Name: Anga Friday Jones
Anga Friday Jones - Tankil Tankil's escape from Rottnest [ORAL HISTORY]
Synopsis: Friday Jones tells the story of Tankil Tankil's escape from Rottnest.
Language spoken: Kriol, English
Catalogue number: CSROH_177_Anga_Friday_Jones
Interviewed By: John Carty, Monique La Fontaine
Transcribed By: Paulene Mackell
Location Recorded: Well 1
Cultural Protocols: Public Access - Restrictions on Use
Notes: This is the Tankil Tankil – ‘story all the Martu know’.
Full transcript: Friday Jones: Tankil Tankil ... I think he from Billy Snell [Snell’s Pass] Number 9 [Well]. He had a brother, name called Shovel. Shovel, Shovel, they called him Japil Japil. That’s the family now, the brother. And old Jack Stevens they call him Lalilali. Them three used to been main act, or something like that [laughs] for what spearing people. They don’t like a whitefella. They go around spear him for nothing. Oh, not nothing, for reason. For whitefella wanted to what-name to Martu girls. But they get wild, you know, they get savage, spear him. They spear and leave im like that. They dig a what’s-name and bury him and just leave him just like nothing … They must be kill bout a couple, specially on them want to look around for wanti (women), yeah, that’s why they get savage, you know, start spearing em, kill em. They really mean it too.
Joe Wilkins? I couldn’t remember his name … I think the Longs mixed up [with that story]. [Well] 9 or 10, number 10 or number 11, somewhere around there. The Longs they belong to there, they come from there, that’s when they were staying there, wandering around their Country. Yeah, so police went there, and have a look, they found the body. Yeah, yeah, old fella [Tom] Ingebong [tracked them]. He been in the bush all the time … Blue Hill, that’s where that old fella come from …
Police went with a Landrover, old Landrover, two of them go in Landrover, that’s long time. They reckon they had a trailer, they had to chain em up and bring him in a trailer … Yeah, and they locked em up in old lock up here [in Wiluna], bring him up here and then I think they took him on the train from Wiluna to Rottnest Island. I think old Jack Stevens and Tankil Tankil.
That’s when they lock him [Tankil Tankil] up in Rottnest Island. They had him long time, I think. And they got sick of it and they want to go home, you know. And they said, ‘hey, gotta get off. That big sea there,” and they in a island. And they broke a little stick, bout that long, [gestures about 3 or 4 feet], they clean him with a knife, made a point - they big maparn [traditional healer] too - clever people you know - and they got something out of here, [they pulled maparn power from their bodies], and they put him [into the stick] then they sent that stick. And they wanted that stick to stay there, to stay there, go and stay [on course]. Then they sent that stick straight across, right to the end, not straight down to [Fremantle Port] … Long way, on that side, south side [of Fremantle]. They didn’t want to go straight in, ‘cause town was there [and too many people].
They got to town. They knew. They swim across. And this maparn [traditional healer] [gestures to his stomach], he open too. Free. Just like he free [can’t be imprisoned], you know. This nyuru [stomach] is open. And he say, ‘Ah, we’ll get there no worries’. They pull him out [that maparn, and their handcuffs break] open – open. They went. They never went like [swimming], they went all the way [like they were propelled by a great force], something just sent them right up to where the end of the sea, you know. Gone. They went travel all night and day. They was happy. They go, and they come back around Kalgoorlie way, they come back here, and they went straight to their own Country. Palarji I think, Palarji (Well 9) Country. That old fella Lalilali, they both come from that way, old Palarji Country, where Glen-Ayle [Station] is, to north, that’s where they stayed there, seeing all the mob. They was all happy you know. Just like that picture [Rabbit Proof Fence] where they watching them two sister [who escaped from Moore River and travelled back to Jigalong] just went back, right back to their mob. Just nothing wrong, don’t worry ‘bout it, well nothing.
[Long way for desert people to travel across the sea], yeah, but they were clever [maparn - magic] people. Both Tankil Tankil and Lalilali. I think Tankil is that uncle [for Lena].
They knew [their way]. They got picked up round Palarji round there … [After that] they been living round that a way, then the old fella he went Kalgoorlie way. He went to Kalgoorlie ‘cause he had some people up that way … he married that place there [Tankil Tankil]. Yeah he’s Ngaju , Ngaju side, that one, round Kalgoorlie side, family from that side Ngaju. Lalilali, he belong to here, round Palarji. Ngaju people, say like what I say, we are Martu here, Noongars in Perth, well in Kalgoorlie they got Ngaju, different language … Ngaju people, they talk funny different way. Like Italian [laughs], yeah, good one.
Video recording: BTS 148 Friday Jones Tankil Tankil.mov
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Anga Friday Jones; © 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.