reason is to get much … much work from different areas to get that history, in the good way and the bad way and the sad way and the good stories and how … tribes and Aboriginal people were affected in those area of the Canning Stock Route.

NM: Difference between last time and this time? What have you learnt?

MTM: Well, um, last year we started to um … yeah come to Perth to meet the team. And started to talk to all these art centre about how this Canning Stock Route’s gonna be, um, showing them the history of how all this nine art centre … of how these Aboriginal people are … like, associated with the Canning Stock Route and which family members and tribal members and the language groups of how we … yeah, putting a possible together, like each piece. It’s still early stages of how we are looking at this whole show.

NM: So what’s the difference between last time and what’s happening this time?

MTM: Well, the last time it was like the starting point but now we are getting into how the setup’s going to be, of the exhibition. And how we got, like from Well 1 to 51, how we’ve got really strong works and oral history and 3D stuff that surrounds the Canning Stock Route. And it’s, yeah, it’s been a while from last year, that it was the starting point to go out and talk to all these art centres and all these language groups and … you know, it’s still early days that we are getting more information, and the team is getting stronger as we progress throughout this year. So it’s coming along slowly but we just taking as much we can get and how the team’s gonna set it out and how we still moving round the works … like, the painting itself, how we … you know there’s more stronger works come in, or are we going to bring work back in, or if maybe family members been missing out. So we have to still, um, we’re still in the starting of the stage, like how to get more into the stories and the artwork.

NM: What was the process? Was there a structure?

MTM: Oh well we just … well we’ve got 170 works in total, we just trying to bring out the best work and stories and oral history and we started to get a clear picture of where we are heading.

NM: What’s the method you use to look at a painting?

MTM: Well, um, I’ve got two of the young curators working beside me, like I’m a young curator as well, and the help of one of our main man Wally Caruana. So he’s, yeah, the team is really strong and looking at all these works. So it’s … yeah, it’s been fun and sometimes it’s a bit hard but we have to go through all this work and bring out the best and looking at both sides, the Aboriginal side and the European side of things, how do we bring out the message, of you know, the history of the Canning Stock Route.

NM: What has Wally taught you?

MTM: Well, Wally he’s, yeah, um, really important to this exhibition and he’s been working in the art world for many years and he’s … yeah, I’ve learnt a lot by … yeah, he’s giving us information, how you go about setting things up the right way and how, you know, we’re just learning as it goes along to the lead up to the, in another two years, we’re getting all this information and training and how we’re gonna show this, all this history of the Canning Stock Route and … you get that feeling working how with somebody that’s been working strongly with artwork and Aboriginal history … that the team is, you know … I’m really happy that I’m part of this team and yeah, it’s been a stepping stone and a learning point for me.


Video recording: Tape 10, Tape 11
Source: CSROH_194_Terry_Murray
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Murungkurr Terry Murray; © 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: Jukuja Dolly Snell

Jukuja Dolly Snell - Mulan, hiding from kartiya, and painting [ORAL HISTORY]

Synopsis: Dolly Snell tells how she was born in Kurtal and walked up to Mulan where there were no houses. She talks about how her mother told to hide from white men in a creek bed, and also told her she couldn't eat the sheep of white men. She then talks about how she started painting when she moved to Fitzroy Crossing. Dolly finishes by telling how you have to light a fire when going to Kurtal to let jila know you're coming.

Date: 2007-11-16
Art centre(s):
Language spoken: Wangkajunga
Catalogue number: CSROH_51_Jukuja_Dolly_Snell
Interviewed By: John Carty
Translated By: Putuparri Tom Lawford
Recorded by: Carly Davenport
Location Recorded: Fitzroy Crossing
Latitude/Longitude: -18.17/125.59

Cultural Protocols: Public Access - Restrictions on Use
Access: Public
Notes: The original recording of this oral history is damaged.
Full transcript: Jukuja Dolly Snell: Yeah, I was born at Kurtal. My parents kept us there, me and my three brothers. I only had three brothers. The oldest passed away at Kupartiya. He was the boss of that jila [spring] Kurtal, and the other two, they finished up here in Fitzroy [Crossing]. Then we left Kurtal, my mother, me and my oldest brother. We left them other mob behind. My other mother was looking after them. We camped half way in the morning, we set off again.

There was no house at Mulan then. My mother took us to Jalyiwan, a place not far from where Mulan is now. My mother told me, ‘daughter there’s a whitefella on a horse coming!’ I ran and hid in a creek bed. My mother was still sitting there. After he left she went and got me from my hiding place, telling me, ‘He’s gone now, that man, let’s keep walking’. We went to Pankupiti. There was a big camp there with people. They were looking after cattle and sheep. I told my mother, ‘Can you kill that animal with woolly hair?’ It was a sheep. That animal that goes ‘maaaa, maaaa’. ‘Can you kill that for me Mum? I’m hungry.’ ‘I won’t kill it,’ she said, ‘it belongs to the white man. No.’ ‘But I’m hungry!’ I said. She said, ‘No. I am taking you away.’

We went north and we arrived at Balgo in the afternoon. We stayed at Balgo for a while, a good while. After that we took off again heading west. We came to Warnku. My mother, my brother and I. We camped there. In the morning my sister Woggagia gave me a digging stick. She told me, ‘Let’s go digging for bush tucker, mangarri [food] called mulaynpa.’ ‘What is mulaynpa?’ I said. ‘See that tree over there? That’s mulaynpa [an edible root],’ she said. We dug up plenty that day. My sister said, ‘Let’s go to Sturt Creek. There’s plenty of tucker there at Sturt Creek. There’s a big water there.’ We were collecting bush tucker around the water’s edge. After collecting enough we went back to Warnku. After a while we left Warnku and went to a place called Putalja. From Putalja we went to Louisa Downs.

We stayed at Louisa for a while until a man called Billy Cox came. He said, ‘Who are you mob and where did you mob come from?’ He was speaking in English. We didn’t know what he was talking about because we couldn’t understand. There was only a few of us ladies and two man who walked into Louisa Downs Station. We had no English then. We came in from the bush. Billy Cox gave us rations and we went walking towards Kupartiya. We stayed at Kupartiya and that kartiya [white person] gave us jobs. We stayed and worked there. We were looking after the goats and milking them and we took them goats to old Kupartiya. We kept them there for a while and then we took them back to Kupartiya. After a while that manager left the station. We all then went to Kurungal [Christmas Creek, Wangkatjungka]. We stayed there for good.

We worked there in the station doing anything for the white man. I was working in the stock camps. My brother told me, ‘I’m going back to Kupartiya.’ My other two brothers were with us at Kurungal. That was the last time I saw my brother. He died at Kupartiya a while after. We all moved to Fitzroy then. I’m living here now. I never went back to Kurungal. I came here for good. In Fitzroy we started to paint. I paint my Country that I left in the bush. Daisy Andrews and I were the first two to start painting. We went to school. These mob here are painting now. We were the first ones to paint. I paint my Country my jila [Kurtal, a permanent spring inhabited by an ancestral snake being]. We took our kids to Kurtal not long ago. We showed them the jila. They saw it for the first time. These mob that go in the front are Tom Lawford and Spider [Snell].

They are the boss for that jila now.

When you go there you have to light a fire so that jila [Kurtal] can know you’re coming. He smells that smoke and he knows that people are coming to visit him. Well, Spider taught everybody for Kurtal. Kartiya [white people], and all our kids, and everybody. Them three now, Tom Lawford, Tommy May and Spider, they are the boss. They taught all our kids and other people. They’re the ones who light that fire to let the jila [ancestral snake being which inhabits Kurtal] know we coming. He’s not cheeky. He’s quietened down now. You can go and camp there on top the sand hill, and you can see that jila down the bottom. You can camp at Kutukutu [the name of two sandhills]. There’s two Kutukutu there. One on this side and the other on that side and the water in the middle.

Nyamu [finished] now.


Source: CSROH_51_Jukuja_Dolly_Snell
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Jukuja Dolly Snell; © FORM, transcript only

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


Story:Wirnpa the proper boss. Rich. Too many money. Kartiya [white people] can’t get that. We got snake, jila. Can’t touch.' (Jawarta Donald Moko, 2007) Wirnpa was one of the most powerful of the jila men and the last to travel the desert before entering the jila, which bears his name, becoming a snake. Wirnpa’s adventures are celebrated in songs and stories of many language groups. Today, many of these people worry about proposals to mine the country around Wirnpa. Wirnpa was a rainmaker and the last of the jila men to walk around the desert in the Jukurrpa (the Dreamtime). After travelling far from his home, Wirnpa came back to search for his many children only to discover that they had already died. They had laid down and turned into the waterholes of the Percival Lakes. Wirnpa wept for his children and then turned into a snake and entered the waterhole that bears his name. Aboriginal people from language groups across the Western Desert know Wirnpa jila, even if they’ve never been there. The jila lies in Yulparija Country, but as a man Wirnpa travelled such great distances that the songlines which describe his journeys connect him to many groups. As an ancestral hero, Wirnpa is the keeper of different laws and ceremonies, and Aboriginal people from multiple language groups consider the place where he rests a sacred site. Jila like Wirnpa are formidable places, which can be dangerous if they are not approached properly. Aboriginal people enter jila sites ritually, sweeping the ground with branches, and approaching in single file. Elders call out to Wirnpa, announcing their arrival and introducing people who are new to the jila. For many senior people the experience of returning to their Country is highly emotional. 'Jila might make kartiya sick, make a big wind. We been tell him, “Don’t get wild, we all one family for you.”' (Jawarta Donald Moko, 2009) When the people who belonged to Wirnpa left the desert, some went north and eventually settled at Balgo, Mulan, Fitzroy Crossing, Wangkatjungka, Looma, Broome and Bidyadanga. Others went south and settled at Jigalong, Newman, Punmu, Parnngurr and Kunawarritji. Others still went east to Yuendumu and Papunya. Until recently, some of these people had never had the chance to return to their Country but today many people are taking their children and grandchildren to see Wirnpa for the first time. The songlines that pass through Wirnpa travel underground, imbuing the Country with power. The responsibility for these songs, and for the Country itself, is passed down from one generation to the next. Aboriginal people belong to the Country and are its caretakers; when they die, their spirit returns to their Country.

Media Creator:Curtis Taylor

Media date: 2010
Story Location: Wirnpa

Media Description:Martu elders bring their grandchildren to Wirnpa for the first time in 2009.

Story contributor(s):Jawarta Donald Moko, Monique La Fontaine

Art Centre(s): Yulparija Artists, Martumili Artists
Publisher: FORM
Media copyright: FORM
Accession ID:DATE_FORM_MIRA_B0098_0002

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.

Jila Men

Story:The nothern end of the Canning Stock Route crosses the Great Sandy Desert. Here springs are considered 'living waters' and are known as jila. Some are inhabited by ancestral beings and many of these jila are linked by Dreaming tracks that connect Countries and people. The ancestral stories of these sites are recorded in the songs and dances that cross the desert, uniting peoples through shared ceremonies and law. A number of these jila became wells on the Canning Stock Route. Of around 200 permanent springs or jila in this country, only about 30 are inhabited by powerful ancestral beings: snakes, which are also known as jila, or kalpurtu. Two of these jila, Kulyayi (Well 42) and Kaningarra (Well 48), became stock route wells. Before they became snakes, these jila were men who made rain, shaped the features of the land and introduced practices of law to the jila country. Many of the jila men were also companions who travelled the desert visiting one another, creating the ceremonies and singing the songs that the people of the jila country still perform today. One by one, the jila men ended their journeys at the waters that bear their names, and as they entered their jila, they transformed into the rainbow serpents, kalpurtu. These sites are of great importance to Aboriginal people and they can be as dangerous as they are vital. As places where rain is made, jila must first be ceremonially cleaned out by men. Crescent shaped banks are fashioned around the edge of the jila to signify kutukutu [rain-bearing clouds] before women are invited to approach. The dreaming stories of the jila men Kulyayi and Kaningarra are also connected to those of Kurtal and Wirnpa, two other important jila in this Country.

Media Creator:Nicole Ma

Media date: 2010

Media Description:Four dances are performed at the Ngumpan workshop, which took place at Ngumpan Community east of Fitzroy Crossing in late 2008.

Story contributor(s):Monique La Fontaine, Ngilpirr Spider Snell

Art Centre(s): Other
Publisher: FORM
Media copyright: FORM
Accession ID:DATE_FORM_MIRA_B0098_0001

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 31
Historical name: Wullowla

Place description: I had gone out from Wullowla with Baumgarten two camels and a native named Sandow to look for water he had pointed out. We had gone two waters, and camped at one all night. In the morning a fire went up a little over two miles away and the native pointed and said the fire was right at the water. So I put him on the camel I was riding, gave him Baumgarten and told him to go towards the fire and I would walk … I walked across and when I got close I heard a great shouting. The native was shouting, and he jumped clean off the camel and commenced talking to these natives and cooeeing to me at the same time. When I got up there was a great number of natives about, and about twelve of them were just close. They were all about, with a number of spears, some of them had five or six spears apiece. The natives were painted up. Sandow persuaded two or three of them to come up and put their spears down; and eventually they did. That was quite close to the water. They had just come away from the water, and were probably going to look for me, as I had been out in the Country some distance from the main camp and had seen natives … a couple of days before …

I saw one old gin in particular I was seven or eight miles from the rest of the party when I heard a knocking in some lime stone Country. I went towards it to see what it was. It was a very old gin crushing up some honey blossom. I went up to her and asked her how she was and asked her to show me water; but she was too much afraid. I shot a couple of rats which I gave her, and she threw some sand towards the water, and I went to look for it but I could not find it that night. I saw two other natives go over the sandhills quite close. So I expect they told the other tribe I was about and they were on the lookout. They were armed to the teeth, and painted also. This was a very warlike proceeding. (Alfred Canning in testimony to the Royal Commission to Inquire into the Treatment of Natives by the Canning Exploration Party, 1908, Questions 3462 – 3463)

Traditional knowledge: Walawala jila used to be a yinta [permanent spring] but the whitefellas dug it up and used it as a well. Kunkun is also in this painting. The story for this country is the Marlu Jukurrpa [Kangaroo Dreaming]. Yunapayi jila was made in the Dreamtime by the Seven Sisters. These waters are in warrarn [open] Country, where people can see a long way. (Nora Wompi, 2008)

Native title area: Martu determination
Well data: 1906 quality: Excellent

1906 total depth (m): 7

Current quality of well: Derelict, caved in

Current quality of water: No water

PH level date: 2002
Related art centre(s): Other

Media title: Walawala, 2008
Media creator: Nora Wompi
Date: 2008

Media description: Painting by Nora Wompi, 2008, titled 'Walawala'.
Media Copyright: Nora Wompi
Format: Image
Accession ID: FORM_MIRA_B0088_0021

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: Jarran Jan Billycan

Jarran Jan Billycan - her Country, jila, and escaping a bullock [ORAL HISTORY]

Synopsis: Yulparija mob came from bush Country and walked all around desert, now living in Bidyadanga. Jarran belongs to Kiriwirri, her jila.
They were walking up to Sandfire, got picked up in truck.
She saw bullocks on the Canning Stock Route and climbed a tree to escape the bullock because she was scared.

Date: 2007-08-01
Art centre(s): Yulparija Artists
Language spoken: Yulparija, Kriol
Catalogue number: CSROH_45_Jarran_Jan_Billycan
Interviewed By: 2007-08-01
Transcribed By: Martina Badal
Translated By: Martina Badal
Location Described: Bidyadanga
Location Recorded: Bidyadanga
Latitude/Longitude: -18.68/121.78

Access: PUBLIC
Notes: A second person occasionally speaks, but is unidentifiable. This transcript contains corrections and additional information given by Jan Billycan on 29/03/2009.
Full transcript:
Jan Billycan: [OnYulparija mob] They came from bush Country, desert Country down, they walked all around jila, desert, this side of Wiluna, you know that one. We all went, big mob family. Now we in Bidyadanga, they built a house and now we are living in Bidyadanga. We been sit down here.

All around house ... just like cubby house ... all around house, all around, yawi [poor thing] ... door, door here, fences. Hospital here. All around ... here. Old people here. Another lot there that side, all around, all around here. I been come bush. I belong to Kiriwirri, I belong to Kiriwirri, my jila, bush, desert Country. We left our boys down there somewhere. After that Japulu [XX- Father- McKelson?] been get us. This place with a truck Japulu been get us, pick em up with a big truck.

John Carty: Which side you been born?

JB: We been put em koolta [school] for the kids.

JC: Where you been born?

JB: I been born desert ... desert Dountry. We been leave my kids behind and my husband been bring em. My husband been bring em here. He been pass away my husband … and two fellas been come behind. We sit down here now. Finish. We can’t come back bush.

JC: Which Country you been walking around when you little girl? Where you been walk?

JB: Kiriwirri mine one, Kiriwirri mine jila ... I been born there. And this one Yukuyi country this two fella. Kiriwirri Country mine. Everybody belong you know. Kids been born there, right there. Kiriwirri mine Country. Kiriwirri jila. You know round one? Right there. I belong to Kiriwirri country, my one.

JC: Is Kiriwirri Country this side?

JB: Yeah yeah ... you’re right there now ... this side. Jakalala. [XX- Nyangumarta country] Jakalala you know, big one stone you know, That one he been clean. He been sit down, they been sit down Jakalalangka, two days. He been go this way now. He got stone, big one, Jakalala. You know that big one? He got water here. Right there. He standing up, this-kind, stone. At two water.

JC: And which way you been travelling? When you been come this way? Which way you been travelling?

JB: This side, straight fella. [Coming down straight to Sandfire]. Japulu been get us. Japulu been get em napingka [the ones left behind]. One place. They been this side. Japulu been pickem up. Bushmen, you know. Another one Japulu from Broome. Bush people, he been pickem up. Big truck ... big one! You remember we been put them jijirti koolja [school kids], right there, Bidyadanga.

JC: When you been travelling around..when you been little girl, did you see them bulluman [bullock]?

JB: [Moos] Yes, I been see them in this place, Wiluna this side. The boys been tak em bullock. [Moos] ... they been takem bullock, bush [moos]. He been running and I been climb up the tree.

JC: You been frightened?

JB: Yeah, I been climb up. Moo, moo! Round and round he been go that way, round. Might be he been see me and I been climb up … fast one. He been go around first, that side. He been round here.

JC: You never seen them before … ?

JB: Yeah, I never did, I never seen big one bullock you know. Moo! Moo, moo! I been climb right up on top tree. My dog been there, that side, mind them for me.

JC: Underneath that tree?

JB: Yeah, he been doing that, underneath that tree. [Splutters with Laughter] He been round them up ... wait, wait wait, what time, finish him, he been go round and round. He been look around for me. He been look around for me, he never see me, on top of tree. I been frightened ... on top. Standing up there on top, bulluman [bullock] go round and round, big one, looking around for me. Bullock from desert. He been take em bushman desert, Wiluna nguru [from] ... Otherside not this side. Sit down right in the middle.

JC: What did you think when you first been see that bullock? What did you think he was?

JB: Bullock been come. He been come around from this way, moo!

JC: Did you taste em kuyu [meat]?

JB: They been have one bullock from ... he never give us ... he been give em all nother lot to old people ... not me ... I never had fresh one bulluck. [Laughs] I been have em now.
Big mob old people been sit down, they been give it to me now, bullock, yeah, I been have em. Finish. Make me pull up. [Laughs] Long way, long way, you know, from Country, desert Country look. Whole lot this one, whole lot.

They asked me where I come from ... I been tell them long way Country, you fella got to go there now, I been put em right way. Yaku [brother in law] I been put em koolja [school] innit [isn’t it]? I been working here.

JC: When you been come this way, Bidyadanga, your family behind, did they go another way?

JB: Yeah, you right ... I been come here and stop in one place now. Yulparija side. We are all stopping here now ... No more come back desert.

JC: How come your family come this way. What for?

JB: Right place

JC: Old man said no people left

JB: No people, nothing.

[Old man in language: no people, all gone that way look, Yapurta, [south] We been looking for that people ... nothing!]

JB: Kiriwirri, Kunta, they gone to three jila – and Yukarri. Bidyadanga, Broome, us mob. Finish. I’m here now, that’s all. Yeah, Palya wangka [That’s a good story].

Source: CSROH_45_Jarran_Jan_Billycan
Rights: © Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Jarran Jan Billycan; © 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.


Subscribe to RSS - jila