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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.


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.

Ngumpan workshop, 2008

Location: Ngumpan

Date: 2008

Event Description: The late 2008 Ngumpan workshop revolved around the intergenerational transfer of cultural knowledge, and was one of the most transformative events of the project. Senior Ngurra artist Ned Cox, who had led the very first bush trip to Jilji Bore, was the instigator of this event. Coordinated by cultural advisor and senior translator Putuparri Tom Lawford, Ned and other senior men and women taught teenagers and children carving and ceremonial skills, and passed on the knowledge of important dances and body decoration to both young people and adults.
Four dances were performed by new generations at the Ngumpan workshop: little boys danced Kurtal, young men performed Majarrka and girls performed Mangamanga, all for the first time. One important ceremonial dance, Kaningarra, was revived for the first time in many years following the death of its custodian. The dance for Kaningarra, which is now Well 48 on the Canning Stock Route, was passed down to a new generation of Kaningarra people by elders from closely related areas.

Art Centre(s): Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre, Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency, Ngurra Artists

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.

Putuparri Tom Lawford


Putuparri Tom Lawford - Ngumpan workshop 2008 [ORAL HISTORY]
Synopsis: Putuparri Tom Lawford talks about the Ngumpan workshop in 2008. He discusses the importance of learning to make artefacts and also discusses the Kaningarra dance that was performed for the first time in a long time.

Date: 2008
Art centre(s): CSR Project, Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre
Language spoken: English
Catalogue number: CSROH_291_Putuparri_Tom_Lawford
Date: 2008
Transcribed By: Monique La Fontaine
Location Recorded: Mount Newman Creek

Cultural Protocols: Public Access - Restrictions on Use
Access: Public
Notes: This transcript is transcribed from Karen Dayman’s fieldnotes.
Full transcript: [Speaking about the Ngumpan workshop in September 2008] Putuparri Tom Lawford: It was good for young ones and old people. Old people were happy because all the young ones been dancing and learning artefact making, karli [boomerangs], ngurti [coolamon] and mukurru [hitting sticks] and collecting materials for ceremony. They been passing down to their grandkids so they can carry on that dancing. Dancing is the easy part, what we need to do now is get them to learn the songs for the dances. Kaningarra was never performed for a long time, so what we did at Ngumpan was get the old fellas together and we talked about trying to get Kaningarra back, the dance, the songs. There’s only one old fella [Spider Snell] who still knows how to sing that song as well as the old ladies - all the bosses for Kaningarra have passed away. Spider wanted to pass it onto the rightful owners before he passed away. So it was good, all the old people been singing it and teaching it to Pampirla [Hansen Boxer] because he’s a Kaningarra man and he can carry that on. Old ladies been crying, it was like they were bringing something back from the dead. Spider’s a Kurtal man, we need to keep that carrying on because Kaningarra and Kurtal are like brothers in the Dreamtime. What I liked about that workshop was the young ones, the young kids, they were all humbugging me for dancing and making boomerang, they been waiting for us in town to take them out there. We go from generation to generation: from old people to our generation, and from me to younger generation. We had more kids there than adults. The little ones were really interested, and the young men were too. We had kids and we had teenagers, and they all wanted to have a go. And it made the old ones happy too to see their grandkids, sons and daughters up there dancing. If we had more time to get everybody involved, it would be good to focus on the girls next time, so the girls don’t miss out. We hope they keep it in their heads for the future. Some of the boys were learning how to make artefacts properly for the first time. After Ngumpan them young boys felt proud dancing in front of all their CFountrymen and different people from all over the Kimberley at the big KALACC festival at Mt Barnett, dancing their own dance from their ancestors, with the karli [boomerangs] and mukurru [hitting sticks] that they made with their own hands at Ngumpan. And it made old people and me proud too. END
Source: CSROH_291_Putuparri_Tom_Lawford
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Putuparri Tom Lawford; © FORM, transcript only

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

Manmarr Daisy Andrews

Manmarr Daisy Andrews - family, Country, massacres [ORAL HISTORY]
Synopsis: Manmarr Daisy Andrews tells stories about massacres. She also talks about her life history and her family's Country. She also talks about her brother's Kaningarra, and the big hole in the ground from the mining companies.

Date: 2007
Art centre(s): Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency
Language spoken: Kriol, English
Catalogue number: CSROH_141_Manmarr_Daisy_Andrews
Date: 2007
Transcribed By: Monique La Fontaine
Location Recorded: Fitzroy Crossing
Latitude/Longitude: -18.17/125.59

Cultural Protocols: Public Access - Restrictions on Use
Access: Public
Notes: Corrections made from permission in September 2008.
Full transcript: Daisy Andrews: My brother was there now, [in Old Mission] living with his wife, old girl, and he was telling me story about what he was doing in the past. He come down from Kaningarra, Canning Stock Road. ‘And where you been living?’ I been say. ‘No, I been living in Cherrabun Station.’ That’s his home, yeah.

The man used to come, white man, shooting people, killing them, long time, you know. They run away from the Country, you know, come this way. And policeman catch them and father been get shot, his own father. And my father never see that, he was working. This was long time ago. Yeah, and he been, you know, they used to have them chain la [around their] neck, dragging them, some get kill. One place there, Lumpu Lumpu, you know, that Country, my brother been go in that place, he been grow up there. It’s ‘nother side from Cherrabun, big ranges you can see ‘em. White man come shooting all the people, they all run away in the bush.

My brother, my granny been say, ‘Come on! Come on little man, me and you gotta run away now!’ And he been take my brother away, all along the creek. Finished. They been climb up big hill and just gone down, they been go other side now. Go back la [through the] bush. From there policeman been looking for them and policeman been catch them. They gone back, right back to Ngaranjarti and they bring them back from there to Christmas Creek.

[Manmarr says sadly] That’s when they used to kill them. They used to burn them, in the fire. That’s really cruel. She was telling me story, when he was little one. He was born in Canning Stock Road, Canning Stock Road, in that place now, he was born there. And Mummy bring him back this way because everybody been getting killed there. Come back to Cherrabun this side.

Carly Davenport: So he was safe, he came out.

DA: Yeah, and policeman get them, put them in the station work, just growing up there. That was the story now. End of this story, I think he got more story at Karrayili [Adult Education Centre in Fitzroy Crossing]. I didn’t know my brother. I got two brother [a set of twins] and two was get killed, just kill them and chuck ‘em in the fire, two twins, boy. Mummy just left them behind [because they were dead]. It’s very cruel [what those white people did. Boxer Yankarr, Pampirla Hansen Boxer’s father, and Potato both survived]. And it’s my granny, is taking him, only one, bring him back la [to his] mother, go back to desert, round desert. They was going in Kurlku from Kurlku they was keep going in desert way, but policeman still there got them [were still there with them], tracking them all the way. They been just get them and bring them back this way. They been save their life. Finished. They been there the station and we been go away Moola Bulla working there now, my dad, my mummy. He been have three wife, my father [XX – laughing, indecipherable]. Three daughter and one boy, son one. And my Mummy been have three of us and ‘nother Mummy mine been have one boy, one girl and himself, my brother.
And ‘nother sister mine, cousin from ‘nother Mummy, he been passed away there la [at] Bayulu, yeah, Gogo Station. So my father went to, [laughs] there’s’ nother father for my brother’s father, he went to Yiyili and robbing wife from there, [smiles] ‘nother wife, Mervyn now, granny. Mervyn Street. And Mervyn Street call me like auntie, you know, Mummy, mm mm. My big sister, he was just passed away now, his name Madeleine. That’s why I call him son, you know. Long time ago, you know, they used to go like that, visiting other places, they was used to go for friend of us, they used to have ‘em own business, old people, they never used to look for trouble, they was just friend together [chuckles]. They was finished.

And then my brother been tell me now, ‘Oh, you got big sister there.’ ‘What?’ I been say, ‘What?’ I been saying. ‘You got big sister there, his name is Madeleine.’ That’s the one now for Mervyn Street mother. Yeah. He used to always stop la [at] Guwardi [frail aged care in Fitzroy Crossing. Says sadly] and passed away. That’s the eldest sister from, like from my other father, we been have three fathers. Uncle I call ‘em eh? In a kartiya [white people’s] law! [Breaks into laughter]. That’s alright, finished now …

CD: And Daisy, for that Canning Stock Route exhibition, and you’re hopefully going to paint one painting, what sort of story do you think you might you put for that painting?

DA: [Very decisively] I’ll put that story for Kaningarra. Country side for my brother side, where he been born, where he been come from there. Yeah, she been show me the Country. ‘This the where, place I been born,’ he told me. He been have a big hole there [makes circular hand gestures and looks distressed. The hole apparently made by a mining company]. My brother he been, like he been born there and mother and father been take him away from there. Second time I been go gotta [with], first time for me to go gotta [with] Daniel [Vachon]. And me and my brother, before he been finish, his … Peter Kulapu [possibly Kurrapa Peter Skipper, Jukuna’s husband], ah, Kulanyu [?]. That was him and Jukuja, ah, Jukuna and me, we been go see that place where it was [makes circular hand gestures]. They were have the hole there. Cry too much.

First time I been go see that place. Only second time I gotta just painting now. He been show me the water, water running down, from top. ‘Mmm,’ I was say. ‘Good Country!’ He’s open that side and the hill all along. And I was thinking, you know, I can just come back, I was say, you know, looking at this Country. Because like, most I been in Bunuba people [mostly I’ve been living with Bunuba people after marrying a Bunuba man], and I’m come back and telling all the kids – mine now. ‘We gotta go there mummy, we gotta look ‘em one day for uncle Country.’ ‘Yeah,’ I been say. Yeah. All my granny, all my grandchildren, I gotta show them too so they can know the Country! That’s all.

Gotta fire [with fire they burned them], that’s all. [Says sadly,] I was sitting down there and I been say, ‘Well, parr [abbreviated from parri —boy],’ I been say lang [to] my brother, ‘Tell me the story for you.’ [Shakes her head] ‘No,’ he been say. But he been put ‘em down la [on] cassette. Can’t forget. Canning Stock Road. I was there gotta [with] Daniel you know, gonna visit that place. Make a biggest fire, finish right there and keep goin’, in that hole. We bin cryyyyyyyy. Finish. Come out this way now.

Video format: DVD/miniDV
Source: CSROH_141_Manmarr_Daisy_Andrews
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Manmarr Daisy Andrews; © 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.

Katajilkarr to Kaningarra

Katajilkarr to Kaningarra' - Miriam Napanangka. Catalogue Reference: MO/32/PT. Canning Stock Route bush trip 1- 4 August 2007.

Date created: 8/3/2007
Photographer: Tim Acker
Location: Well 36, Kilykily
Latitude/Longitude: -22.13954/125.28315

People: Miriam Napanangka
Art Centre(s): Papunya Tula Artists

Copyright: FORM
Format: Image
Category: Image
Source: 6 Canning Stock Route bush trip 1-4 August 07
Accession ID: 20131213_B0005_0086

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: Manmarr Daisy Andrews

Manmarr Daisy Andrews - Kaningarra, and droving days [ORAL HISTORY]

Synopsis: Daisy tells the story of Kaningarra, her Mother's Country. She then talks about the Pilmer shootings, and how her father was taken to Broome jail. Daisy also tells a version of the Kinki salt meat story.

Date: 2007-11-17
Art centre(s):
Language spoken: Walmajarri, English
Catalogue number: CSROH_55_Manmarr_Daisy_Andrews
Interviewed By: John Carty, Putuparri Tom Lawford
Translated By: Putuparri Tom Lawford
Recorded by: Putuparri Tom Lawford
Location Recorded: Fitzroy Crossing
Latitude/Longitude: -18.17/125.59

Cultural Protocols: Public Access - Restrictions on Use
Access: Public
Notes: There are a few notes added to this when Daisy Andrews gave permission on 2008-09-03. They are added as notes throughout this transcript.
Full transcript: Daisy Andrews: All right now. Well I start from Kaningarra side yinta [spring]. Kaningarra, that’s the Country for my mother. My mummy name is Ruby Pindan. Another mummy, I don’t know, I can’t call her name. They were there all the time at Kaningarra. Long time ago they were there. A while later a kartiya [white person] came, kartiya name Pilmer. He shot them other people there. Other mob ran away, frighten. They killed that old man who they salted, long time ago, old man Kinki. They ran away frighten, ‘We will not eat that! It’s a person,’ they said. They went east to a place called Ngampara, that’s another Country too. From there they went to Ngaranjarti, they slept there. From there they went to Jitapurru [Christmas Creek] then on to Lumpu Lumpu, that’s where they all stayed.

They told stories of what happen. They were bushmen then. Bushman, you know. They don’t know kartiya [white people], they don’t know English, nothing. Only all my family, they all my family. They never know nothing. All my family been there la [at] Lumpu Lumpu. They were living there at Lumpu Lumpu. They went out hunting, collecting bush tucker. They were killing meats like wirlka [sand hill goanna] and everything. They were living there, singing songs at night, their own songs.

They came from the south through the gap, all the station managers and the police, creeping them up. They shot all of them. Some family escaped, most got shot, all my family. They threw them in a fire and burnt them. Gotta [with a] rifle they shot them, from the top of the gap. The ones who escaped went to Pirnini. In that Country, they was living around. Parnany ngawiji [lady, grandmother] mine, one ngawiji, my father for mummy, he been think about now. He been see ‘em olabut [she saw everyone], they all died, everybody finished.

Mine grandmother old girl, mine ngawiji, he been lookin out la olabut [at everyone who had been killed] now and he been started singing now. He can make you really sorry that song, I’ll tell you. I got that song there. Sing ‘em and he been start crying, hit ‘emself [in grief]. Dreamtime, that olgaman [old woman] been finished, and he was get that song from there. [That old lady nearly died and while she was near death she found this song in the Dreamtime. When she came back to life and saw all the dead people around her she started to sing this song.]

They been go way from there now. They been go la [to] Pirnini now. They been go la Pirnini, stop there for while, then they been go that-a-way la [to] Ngaranjarti. They been there la [at] Ngaranjarti now and policeman been coming up now. Policeman from here, from Fitzroy, good policeman. He been go [from Fitzroy] and come out la ollot la Ngaranjarti [he came across all the people at Ngaranjarti]. Everybody been there, all lot Tjuluk Tighe mob been there too. Tjuluk been there and my brother. Alright, ‘Pa!’ [‘Let’s go!’] he been tellem olabut [he told everyone]. ‘We gotta go way now. I’ll take ‘em back you-pala [you fellas] la [to] police station.”

He been take ‘em olabut [everyone] right up la [to] Kurungal [Christmas Creek]. Kurungal, there now. They were keeping them there at Kurungal. From there, some-pala la police station [police were keeping some people at the police station]. He was a good policeman. You know, people never knew, they never know kartiya [white people]. They never know English. Nothing in their life. Nothing. Only that policeman, you know, he was really kind to them, takem olabut [he took everyone] back la [to] station they put them la [in] station and they been working around there then.

Some-pala [some people] been la [at] GoGo station, some-pala been la Cherrabun station. I know my father been go la [to] Cherrabun Station and my brother Boxer [Yankarr —Pampirla Hansen Boxer’s father] he was there, and Wajirri [Tiepin Forrest]’s father, him been there la [at] Cherrabun. My father been run away. He tried to take us away from Cherrabun, out bush, you know. We been go right up la [to], we been go, we been just run away, you know. Well, we didn’t know anything about running away [we didn’t know we weren’t allowed to]. We been go living la [by] river side. All along that Fitzroy River, we been stopping there now and policeman still looking around for mefellas [us]. My father been take us to Karlijirta [St Georges Ranges] now. Karlijirta Ranges we been go. From there we been go la [to] Nookanbah, all along river.

But we didn’t know they been bring him back. ‘Why you run away?’ they say to him. ‘To take all the kids away.’ They been tell him they want [him] to stay one place, la [at the] station, they been tell him. Right, they been chase him, bring back us to Cherrabun. From there they been sent him la Broome jail. Me: what wrong? [I said, ‘What did he do wrong?’] From run away every time, runaway you know, never work properly way, you know. We been all there la station, us mob, all the family la Cherrabun Station. We not for anywhere [we don’t belong to any of this Country round here], only Yarnanyji [Charlie Pindan her young brother] he for Kurungal, that’s all, one-pala [one fella].

From there we been sit down there, then they took us to police station, that old man been come out from police station, you know. Then they took us to Moola Bulla. Government place, we been living there. We been grow up there. We never think about for Country now, we been just live there till that Moola Bulla been get burn down, you know.

Oh, all the people from desert now, [they picked everyone up and brought everyone to Moola Bulla] pick em up olabut bring olabut la [bring everyone to] Moola Bulla [Station]. This lot now, Nada [Rawlins] and all her family. That’s the time my father must have thinked about. My father, he was thinking real hard, properly about the desert. And that Rosie [Tarco King] she was talking to you yesterday, telling her story.
Right. My father — MacPherson [a missionary from Moola Bulla] told him, ‘Go to Billiluna. You know that Country, yeah,’ he said. Some people from that side they been travelling around to find a good place to stop. From desert, just think about, from CSR [Canning Stock Route] they been come over, he been go pick ‘em up them la [to] Balgo.

John Carty: Your father?

DA: My father, he been bring ‘em back them. Right, he been telling them, ‘I been like that before [a bush man] but I’m right now. Finish now. We been there till that Moola Bulla been get burn. All right, manager for Moola Bulla been tell us to go back to Country now. We been come back Country. That’s the time I had Jimmy boy then, my son [Tiliny]. We been go la [to the] mission now [Fitzroy Crossing U.A.M mission], staying there. My father been go to Bungarun [Derby Leprosarium]. My mother was going to Perth. She was sick. I been have ‘em old girl, other one, what been grow ‘em up me, Alice, and that other girl, for Jeanie and Annie mother [I was with Alice who grew me up, and with Jeanie and Annie’s mother], they was in mission. Old mission. We was there now.

So, I been get my husband from Moola Boola now. [Laughs] Yeah, I been run away, other way now. Alright. From there I been go la [to] Leopold Station. That Jimmy boy, he was a little boy and me and my husband was living there now. We used to live around there, la [at] Leopold. From Leopold we been go back la [to] Brooking Springs. I had my first daughter, for Keithy mummy [Keithy Andrews, Manmarr’s grandson]. They been find ‘em, ‘Where this manga [girl] come from?’ they been ask me. ‘You know now! That’s my daughter,’ I told them. Alright. I been show her to all my family from Kurungal [Wangkatjungka community] and from Cherrabun and from Parmarrjarti [GoGo Station, Bayulu]. They been all cry got [with] me.

Alright. From there I was living around there, holiday time now. I was with my husband. Because my husband, he never belt me, or [do] anything la [to] me. Nothing. He was young and he was, you know, really kind to people. I been run away from my people. I don’t know, I been go back after, when I had that daughter of mine. From there they been see that daughter mine. From there I been go back la station. From station I been work langa [at] Brooking Springs [Station].

Then I had Mervyn. From Mervyn I been la [to the] station, now la Mission. I been go back la mission now, staying around there gotta old people. I met up with my old people, you know, only just my family. They been all there. They been say that, ‘We all family. You family for me-fellas.’ Purlta for [Mary-Anne Downs’] husband [Jarinyanu David Downs], Yurrpra for husband, for this one here [Tom’s grandfather], jaja [maternal grandparent] for him, and Purlta [Maryanne Downs]. Two my brother, ‘We family la [for] you, we been find you now,’ they been tell me. I was there staying with them at the Mission. People used to come for holiday and stop at the Mission. That’s where [we] found each other all the relations.
And they been telling me story now. ‘You not blanga [belong] anywhere, you blanga [belong to] Kaningarra,’ they been tell me. ‘Your mother come from there. That’s me-fellas family.’ Yeah, they been tell ‘em but me [they were telling me] story.

JC: Did they tell you any other stories about when they said you from Kaningarra? Did they tell you any stories about Canning Stock Route days and the drovers when they were coming up with the bullock or going down with the bullock?

DA: I been see Wally Dowling in Moola Bulla. He used to come from Billiluna, pick one old man there. He always used to have his two friends with him now, three he been have em. He been have that two old man, Bull [Tommy Bull Marparriny Alan Dededar’s father] and who and that other …

[Note: DA wanted to add here that Wally Dowling didn’t shoot anyone (3 September 2008)]

Tom Lawford: Chum Lee [Jamili]?

DA: Yeah, and Roger, and go back. Wally Dowling been this one properly, [makes double thumbs up gesture]. Skutter boy! [Laughs] I was only young, that’s all, me and my sister we been looking at this man. ‘Hey, this man come from long way,’ they been say, and they knew my father, you know, them two old man, and Roger, he my brother, cousin brother. He for my father, from his sister side. Yeah, and that wife and that girl now, wife for him, Lanyina she been come to Moola Bulla now, staying with us.

JC: That wife for Wally Dowling?

DA: Yeah, he been have that boy. That boy been la [at] school. They just used to take ‘em way olabat [they used to take all the kids of mixed descent away to school], you know. From there we never see [him] now. No more, nothing.

JC: When you were a little girl did you see any camels or any of those camel mob on the stock route?

DA: No, he been have ‘em but horse, yeah. They one who been pick ‘em up. I don’t know camel. Might be camel been be la [to] station, you know. Yeah, my father been know them, he been know who’s who, some of his relations.

JC: And early part you said, you were talking about Kinki.

DA: No, not Kinki.

JC: That old man from Kaningarra …

DA: That old man blanga [who belonged to] …

JC: I was gonna ask ... You were also talking about Pilmer …

DA: What’s his name? Old man Kinki indi [isn’t it]? Kinki. When they been takat pa [eat him]. But they never takat [eat him], they been all run away from him. That other old girl, she at Numbala Nanga [old people’s home in Derby], one of my sister, cousin sister, you know, relation, close family, she there. She been telling me story, ngaja [young sister], she been tell me this one. They killed old man, he been call ‘em now [she called his name]. They salted him and then they cut him up in pieces, everything poor-pala [poor fella]. From there they gave him to the people. They been give ‘em olabut [to everyone], for this one, takat [to eat] old man now. ‘This is not bullock! What is this?’ they said. They been taste it different. They been just leave ‘em there, they been all gone, run away now. Come to the station now, through Ngaranjarti, Kaningarra, from finished.

JC: Was Pilmer, was he the one for that Kinki too?

[Daisy laughing]

Was he different man? Different kartiya [white man]?

DA: No, mightee [might be] … That’s the one now. No wonder the trouble go round.

JC: Same one who been shooting people?

DA: All round, all round, all around, [sadly] this people he used to kill ‘em olabut [kill everyone].

JC: What for?

DA: I don’t know. If you want stories they can tell you from this side, I think, for Pilmer. You can, mightee [might be] get story from this side. They still call that kartiya [Pilmer’s name] now. You get ‘em from all the Bunuba people, all the Wilangu people, you still can get that story.

JC: Yuwayi [yes], we’ll ask them.

DA: They will tell you. But no [old] Bunuba people [left] now, only for all desert side now. Long time ago Pilmer was shooting them. Same story for that kartiya [white fella], but this one la [at] Lumpu Lumpu, [it was] only station manager.

JC: That was a station manager that one? And how come he was shooting people?

DA: I don’t know.

JC: They been spear bullock?

DA: [Laughing] I think, only one old man been life [alive], he was my uncle.

JC: From your mother side or father side?

DA: Tell em father side. Uncle. You know where he been? Olabat [everywhere – he’d been hunting]. Because my father for brother [my father’s brother, my second father - Pilpilkarraji], old man from Kurungal, you know, he was standing with all the wirlka [sand hill goannas]. He never knew what been happen.

TL: What’s his name?

DA: Old man Pilpilkarraji [means shaking- he had a condition that made him shake uncontrollably]. Daddy-mine that one.

TL: He got any kids?

DA: Kurrumi, [son for Pilpil, cousin brother for Manmarr] my brother for Willie Cherrabun. That’s his name now, for Willie Cherrabun.

TL: Kurrumi?

DA: Yeah, Kurrumi.

TL: Old fella from Bayulu?

DA: Yeah, blanga Larkuya [Larkuya’s father]. Larkuya, this one here where she stop la [at] Muludja, same family too.

TL: Walaja for sister?

DA: Yeah, Walaja [Kurrumi is father for Willie Cherrabun]. They same family that mob. Me-fellas [We’re all] one family.

JC: From your father’s brother?

DA: Yeah.

JC: Pilpilkarraji…

DA: Ah?

JC: Pilpilkarraji?

DA: Yeah, old man now, poor-pala [poor fella], shake all a time.


Source: CSROH_55_Manmarr_Daisy_Andrews
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Manmarr Daisy Andrews; © 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: Pampirla Hansen Boxer

Pampirla Hansen Boxer - Yawulyawul near Kaningarra, old Kinki [ORAL HISTORY]

Synopsis: Hansen Boxer tells the story of Yawulyawul near Kaningarra and of old Kirnki being killed and eaten.

Date: 2007-11-14
Art centre(s):
Language spoken: Walmajarri, Kriol
Catalogue number: CSROH_49_Pampirla_Hansen_Boxer
Interviewed By: John Carty, Monique La Fontaine
Translated By: Putuparri Tom Lawford
Recorded by: Clint Dixon
Location Recorded: Broome
Latitude/Longitude: -17.96/122.23

Cultural Protocols: Public Access - Restrictions on Use
Access: Public
Full transcript: Pampirla Hansen Boxer: Well, thanks very much for rewinding the story back a hundred years ago and other stories. [Saying thank you for doing the CSR Project and getting stories told from 100 years ago out into the public, stories that weren’t told from a long-time ago]
Big government came and gave the land back 18 million acres or something like that. [Talking about the Ngurrara land claim and Ngurrara Country.]

[Speaking in Walmajarri]

The government gave us our land back at a place called Pirnini and today we’re talking me and him [Wajirri] our fathers and grandfathers are from the north from Kaningarra, from a place called Yawulyawul [black soil Country]. Government bore, blackfella call it Yawulyawul and Kaningarra. Kaningarra is a jila [spring, ancestral being]. Jila is water. Kaningarra is a Country for the old men and women who were there before us. All around those hills, north, east and south, there are stories there from long ago. It was there they were having their ceremonies, sacred and public, and living life the way they used to live. Women were given promised husbands, men were given promised wives, nobody stole other people’s wives.

They were living in the cultural way, the good life. Bush tucker was plenty. From in the ground, from above ground, everywhere. I don’t know if those bush tuckers are still around today. That animal, kuyi [meat] mingajurru [Golden Bandicoot], I never seen it but I’ve heard about it. That probably disappeared too. All those animals have all disappeared. All our meats have disappeared. What are those other animals that have disappeared before our time? [Talking to Wajirri Tiepin Forrest] Jampiyirnti, [Common Brush Tail Possum] he’s gone. Yeah, big mobs have disappeared. There’s only one still alive today, that’s the Thorny Devil, I only know of that animal. I don’t know the rest. We still got bush tucker like kumpupaja [bush tomato] and all the others.

They take us out bush and show us what kind of food our fathers and grandparents were eating and living off. From there, my kilaki [grandfather from mother side] was shot by a white man for just walking around in his Country. Government gave us back our land. It’s up to us now to look after our Country. There is no need to be arguing over Country, over who belongs to where and so on. Government gave it back to us to look after it. That’s why we sing songs and do dance for our Country. That’s why I’ve got these two boomerangs here and we sing about Ngurra [Country] where we come from. That’s the story that was told to me from that Country. Me, I was born in the station. That’s where we grew up. Never grew up in the desert. We were able to go back on trips to our Country and shown for the first time where our parents and grandparents lived and came from. [Possible on Tom Baxter’s trip]

[Kinki story – speaking in Kriol]

Ah well, that story, that old man been tell a story. One old man name Spider Snell. The old bloke Spider Snell and others went to hunting bush tucker, kangaroos and other food. Yes, in Kaningarra Yawulyawul. Not far from Kaningarra place called Yawulyawul. There’s a government bore there, government well. Canning Stock Route. Old man Spider been tell us. He still [a]live, old Spider. They came back from hunting with kangaroos and some meat on their shoulder. Come back and they look for that old man, that old man name Kinki. Old bloke was there, his name Kinki. And this old kartiya [white man], camel man was there with lot of camel, and he had lot a food.

He called out, ‘Come on you blackfellas! You want to have? I got meat here.’ He had a big bucket, lotta meat in the bucket. And he brought out hot water, there’s a meat there, cook[ed] meat, and he give it [to] all people. That all blackfellas eat. While mob a people eat that meat and that meat been a taste different. Not, not taste [like] bullock meat. And they said ‘Ahhh ... I think we been eat that old man!’ From that time [they] never see that old man, for life. I think that was him. That old kartiya [white man] he shoot that old man and boil him in the hot water and give ‘em to the people and all people been eat they own people!

Because that was the idea was, but they try to get [to look] around for [Kinki’s] track, where that old man run away [from that kartiya] and they couldn’t find his track. His been there one place in his bough shed. I think that kartiya [white man] shoot him and give that meat to that people. Because they went around [looking for him], couldn’t see him anymore. Never see him for life. I think that was his, that old bloke been a good fresh meat to eat, just like a Chinese restaurant, you know! [Laughing]

Yeah, been a cruel man, you know. Well, that the story ‘bout, from that old Spider Snell. And old Spider Snell still [a]live and go to every meeting. You know that old bloke praise the lord. He was, he following the lord Jesus, old man Spider Snell. He was the last law man and he’s there. And he respect to the old Country style, and the young people to keep that Country real tight, you know. Mmm. That old bloke can dance this kind a corroboree here [Majarrka]. He the, he the leader of dance this corroboree. [Laughing] And this lady here, [referring to his carved head of a woman] young lady come from round there. This a good lookin’ lady here, I think I gonna get married tonight! [Laughing] Well, thank, thank very much. Now I don’t wanna talk more about, might be tell a lies, you know! Yu, wali [Yes, that’s all].


Source: CSROH_49_Pampirla_Hansen_Boxer
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Pampirla Hansen Boxer; © 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 Nora Tjookootja, Ngilpirr Spider Snell, Jukuja Dolly Snell, Manmarr Daisy Andrews, Milkujung Jewess James

Kaningarra Jila - Recording and story of song for Kaningarra [ORAL HISTORY]

Other Speaker/s: Joy Nuggett

Synopsis: Kaningarra jla: a recording of ceremonial song for the living water that became Well 48 on the CSR and the explanation of the song's meaning

Date: 2009-04-01
Art centre(s):
Language spoken: Walmajarri, Wangkajunga
Catalogue number: CSROH_173_Kaningarra_Song
Interviewed By: Monique La Fontaine
Translated By: Putuparri Tom Lawford, Joy Nuggett, Monique La Fontaine
Location Recorded: Ngumpan
Latitude/Longitude: -18.76/126.03

Cultural Protocols: Public Access - Restrictions on Use
Access: Public
Notes: This contains the transcript of the Kaningarra song in language and then translated with commentary from the singers. The verses are numbered to correlate to the later translation. There are additional notes included at the end of this transcript which were added when the permission was gathered in November 2009.
Full transcript: [Sung in old Wamaljarri by: Jukuja Nora Tjookootja, Ngilpirr Spider Snell, Jukuja Dolly Snell, Manmarr Daisy Andrews, Milkujung Jewess James]

1. Kaningarra marna layalaya marna nyinyi [ or nyi] kurlila marna jirrimpil karrinyana.

2. Nganangu paja wurna wurna pungany nyi [or nyinyi] wirliti marna jarrkarra wantinya na.


3. Yankurr karrila kankarra pajila piply pipily marna nyi [or nyinyi] ngaliwirri pa yankurr karrila.

4. Yayaya marla kankarra pajala pipyl pipyl marna nyi [or nyinyi] ngaliwirri pa.

5. Nyimarr pa karrila kayili karla nyimarr pa marna nyi [or nyinyi] kayili karla.


6. Kayili marna marnkiti kangany nyi [or nyinyi] kayili marna jangala wurru.


[These verses are repeated over and over.]

[Note: Verses numbered, with commentary of singers in between. Some of the verses contain elements of the story described by the singers and are not direct translations of the song.]

Nora Tjookootja: This is my husband [Donkeyman Benny – boss of Kaningarra, Spider’s brother] song and story.

Spider Snell: Kaningarra is for him, my brother.

NT: That’s their Country, that boy Pampirla [Hansen Boxer]. His father this one here. [His father is Daisy’s brother].

1. I am Kaningarra. Standing in my Country, I look to the south.

2. [Direct translation:] What are these things chasing me, making me run around in circles? I’m a maparn [magic man]. I am standing up and falling down.

[Additional:] These devil dogs are frightening me. I hit them with my power.

Daisy Andrews: You know this one dog been chase ‘em.

NT: Jakarra [to Tom Lawford], you know who he was chasing? Julypa, my lamparr [father in law] [Julypa/Kaningarra].

SS: My old man, Julypa, warri warri [from the older generation].

Yeah, he was hitting them [dogs] with his maparn [magic], my old man [Julypa/Kaningarra].

NT: Yeah, my lamparr [father in law]. Dog was chasing him. Something like a kukurr [devil].

SS: Kukurr was chasing him, kunyarr kukurr [devil dog]

DA: Old man, he was being chased.

NT: Yeah, your daddy, the father of Daisy’s mob, my lamparr [father in law].

Jewess James: Long time ago, [in the Dreamtime] you know, not from today.

3. Streaks of lightning are flashing in the distance. A storm is gathering all around. Lightning is flashing on top of the hills like fire, I hide underground. A waterhole forms in the earth.

SS: Like when he flashing up in the sky like fire, that’s that lightning.

NT: Lightning was flashing on top him, my father in law [Julypa/Kaningarra], then he went inside to hide underground. That’s why there’s two water hole there, one on top and one on the bottom. When he went inside that’s that water on the bottom.

4. A storm cloud is raining in the distance but it is coming closer and closer. It will pour on you. Lightning strikes on the hill. Another waterhole is formed from the sky.

SS: When they strike at night it’s like a fire burning. It was striking on top of that old man. That’s that water on the top. It’s for them old people,

DS: Nyapajayi [to Monique], this song bring up big rain.

5. The storm is approaching from the north-west. It brings little bit of rain, sprinkling lightly like a mist.

SS: To the west he’s standing in the salt water in the sea.

JJ: He was standing on his own one leg, on his knee, holding his spear, looking at the rain. That rain he can’t come, it belongs to there, it stays one place.

6. In the north, a Jangala man is standing on one leg in the sea, looking out. He is painted up, carrying a spear and a boomerang. He drinks rainwater. He dances back and forth and brings the song from the north.

JJ: After standing all day looking at the rain he started dancing towards it, having a drink of that water, and dancing back. Back and forth.

[Further note added from November 2009 permissions trip:]

Joy Nuggett: All of these songs come together at Kaningarra …

[Additional information given November 2009 permissions trip:]

Kaningarra is a major rain-making site. In addition to the main song for Kaningarra jila, a number of other rain-making songs, like the one below, converge at this site [Kaningarra]:

Kitil and wiyirr birds migrate towards the storm, bringing the rain.

Puddles form, little streams run on the ground. People walk through pools of water.

Rain makes the waters run like a river. Foaming up, the waters meet and flood.


Source: CSROH_173_Kaningarra_Song
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Jukuja Nora Tjookootja, Ngilpirr Spider Snell, Jukuja Dolly Snell, Manmarr Daisy Andrews, Milkujung Jewess James; © 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: Nyangkarni Penny K-Lyons

Nyangkarni Penny K-Lyons - So-called husband [ORAL HISTORY]

Synopsis: Penny K-Lyons talks about travelling north from the desert, and her two uncles in Japingka. She then talks about how she went east to Tapu (Wakartu Country). She travelled north again after that, for sugar and tea leaf, where she learned Kukatja and Wangkajungka. She then went back to the desert, andf after that travelled and ate at the well of Kaningarra. She then talks about being taken to Kurungal, and spearing bullock there, after which police took men to jail.

Date: 2007-11-19
Art centre(s):
Language spoken: Walmajarri, Wangkajunga
Catalogue number: CSROH_59_Nyangkarni_Penny_K-Lyons
Interviewed By: John Carty
Translated By: Putuparri Tom Lawford
Location Recorded: Fitzroy Crossing
Latitude/Longitude: -18.17/125.59
Caution: Contains some coarse language.

Cultural Protocols: Public Access
Access: Public
Full transcript: Nyangkarni Penny K-Lyons: No, I will speak in Walmajarri. I was a Walmajarri speaking person living there as a kid. My two fathers were there also, my two fathers: one was young and the other was a bit older. We all lived there at one place, one Country, when we were kids. We lived there until we were getting a bit older, then my two fathers went east. Me and my sister, we lost one of our brothers recently [Skipper]. There’s only four of us alive now, all sisters. The mob all went east. They left me behind, I was walking around on my own. I had water there on top of a hill, my home called Paryarr. I left Japingka. To the east my other grandmother [ngawiji] was walking around alone as well. The others left her behind too yuwayi [yes]. My uncles and them, they all went east. My grandmother and I started walking east, walking until we found my two uncles. ‘We will have to take these two with us,’ my grandmother told me. From Japingka we came ...

We all went east. We came to a jumu [soak water]. We camped there for the night. In the morning my uncles went away towards their Country. Me, I went back. My ngawiji was there. Old man, my jaja [maternal grandfather] was there too. My fathers were at Japingka. You [talking to her sister Rosie Tarco] already went. Your husband took you away. I was a young girl then. I went back then and saw my ngawiji sitting down. We used to go hunting. We killed plenty of goannas and other animals. Game was plenty then. As kids we used to kill plenty. We weren’t frightened. We killed them because they were our source of meat. We were staying at Japingka then. We then said, ‘Everybody left us, we should go after them. They left us when we were kids, now that we have grown up we should go look for them. Our parents have already gone too.’

We went east until we came to a place called Tapu, Jila [spring] Tapu. Warkartu [Cory Surprise] left Tapu before we came. She went looking for her husband. She left my uncle then [her first husband]. We lost him there, my uncle. We cried, us kids. We threw ourselves on the ground. We never hit ourselves on the head with rocks. My sister already left with her husband. She left me. My brother was with me and our fathers were looking after us. From Tapu we went to a place called Kurrtjalpartu. We stayed there where there was water. Ngurrara, our homeland there, Country.

I left my country back there, jila country. ‘They’re not here,’ someone said. ‘They’ve gone somewhere far away. We’ll have to go back to Tapu.’ ‘Yeah, let’s go back. They’ve left us, there’s nobody here. We’ll find them some other time.’ My father was gone too. We lost one of them, the older one. My mother and aunty went away too. ‘Let’s go back to Tapu. We’re big kids now, we’ll be able to look after our own selves. There’s plenty of jurnta [bush onions] to gather and goannas there to hunt.’ So we went back and stayed around there for a while. Then we wanted to go looking for our mob again from a place called Ngijirl Ngijirl, it’s a jila [spring] too. We went and came upon a big creek bed. We were gathering jurnta along the creek bed. ‘Ah, leave this jurnta alone, let’s go hunting for goanna!’ My father came there. (He passed away at old Cherrabun. These mob lost him, not me. I was still at bush.) We told him that our other father, his brother, the oldest one, passed away. [His two sons drowned here at the old station.] We sat there with him for a while, crying, then we got up and went away. We left him there.
We went to a place called Walypa. We were hunting mirta [a type of cat], that animal that lives in the hole. We used to chase them until they went into their hole, then we dug them out and killed them. Us ladies used to do that. We were there, that’s true. Then my brother came [Skipper]. He came from the station, Cherrabun. He brought sugar, flour and tea leaves with him. We were sitting down and then I saw him coming. ‘Hey! That’s my brother coming!’ Yes, it was him, my brother. I’m his sister. Polly is the youngest. She’s in Looma, and Murrungkurr’s [Terry Murray] mum. He came and sat down. I told him, ‘We are lost in our Country. Nobody’s here.’ We cried there with him. We stayed there for a while.

We started eating that stuff he brought from the station. I kept on asking him if this thing they call flour tastes alright. ‘They’re from the kartiya [white people],’ he told me. ‘They sent them with me for you people to taste. And this one, what is this? What shall we call it? This one is walyarra [sugar]. This tucker I brought from the stations, we shall eat it to make ourselves full.’ He then told us ‘Let’s go back home.’ We took off past Tapu, past another place called Jitartu. There’s a hill there at Jitartu, I went there lately. We then went to a place call Kurnajarti, our ngurra [Country]. This is our Country. There’s a Turtujarti tree there on the side. It died. We made a bough shed there.

Jukurna’s mum, my ngawiji and my jaja [maternal grandparent] and my young mum, we were there. Then I told my father ‘You must take me with you when you go to the station! Don’t leave me.’ Polly was a little girl then. That night he took off taking only Polly with him. The next day I was crying, feeling sad, wondering why my father and mother left me. I cried for two days. Crying for my mother and father and my little sister Polly. Today she’s a parnany [married woman]. She’s at Looma. My jaja told me to stop crying saying. ‘You might get sick. They’ll be back. We shall wait for them here at our home. He will come back for us.’ I settled down then.
From there I went hunting looking for goanna. On top of the sand hills I went looking. I was a bushman walking around. I didn’t have anything on. We stayed there for a while hunting and gathering. A while later my jaja [maternal grandparent] decided that we should leave my young mother. Me and my jaja, we went south hunting and gathering along the way. I told her ‘There’s big mobs of tucker around here.’ We’ve got goannas, snakes and other animals. Real meats that belongs to us. I was getting to be a big girl now, walking around in the desert. Then I said to myself, ‘Why are we walking around here? I think we should go and look for my parents. They took Polly with them when she was a little girl.’ Then I was thinking, ‘Will we find our way there? Because we didn’t know where they went. We only knew they went somewhere east.’ So we stayed.

We saw smoke. Somebody lit a fire. We said ‘It’s them! Let’s go!’ My jaja said ‘No, let’s wait here.’ But it wasn’t them. It was two men, two murderers. At Ngijirl Ngijirl we were there. Then me and my young mother, we went hunting around dinnertime. We came across those two men. They speared my jaja and my other mother. I took off crying. They where cheeky those two old blokes. One of them died at Leopold Station lately. They killed Jukurna’s [Jukuna Mona Chuguna] ngawiji as well as some other old ladies. That’s good that other one died at Leopold. Then that man who died at Leopold grabbed me and took me north. He was teaching me Kukatja [language]. Big shame.

There was Iris Jack and her husband, that man [who died at Leopold] and his wife, and he added me as his wife. My other mother, she took off, frightened of them. I went with him. We were travelling north. He was belting me along the way too, that old man. That one that died at Leopold. He was teaching me Wangkajunga [language] then. ‘We are going this way,’ he used to say in Wangkajunga. After stealing me to be his wife, we went north somewhere, a long way, to a place called Piluwurlu. Big hill, that place called Piluwurlu. And Jikarn [Well 50], through there we went walking. I got sick along the way. That old man fixed me up. He sang me until I got better. Then in the afternoons he kept asking me, ‘Are you ok?’ ‘Yes,’ I would say.

[She is now speaking in Wangkajunga]

We kept on travelling until we came to one of those wells. Long time ago kartiya [white people] dug a hole and put a well there. We stayed there at that well for a while. From there we went to Pilya. We stayed there for a while. ‘Let’s go! Come on my two wives, let’s go,’ that man said. He was talking to his own wife and me. I was quiet. ‘Get up! Let’s go and dig for karnti [bush potato].’ We went north. Her daughter was there too, Mungantiya. She’s at Guwardi [Ngarti old people’s home in Fitzroy Crossing] now, along with her husband. We dug up plenty of karnti and after a while he told us to go and look for goanna. ‘There’s plenty around here,’ he said. ‘We need meat. We’ll eat meat as husband and wives,’ he said. We killed plenty that day. We sat down, cooked em all up and had a big feed. We didn’t have anything, we just went with what we had, trying to avoid other people.

From the east we saw two camels coming. [I’m speaking Wangkajunga because he taught me, that man who died at Leopold. My so-called husband. Not husband really, granny. Yeah, he was my granny in some way.] ‘Hey you two, let’s follow this camel track. I’m sure we’ll get a big feed.’ We followed the tracks until we saw them standing to the north in a shade. I came along behind, slowly. [We left another lady with her daughter behind, digging for karnti [bush potato] at Pilya. There’s a hill there.] Finished: that old man, he scared them camels off. They took off running, those camels, towards a waterhole. He wanted to kill one. One old lady was there at that waterhole where those camels were heading. I thought something was wrong. I thought them camels were bringing bad news. I didn’t know what they were. They stood along side that old lady. She tried hunting them away but they just stood there. That’s when I thought of those animals bringing trouble. Then that old man came along and scared them off again. They went up a hill and stood there. We sat there looking at them camels on top of the hill. I thought to myself, ‘What are they are doing on top of that hill?’

We stayed there at that waterhole, camped there. I got up and had a look, they were still there, them camels. I got up in the morning: them camels were still there. When the sun came up they came down and stood in between us and the water hole. Then I thought to myself, ‘There’s trouble here. Why can’t this animal go after that old man tried to spear it?’ That old man got a glass spearhead then and put it on his spear and speared the camels through the ribs, killing it. They cut it up and starting cooking it. Then one lady said to us, ‘Hey! Come here and cut some of this meat and cook it and eat it. Why are you getting shame?’ ‘That meat is no good. It hasn’t got any fat on it,’ I said. ‘I thought you two liked eating meat,’ our daughter and the old lady who passed away told us. They were growling at us. I tasted it. It wasn’t good, it tasted horrible. ‘Let’s go,’ I said. ‘Leave the husband here. Let’s go get real tucker.’ We went digging for karnti [bush potato] near Kaningarra.

We came back with plenty of karnti [bush potato]. They told us, ‘You two are mad walking off like that while there’s meat here.’ ‘We went to get good tucker, not that horrible tucker. It doesn’t taste good.’ We cooked our tucker and had a feed while the others were eating camel. We took off again, us two, hunting, the other mob still eating camel. That horrible tasting meat, they were eating it all day. After digging for [karnti] we came back and sat down and had a rest on the other side. ‘I’ll lie down for a while,’ she told me, my sister, ‘I’m feeling a bit sick.’ She started to bleed from her privates. We stayed with her for a while until about dinnertime. She passed away then, poor thing, right there at that place called Pilya. Her two daughters were crying and hitting themselves over the head with rocks. I cried too. I told them, ‘That meat that you mob were eating is the one that made her die! That’s not good meat! We lived on good meat before that animal came.’

We left that place, heading towards Kaningarra. We came to a well, I don’t know the name of that well. We saw big mobs of emus there. They went hunting, trying to catch one. They didn’t catch any, they were too quick and fast. We camped there at that well. All that time people were asking, ‘What’s the name of this place?’ ‘I don’t know, I’m not from here,’ I said. ‘My Country is further south from here,’ I said. Even that that old man didn’t know. In the morning we went to Jikarn [Well 50]. ‘I know this place. This is Jikarn,’ I said. ‘We heard about this place a long time ago.’ We got some water from the well there, with a tin, with rope tied to it, at Jikarn on the Canning Stock Route. From there I asked that old man, ‘Where to now from here?’ I asked him. ‘We are going back,’ he told me. ‘This is as far as we came to, this well now. We are all going back to where we came from.’ ‘This is Jikarn. People have talked about this place, I heard them,’ I said. He lit a fire on other side at Jikarn. We kept on walking til it got hot. We sat down under some trees to rest in the afternoon then we took off again.

I told these two kids, ‘Look around for goannas. They should be in their holes by now, they’ll be more easy to catch. Go and get some for us, we don’t want to be walking hungry,’ I told them. We kept on walking til we came to a well not far from Piluwul [a hill not far from Well 46, she is probably talking about Kujuwarri, Well 46]. As a child I heard about this place. We camped there that night. In the morning we took off. We saw smoke from a distance, ‘Hey, there’s somebody over there lighting fires,’ I said. I asked that old man, ‘You know this Country?’ He said, ‘No, my Country is a long way from here.’ We kept on walking until I saw two Turtujarti trees next to a jumu [ephemeral water]. [Talking to her sister] ‘What’s that water called where there’s two trees next to it?’ ‘Ah, this is Puntarrpuntarr. Let’s dig for water,’ I said. Nothing. No water. So we camped there that night.

In the morning we took off again. We saw Jukuna’s [Mona Chuguna] mother-in-law along the way. When I saw her I started crying with her. ‘You’re still alive,’ I said to her, ‘I thought you were dead!’ We sat there and cried there for a while. After we finished crying she said, ‘Come on, let’s go look for our people. They went east, let’s go and look for them.’ We got up early that morning and started walking east. We didn’t carry any water with us, we just went. We kept on walking until we came to a salty marsh area. ‘I know this place,’ I said. ‘This is Pirnti. They told me about this place.’ We kept on walking, went up a sand hill and then I saw Puntarrpuntarr with two tree beside it. I dug for water there but didn’t find any. It was too far down. No, that’s Parkarnyung not Puntarrpuntarr. Parkarnyung with one Turtujarti tree beside it. We saw where people had camped. There were blankets on the ground and bough sheds. They built their camp not long ago and left that place now, Parkarnyung. ‘Where’s the water?’ That old man kept asking me. ‘I don’t know,’ I said. ‘Somewhere this way.’

We kept on walking. It started to drizzle rain. We kept on going until we found water in a clay pan. We had a good drink. We were thirsty, two days without water. We kept on going. In the morning we came to place where there were two hills and a jumu [ephemeral water]. We dug there but no water. ‘Let’s go,’ I told my so-called husband. So we kept on going until we came to water. We watered ourselves down, had a drink and a rest. After a while I told them, ‘Let’s go hunting. You mob know how to go hunting for goanna or what?’ So I went off. I found a big one on a tree and I killed it. It was so big and full of fat. We cooked it and ate it. There was plenty of kumpupaja [bush tomato] there too. That was the last time we saw it. After eating and drinking water we set off again, hunting goannas along the way. We kept on going and then that old man said, ‘We’ll wait here until the moon comes up.’ So, while we were waiting we cooked up the goannas we got along the way. When the moon came up a bit high we took off, at night with the moonlight, walking, no water.

We kept on going until we came to a rockhole. It had a stone as a lid over it, covering it up. We threw the stone away. There was water in there but too far down to reach, so we covered it back up and kept on walking over sandhills. We went walking until the sun came up. In the morning we were walking through hilly Country. Now we came to a creek and there was water there, so we had a good drink. There was a windmill there, belong to kartiya [white people]. That old man cooked a goanna. He didn’t cook it properly, he cooked it with shit and everything still inside it. ‘Why did you muck up that meat?’ I told him. ‘I don’t know how to cook these big goannas,’ he said. ‘I only know them little ones, wirlka.

We went to the windmill and those two started chasing bullocks. The bullocks came for water at the windmill. We cried for that windmill too! At the windmill we saw buckets full of tar, they used to put that on cattle. These two girls and them two fellas, they started drinking it, then they got sick. Not me, I didn’t drink it. I was cooking goannas. ‘What’s that you mob drinking?’ I said. ‘No, we are drinking this thing like kalaka [honey] that belongs to the white man.’ ‘Up to you mob,’ I said. ‘I’m cooking goanna, you mob drink it.’ They had no shame drinking that thing. Them two fellas then went and jumped into the water and were sitting there, and them two sisters they were vomiting. Me, I was eating. After a while I said, ‘You mob ok?’ Them two girls were lying down and the two old fellas were still in the water. I told them, ‘No shame. You mob went and drank something you don’t know. Me, I was alright I never drink that thing. I was eating goanna.’ That goanna jarrampayi [goanna]from the river Country. Them girls said, ‘Mummy, I don’t what it was that we drank that made us sick.’ ‘Up to you mob, you think you know what you drinking,’ I told them.

They were vomiting too much and they started to eat dirt. I went to sleep then to have a rest, this was at night. In the morning they all woke up feeling better now. The girls told me they were feeling better now but they didn’t know what they drank to make them sick. I told them, ‘I was eating meat, you mob were drinking that thing.’ We took off walking. We killed a pussycat on the way, even the kittens. We kept on walking until we saw this thing spinning around.
‘What is that thing?’ I said, ‘Ah that’s a windmill. There’s water there,’ I said. There were some people there on holidays too [after station work] but they were a bit further down from the windmill, old people, they all passed away now. We saw plenty of marnuwiji [konkaberry] trees there too, they where full of berries. We collected big mobs of them. ‘We’ll cook that pussycat tonight,’ I said. ‘Let’s collect these marnuwiji instead.’ My husband then told me, ‘Let’s go this way. Let them collect them marnuwiji.’ He took me away and gave me a big hiding all because of meat. Because I didn’t save him any he flogged me till I was bleeding from my head. ‘You should have saved me that meat!’ he told me, that man who died, my husband.

I then washed myself in the water to clean my head of blood. ‘You got no shame giving me a hiding! I’m from a different tribe,’ I told him. Yuwayi [yes], finish. We took off at day break to Ngarlpala [Wattle Springs]. He speared a bullock there early in the morning while it was drinking water. I heard that noise he made when he speared it. ‘Light a fire!’ he shouted. ‘I wanna cook this meat,’ he said. ‘You light the fire,’ I told him. ‘Cook some meat for me parnany [wife],’ he said. So I had to cook them for him. I cooked his meat on sand. That’s how we used to cook meat in them days. We saw a person coming, he heard us spearing the bullock. He saw us and left us. He was frightened of us, this person from Kurungal [Wangkatjungka]. He’s dead now. He went and told the other mob and they came with a tractor. ‘Come here,’ they said. ‘We are your countrymen too. We speak Wangkajunga,’ they said. ‘We are Wangkajunga speakers,’ they said. ‘We came here to this Country from the desert before you mob. You mob are the last ones to walk in here. We are family,’ they said. They told us to follow them. We threw the meat away and took off.

After a while I looked back and saw that tractor driving away with people on the trailer. They already told the manager about us spearing bullock, and the policeman too. We kept on walking until we came to a hill, that hill not from the community. We kept going and came to a windmill and drank water there. I don’t know what that windmill’s name is, near that hill. We kept on going until we came to a creek. Them two speared another bullock there. ‘Why aren’t you frightened?’ I told them. ‘We just saw people who worked for kartiya [white people]. They will tell on us,’ I said. ‘I’m hungry,’ he said. ‘Yeah, cook it and eat it.’ I said, ‘They are following behind us. I saw them,’ I said. We started to cook them on the other side of the creek. We were cooking them on hot sand. Some we buried in the sand. We camped there and in the morning we went to the river, Kurungal river. We were lying in the shade in the river. Those mob that we saw were tracking us from behind. They where following us.

In the afternoon we took off again. We headed towards Pirripa [Chula Yards]. Pirrapa, I’m calling that place on the Kurungal river. We camped there. In the morning I went digging for water in the river bed, then I heard a noise. Them two killed another bullock, then I heard strange noises. We took off. It was the police. We saw the people we saw earlier, they were on both sides of us. Them girls were swimming. Then they came up to me. I was still carrying a bone with me to eat later but I threw it away in fright. The policeman came and he was taking pictures of the bullock they killed. That bullock was fat too. We were crying, frightened of what might happen to us. ‘Stop crying,’ they told us. ‘We are taking you mob to the station. We are family. We are Wangkajunga,’ they said. ‘We are bushmen too,’ they said. ‘You are family.’ They were talking to us in Kukatja too. Me, I’m a Walmajarri person. I been sit down Walmajarri. ‘Pa parnany [let’s go wife]. They’re gonna take us,’ that old man told me. They took us to Kurungal [Christmas Creek].

Along the way I saw gates for the first time. ‘What do these thing do?’ I said. We kept on going until we reached the station. People were everywhere, they were all waiting for us. They were waving and shouting at us. They took us into a house, that policeman did, the policeman from here, Fitzroy. We waited there for a while, inside that house. The policeman was taking photos of us. We were all naked. We didn’t have anything on, yawi [poor thing]. Big shame. My two husband, they took them to jail in Fitzroy [Crossing]. One old white lady, she gave us a bath with water and soap. Then she kept us at the house, looking after us while them other two, they took the two brothers to Fitzroy. We stayed there for a while. Kartiya [white people] gave us blankets. Then the people came over and started talking to us. One old lady, Bluey’s wife, started speaking to the girls saying that she knew their mother. ‘Leave her alone,’ I said. ‘You mob left us with out coming back for us,’ I said. Those kartiya took us around and showed us the station. We stayed with them for a while and then we were allowed to stay with the people, our families. The two blokes, policeman took them, they never came back. One got killed at Leopold Station.

Then we started working. They were teaching us, them old people. They were showing us how to use iron tools. I worked for the station, building fences, even building fences around bores. The white people were showing us. We all worked, men and women. One them fellas from our party, he went back to the desert. I tried following him to bring him back. I only found the clothes he was wearing but he was gone. Probably still there, I don’t know. That young fella, one Tjapaljarri one. My husband, he was working at Leopold with old Bluey and one old man from Billiluna, Campoven, that’s his name. After a while I got sick. I went to hospital for operation. That’s when they told me my husband had passed. The doctors and nurses told me. I cried there at the hospital poor fella. Bluey lost him there at Leopold. Bluey and Lurn [Willie Kew]. I was single now. I went travelling. I went to Balgo and stayed with them two Tjungurrayi’s for a while [Kamara Brandy Tjungurrayi and Olodoodi (Alatuti) Patrick Tjungurrayi – they call Penny K-Lyons aunty].

This is how I’m living now, like this now. Finished. He died. I was travelling around, no husband, single woman. I didn’t want anybody. We’re all women here. Haven’t got husbands. Some in Kurungal [Wangkajunga], some in Ngumpan. He was the only husband I had. He was cheeky. Nyamu [finished].


Source: CSROH_59_Nyangkarni_Penny_K-Lyons
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Nyangkarni Penny K-Lyons; © 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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