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Camels and Poison

Story:Papunya Tula artist Charlie Wallabi (Walapayi) Tjungurrayi recalled that while camping at Kukapanyu as a young man he came across the tracks of a drover’s camel. Sharpening his spear, he fitted it with barbs and followed the tracks. He found the camel near Wajaparni (Well 38) and speared it. Then he cut the meat into pieces with a stone knife and prepared it for cooking.

Walapayi cooked the meat and took some steaks to the camp of relatives nearby. Then he brought them back to where the camel had been cooked.

'So everybody had a share of meat. I grabbed myself a shoulder blade and the rest was for the others.'

After they’d feasted, his relatives kept travelling east. Walapayi and his nephew headed west towards the Canning Stock Route, in search of more camels.

Instead of camels, Walapayi and his nephew found the tracks of white men, horses and bullocks. They also found a can of tinned meat. After eating it, Walapayi’s nephew became deathly ill. The two men were convinced the meat had been deliberately poisoned.

'He felt so funny and he was shaking like he was cold and even his voice sounded funny. He couldn’t speak properly, he was lying down mumbling. He was feeling helpless. He couldn’t move so I start fixing him up with maparn [healing power]. I did all that work on him and then I made a big fire and left him, ’cos he was feeling cold.' (Charlie Wallabi (Walapayi) Tjungurrayi, 2007)

The next day Walapayi went hunting. As the meat was cooking.

'I heard a noise, from nowhere, going: "BOOOYI! BOOOYI! Here I am!" And I said to myself, "It’s a ghost coming! I left that man back there dead, poisoned. He’s come back alive as a ghost! He’s going to spear me!" I said to him, "There’s some meat in there, you can have the other half". So he went and got the leg, the ghost did.

And I asked him, "Are you alright?" And he answered me, "I’m OK. I’m really good and better". So he wasn’t a ghost. So we started to go together walking. So we walked all the way to Lurlur and I told all the men what happened. They thought I was alright, but I was really sick from eating that poison. It was law time and I couldn’t go next to the ladies because I was on my business. But the other bloke went and told the ladies: "We’ve eaten poison. I was dead. But my uncle Walapayi fixed me". Then all the men start singing to bring me out. Corroboree.' (Charlie Wallabi (Walapayi) Tjungurrayi, 2007)

According to Martumili artist Jeffrey James, boss drover Wally Dowling held his stockman, Ben Taylor, responsible for laying dingo baits on the stock route that led to the poisoning of Aboriginal people. Desert people believed that the baits had been deliberately laid in retaliation for their having hunted working camels.

'They were chucking poison baits on this Canning [Stock Route]. So this youngfella here, Walapayi, he pick up the meat, poison bait. Soon as [head drover] Wally Dowling hear that people nearly died, he kicked Ben Taylor out for a while: ‘Never do that. Never!’ He used to chuck poison to the people, you know. Well, Walapayi pick up the bait anyway, and he nearly died.' (Jeffrey James, 2007)

Media Creator:Clifford Brooks

Media date: 2007
Story Location: Wajaparni (Well 38)

Media Description:Charlie Wallabi (Walapayi) Tjungurrayi heals a patient with his maparn at Well 36.

Story contributor(s):Charlie Wallabi (Walapayi) Tjungurrayi, Jeffrey James

Art Centre(s): CSR Project
Publisher: FORM
Media copyright: Clifford Brooks
Source: CSROH_12_Charlie Wallabi_Walapayi_Tjungurrayi
Accession ID:20131024_FORM_MIRA_B0046_0003

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

Name: Anga Friday Jones

Anga Friday Jones - Forrest's Fort, Wally Dowling, and Martu women [ORAL HISTORY]

Other Speaker/s: Kaye Bingham

Synopsis: Friday Jones tells the story of Forrest's Fort, and of Wally Dowling shooting Martu men to take Martu women.

Date: 2007-07-20
Art centre(s):
Language spoken: English
Catalogue number: CSROH_01_Anga_Friday_Jones
Interviewed By: Karen Dayman, John Carty
Transcribed By: Monique La Fontaine
Location Recorded: near Lake Nabberu
Latitude/Longitude: -25.36/120.3

Cultural Protocols: Public Access - Restrictions on Use
Access: Public
Full transcript: Karen Dayman: You started talking about one of them, a kartiya [white person] ...

Friday Jones: Yeah, yeah.

KD: Number 9 Well, which was the main place for the Martu.

FJ: Yeah.

KD: Martu tried to spear him I think ...

FJ: Yeah.

KD: ... And then he tried to shoot ‘em. That place is where the fort is.

FJ: Yep.

KD: I’ll just put a note ‘cause we were talking: on Wongawal Station, Kaye’s father was killed. And we then talked about whether you want to bring out some of those harder stories

FJ: Yeah.

KD: You said: ‘I like to say that sort of story but some people don’t like it. I knew people who saw it there, Skeleton Rockhole, that’s what they called it. The old people told me, I was too young. The station mob, they were right there. I think Wally Dowling used to shoot people too. What he done, lotta people used to tell me ‘bout him. He used to come around before my time, he killed people.’

And then I said, ‘What about Peter Gogo’s father?’ [You said:] ‘Yes, he killed him. That was around Snell’s Pass.’ Was that named after Billy Snell?

FJ: Yeah, Billy Snell, yeah.

KD: [Karen reading Friday’s transcript again]: ‘The reason why must be, he would see a big mob of people, he just had to shoot em. Henry Ward, that kartiya [white person] stops at Glen-Ayle Station he knows all that story. He’s old now. And then there were a lot of people all along the Canning Stock Route, all along, especially around Number 9 Well.’

FJ: Yeah, yeah, Number 9 Well. That’s the most people got shot there.

[Long interval. Camp noise, Friday speaks Martu to someone in the background.]

FJ: But yeah, that’s where all the people was, Number 9 [Well]. Only one of the explorer, with the camel come round shooting ‘em all.

John Carty: Do they know why they shot ‘em? Why those explorers were shooting?

FJ: I don’t know. I don’t know, they just come along, seen a big mob a people there in Number 9 spring, they just sorta, I think the people got savage for them kartiya [white people], and they trying to spear ‘em. And they, he had a big rock round him and start shooting ‘em.

JC: Like a fortress.

FJ: Yeah. They start, he start shooting ‘em, all the people. Don’t know why. He might be frighten of getting speared. He start shooting ‘em, them peoples, that bloke there now, kartiya [white person]. He shoot all the people there, just walk. Went away. Just like nothing. That’s old people was telling me that story.

JC: At the station?

FJ: Yeah, where that place is now, Number 9 [Well].

JC: Glen-Ayle?

FJ: Yeah, they just telling me, ‘Oh, that’s where all the Martu been gettin’ shoot here, getting shot. Just like a mob a jarntu [dogs/dingos] I think. They come along and shootin’ ‘em, they start spearing people. I don’t know whether they spear that white fella, or, don’t know. He must be got away.

JC: Did those old fellas say which way he was travelling, that ...

FJ: He was travelling that a way, from that a way, or might be ...

JC: Coming from east?

FJ: Coming from east, yeah.

JC: Kakarrajanu [from the east]

FJ: Yeah, kakarrajanu [from the east].

JC: He might be in this book here …

[Kaye Bingham and Annette Williams talking in background looking at book, kids talking, Joe Duncan, camp noise, etc.]

KD: I think that kartiya’s [white person] name John Forrest.

FJ: John Forrester. Oh yeah. Yeah, John Forrester.

JC: Did those, when you were growing up on the station, down there, Carnegie, did those, some of those old people tell you other stories, about that same kinda, when Martu and kartiya [white people] were spearing and shooting?

FJ: Yeah, they were always telling me lotta story, for, you know, ‘bout these white-palas [white fellas]. ‘Cause they use to rough handle ‘em you know, with a whip. Just round ‘em up, and just, with a whip. Cut ‘em everywhere, you know, for nothing, just to get ‘em mad. Don’t know why, they must been really cruel that mob, them days, yeah. [Background noise]

JC: Did they say that about those droving men, like those kartiya [white people] who were droving?

FJ: Yeah, they, like a droving was, kartiya [white person] bloke, ngana [what’s his name] Wally Dowling, he’s a people that drove from that-a-way, Billiluna.

JC: Coming down.

FJ: Coming down Wiluna. But he met lot of, lotta Martu womens there too. Yeah, yeah [laughs], and he sorta, he sorta do that just to take their woman. But you see lotta, the land now, whats-a-name, round Palarji [Well 9], or here somehow, that’s where lotta people used to stop there.

JC: Palarji?

FJ: Palarji, on the Canning Stock Route, Palarji. Palarji. That’s where a lotta people stopped there.

KD: Near where?

FJ: Palarji.

KD: Yeah but ...

FJ: Well. I think that’s Well along Canning Stock Route. That’s where he sort of shoot ‘em and had a black woman.

JC: Wally Dowling? He might shoot that nyupa [husband]?

FJ: Nyupa [husband], yeah, and he take ‘em way. Lotta, well couple of, couple of, white … that we knew [?] from that place up here, Palarji, round Palarji, ‘cause they been robbing ‘em for their nyupa [wives], you know. But he’s cruel bastard, he shoot ‘em all, you know. Well not all, just shoot ‘em and get the woman and take ‘em, yeah. Yu [yes].

KD: And the dray story, you wanna tell us that one?

FJ: Dray, well, I don’t nothing much about it but I used to listen from that old people. They used to pull that dray along that Canning Stock Route, from Billiluna at, right along the Canning Stock Route. They come through this, what you call it the Sandy Desert, through there, yeah. But they used to dodge them places, some places. Go round ‘em, end of the sandhill, come in. They don’t go over like that, they sort of follow the sandhill, come in again, keep goin’ like that, end of the sandhill.

JC: Is that ‘cause they couldn’t get …

FJ: They couldn’t get that dray over. They sort of follow that sandhill, come round and keep goin’ like that you know, where the end of the sandhill, keep going on like that, long the flat, level ground. But today ...

KD: Long trip.

FJ: ... you see a road go over a sandhill over and over, take you all day. You start early it’ll take you all day, right up to camp! [Laughs] Good one. We goin’ through there?

JC: Yuwayi [yes].

KD: And is that dray still in Wiluna?

FJ: Yeah, last one, last dray. They had to have a lot of camel to pull it, no horse. The horse couldn’t pull that. Camel, they don’t care, them camel, they strong and … without water, they go for ... nearly week, couple a week I think, without water. But they had all in government well all the way.

KD: What about donkeys?

FJ: Yeah, they had donkeys. But they were riding donkeys, they tough, them donkeys. They had horses. They had couple a hundred horses, yeah. But you have to change every, every day, different. You might have four horse, ‘nother bloke have four. Four, four, four each. Gotta change his horse every day to ride. Yeah.

JC: You were talking yesterday, with those big mobs of drovers there might be just a few kartiya [white people]and big mob of Aboriginal people travelling with them as well.

FJ: Yeah, yeah.

JC: More Martu than …

FJ: Martu, more Martu. Might be couple a bosses, you know, kartiya [white person]. And one of them is Wally Dowling and I think ‘nother bloke, Mal Brown, they call him, Mal Brown. He the one of the, he the one of the drovers, he drove with Wally Dowling. He had his revolver all the time, he got this revolver. He had it all the time. You know, revolver?

JC: Yuwayi [yes].

FJ: He had ‘em all the time.

JC: That Mal Brown one?

FJ: No, Wally Dowling. Yeah, he had his all the time.

KD: And no boots someone said.

FJ: No, he don’t wear boots, no. He tough. He foot big. I seen him once, last drovin, come through, come to Wongawal, ah ... Carnegie I mean. And his big picture there too. His big picture got him there in the wall there.

JC: What did he look like?

FJ: Ah, rough old bastard. [Laughter] Big fella. Well, I call him that. [Laughs] He rough. No smile on him. He’s hard. Tough old bastard. Sorry. [Laughs again.]

JC: Talk straight!

FJ: Yeah, if you, anytime you go to Carnegie, you walk in Carnegie, that got little shop there, Carnegie shop you see a big picture, picture ‘bout him, and mob a big cattle. They got a big picture ‘bout him in Carnegie. And mob a cattle. His offsider was Mal Brown.

JC: So they travelled together?

FJ: They travelled together. Before it he’s, he don’t, that old Mal Brown, he don’t know, he [Wally Dowling] too much this one here, [gestures drinking] whisky. Yeah.

KD: Mal didn’t like it?

FJ: Mal didn’t like him. The ways he carries on, he just leave, and he went to Windida, he stayed there at there, Windida. But he’s good, Mal Brown, he’s alright. And ah, you heard about George Lannigan? Yeah, he’s another bloke, been through the Canning Stock Route. He’s from Halls Creek too. George Lannigan. His offsider for Mal Brown.

JC: After Wally Dowling?

FJ: I mean Wally Dowling, yeah. They both, Mal Brown and … which one was that again?

JC: Lannigan.

FJ: Lannigan. Yes, George Lannigan. They sorta mate, some sorta mate or work for him or something like that. Work for Wally Dowling.

JC: Was that after Mal Brown left or … ?

FJ: Yeah, yeah, yeah. After, I think same time, yeah. They used to go to Carnegie and start to you know, start to sorta … ‘Cause George Lannigan, he part of Domans, the workers you know, ‘cause Miss Domans she owns Billiluna. She owns, Billiluna, Carnegie, Windida, Wongawal Station. And Miss Doman still owns Wongawal Station today.

KD: Oh, so she’s still alive?

FJ: No, the nephew took it on. The Snell, Johnny Snell, he’s in Waroona, right down south. Old Wally Dowling he used to go Carnegie, muster up all the cattle, Carnegie, Wongawal, Windida, Yalama [?] Station and bring ‘em right down to Wiluna, drove ‘em right down to Wiluna. Send ‘em all in the train. He do that run too, while they drovin’ here, through this Canning and he go that a way, collect all them cattle over there an bring ‘em in through, from Carnegie, Windida, Wongawal. He do it. ‘Cause he was working with Miss Doman. Old Wally Dowling he used to work for Miss Doman, drove for him.

JC: And they’d all come down.

FJ: Yeah, yeah.

JC: They’d keep going the Stock Route.

FJ: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

JC: And he’d break off.

FJ: Yep. He’ll break off.

JC: And bring that other cattle through?

FJ: Yeah, go through Glen-Ayle. He’s break off there, round Number 9 [Well].

Kaye Bingham: Number 9.

FJ: Straight through to Carnegie.

KD: And what about, did they end up rounding up more than their own cattle? Were they cleanskins out there or what?

FJ: Ah … well they used to, the people work around Carnegie, Wongalwal, they do that cleanskin, they muster and brand ‘em, get’ em all ready, you know, they mark ‘em and all that and cut all the bullocks out, for the trucking, you know. They get ‘em all ready, you know, and just ready to send ‘em out, send ‘em go out, they knew they coming up from whats-a-name, Billiluna droving, when they come round about round Glen-Ayle they’ll have ‘em all ready. So Wally Dowling he’ll go straight down to Carnegie and collect all them mob and put them through that-a-way, yeah.

KD: So, was there much stealing of cattle, did people steal each other’s cattle then?

FJ: No, no. Those days they reckon though if you steal cattle, you’ll get jail inni? Something like that, [laughs] or some sorta thing [laughs].

KD: Still happening now.

FJ: Well, yeah, ah, I don’t know, must be. It’s happening now? Oh well.

KD: One bloke went to jail last year for that.

FJ: For stealing? What about shooting [laughs] somebody else’s cattle? [laughs] That’s ... [XX – KD indecipherable] Well, some people round Wiluna go and shoot somebody else cattle and, well some of the cattle they get around Wiluna. Well, they not a real cattle station, they trying to make it a cattle station but, the main cattle station, big cattle station is Carnegie and Wongawal station. That’s before everybody got to all these cattle. Glen-Ayle they got sheep and cattle. Yeah.

JC: Did Martu ever get, some of that trouble that you get kartiya [white people] shooting and spearing, did Martu ever get in trouble for taking cattle for feed?

FJ: No, no. They used to ...

KD: Did countrymen leave beef for each other?

FJ: Well, round Carnegie they used to spear cattle round there. Round Carnegie yeah, old people they used to, old people. All these mob [gestures to Country], I think [laughs]. Yeah. The people come from outback, out in the bush, never know nothing, they just come along, come in there, they just spear ‘em and cut ‘em all up, little bit eat, little bit eat, little bit eat, that’s finish, they finish the lot, yeah. Last big place where the people used to stop round Carnegie, where the big, main place where they stop, soak you know, springwater

KB: Kukwarangwanyu [?]

FJ: Yeah. That’s it, I could think of it!

JC: Yuwayi [yes].

FJ: Yeah. Yeah, I’ll think another wangka [story] later, yeah.

JC: You have a rest.

FJ: Yeah, have a rest.

JC: Yuwayi [yes], nyamu [that’s all]. I might just tell us, it’s, what the date today? 20th of July 2007, talking with Friday Jones on the Canning Stock Route, somewhere near Lake Nabberu.

FJ: Yeah Lake Nabberu.

JC: Between Lake Nabberu and Well 4A. Yuwo [yes].

FJ: Yuwo [yes].

JC: Nyamu [that’s all].


Video recording: 1 A - Friday stories, ladies camp out, Jul 07
Source: CSROH_01_Anga_Friday_Jones
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.

Name: Mayapu Elsie Thomas

Mayapu Elsie Thomas - Natawalu painting story [ORAL HISTORY]

Other Speaker/s: Milkujung Jewess James

Synopsis: Elsie Thomas tells a story about her painting of Natawalu, and how her uncle speared a white man. She also talks about spearing bullocks and how she got bitten by a dog.

Date: 2007-11-19
Art centre(s):
Language spoken: Wankgajunga
Catalogue number: CSROH_57_Mayapu_Elsie_Thomas
Interviewed By: John Carty, Monique La Fontaine
Translated By: Putuparri Tom Lawford
Recorded by: Monique La Fontaine
Location Recorded: Ngumpan
Latitude/Longitude: -18.76/126.03

Cultural Protocols: Public Access
Access: Public
Full transcript: Elsie Thomas: At Natawalu [Well 40] an Aboriginal man speared a kartiya [white man], then that kartiya got a rifle and shot him. Right langa (at) Natawalu. Before there was a well there, then [afterwards you could only get] water at that well.

From there, my daughter-girl [Rella Angie], she went and saw his grave on top of a sandhill. She saw her grandfather. She stood there with him, my daughter-girl. Missy’s daughter. Majija [Missy, bush name]. Yeah, that one now.

That’s the place I painted now. I painted a big water, then I painted trees on there too. That tree we called Juntuntu. Yeah that’s the one. [Why are you taking my picture? I’m sick.] I painted those trees, and that jila [spring] in the middle. Not jila, just rain water. Natawalu I painted, yuwayi [yes].

Jewess James: Where did you paint it?

ET: I did it over there.

JJ: Where is it?

ET: Inside Mangkaja, in Fitzroy. You mob saw it.

John Carty: Yuwayi [yes]. And that old man, how come he was fighting with that kartiya [white man]?

ET: No, he was just coming to get water. He wanted water then he saw that kartiya [white man]. He speared him then, near the water, you know. He speared him straight away. Blackfella started it first, then that kartiya got a gun and shot him. Finished, Kawurrjangunya’s father, yawi [poor thing]. My sister’s husband, Missy’s husband.

JC: He your uncle that old man, or what?

ET: Yeah. That old man, he speared that kartiya [white man], killed him.

JJ: What did Majija call him?

ET: Uncle. She called him Uncle. Majija called him Uncle. That’s her Uncle, he gave her to [her husband] Kawurrjangunya. Nyamu [that’s all].

Another story, alright: from where we walked from. From Jutalja then on to Milyarn, from Milyarn on to a place called Kurrkumarlu. That’s where a dog bit me. Where it is that he bit me was at Kurrkumarlu. That dog bit me, kunyarr [dog], you know, jarntu [wild] dog, he bit me when I was eating meat. Dog’s name was Larntiyn. He was a bushman’s dog, yuwayi [yes]. From there we used to walk until we came to the CSR [Canning Stock Route]. At the Stock Route we speared bullocks. That was where they travelled on the CSR, along the wells to Kulyayi, to what’s this place? Jumu [soakwater] Katajilkarr. From there on to Kujuwarri. At Kujuwarri we got too many larkarnti [witchedy grubs]. I boiled some in a billycan.

That’s where we used to spear bullocks. My father and Kuji’s [Rosie Goodjie] father and Yunkunya’s father. Somebody else’s bullock, they use to spear them. Cut ‘em up and bury some for later. They used to hide and then spear them. Have a big feed then go back to their Country, back in the desert. They used to cut across, spearing bullocks if they came across one, right back to jila [spring] well. Then they went to hunt local meats, traditional meats. That’s where we came from. Through that road to here.


Source: CSROH_57_Mayapu_Elsie_Thomas
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Mayapu Elsie Thomas; © 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: 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.

Date: 2008-09-09
Art centre(s):
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
Latitude/Longitude: -26.55781/120.18128

Cultural Protocols: Public Access - Restrictions on Use
Access: Public
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
Source: CSROH_177_Anga_Friday_Jones
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.


Non-Indigenous name: Well 15

Place description: Joseph Wilkins was a former British army officer who had served in the Sudan and thought the Australian bush would be no harder to live in. Wilkins eventually settled near Weld Springs (Well 9) and made his living collecting bounties on dingo scalps from the Vermin Board. While shooting near Well 15 in 1936 he came to an agreement with an Aboriginal man named Chunga. In exchange for provisions, Wilkins was permitted to share one of Chunga’s wives. Wilkins became greedy, however, and two days later took Chunga’s second wife as well. Chunga conspired to kill Wilkins with two of his relatives, Maloora and Lalilali — the husband of Manga Margaret Long and father of Lena Long.

The following year, Tommy Ingebong reported to Wiluna police that he had found Wilkins’ horse and boot tracks; the boots had been worn backwards. Ingebong led the police party in search of Wilkins’ body. At Well 17 Maloora and Lalilali claimed responsibility for Wilkins’ death. The two men were arrested, and Lalilali’s wife Junjuma was taken to Wiluna as a crown witness. Wilkins’ body was found at Well 15 on the party’s return journey.

Wives could not be compelled to testify against their husbands under Australian law, but Junjuma and Lalilali were not legally married, and her evidence was used to convict both men. On 7 September 1937 Maloora and Lalilali were sentenced to death for Wilkins’ murder, the sentences commuted to life in Fremantle Gaol.

The trial became highly publicised. In 1940 the National Council for Civil Liberties in London called for the men’s release. The Council argued that Junjuma should be accorded the same rights as the wives of white men and that Wilkins’ provocation was sufficient to warrant a spearing under Aboriginal law.

In 1941 Chunga was finally arrested at Granite Peak Station and his three wives were also taken into custody as witnesses. International scrutiny into the case intensified. The Solicitor-General and Commissioner for Native Affairs were finally compelled to drop all charges against Chunga and they released all three men. Maloora and Lalilali had served four years in Fremantle Gaol.

Traditional knowledge: [Wilkins], he like a black woman too, Martu woman. He bit cunning. You know, every morning he just go out [and look for their women] and they got sick of it. They spear him then. He had a tent and they get that gun [from his tent] and hide ‘em, and he don’t know what going on. They just killed him with a spear. He was running for the gun. Gun was hiding long way.

So they got the police to follow them all the way to the soak, right to desert. They had one black Martu tracker, Tom Ingebong. They get him to track them all the way out there to desert. Tie ‘em up. They had a long chain. All Lena’s family. Lalilali, he done his time for that. He come back, he was pretty old. Fremantle [Gaol] he was sitting down. (Billy Patch (Mr P), 2007)

The policemen been come, long time, looking for my uncle to take him to Fremantle prison and they chained my father for the killing of that man Wilkins. Old uncle had two wives. He the main one that got stuck into that white bloke Wilkins, and my dad and my uncle was blamed for that, which he didn’t do it.

That old bloke was jealous of his two wives, aunty Wuya and Kuya. Uncle that got caught, he didn’t have any wives. My dad didn’t do that, he was running around with Mum and Junjuma and they had my brother.

[Lalilali, Charlie Jailbird], that was my father. When he came back I was nearly ready to go to school. That’s when I was asking what they done to my dad. They put him in a hospital and he passed away. [He was sent to] Fremantle prison. Done his time for nothing at all. (Lena Long, 2007)

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

1906 total depth (m): 7

Current total depth (m): 7

Current quality of well: Refurbished 1998

Current quality of water: Excellent, clear, no smell. Drinking quality. Treat before consumption

Current depth to water: 2.6

Current depth of water: 4.8

Total dissolved salts (ppm): 385

PH level: 7.6

PH level date: 2008
Related art centre(s): Other

Media title: Country near Well 15
Media creator: Tim Acker
Date: 2007

Media description: Country near Well 15
Media Copyright: FORM
Format: Image
Accession ID: FORM_MIRA_B0088_0009

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


Non-Indigenous name: Well 21

Place description: Following the 1906-07 survey, Canning’s report of gold-bearing country inspired a small flurry of prospecting activity along the route. The head of the Western Australian prospectors society, Steven Grace, set out in 1907 to try his own luck. He was killed near Well 21.

In fact, Grace was speared at the precise place where Canning’s party had picked up a young boy the previous year. The 1908 Royal Commission investigated the possibility that Grace’s death may have been an act of retaliation for the child’s perceived kidnapping. Blake claimed that the boy, whom the party named ‘Tommy’, had been taken against his mother’s will and that she had followed them all the way to Billiluna. Canning strongly denied this:

The boy especially looked as if he would not live for many days. He was tremendously hungry … He followed us along and then I decided that it would be charity to take him on, because I thought the boy would starve.

Tommy travelled north with the party and while they were camped at Billiluna Station, he was accused of sorcery and speared.

This nigger’s gin, as far as I could gather, was ill, and they seemed to imagine that the boy had exercised some kind of witchcraft. The native enticed the boy away and speared him in the side.

Tommy survived the attack but as soon they reached his Country on the return journey south he disappeared. Otto Baumgarten, the party’s cameleer, had been keen to take him to Perth.

Beaumgarten did say on one occasion that he would not mind being responsible for the boy, and would be glad to keep him, but I said that I would not allow it. I insisted on letting him go in his country. I would not take the responsibility of taking him to Perth.

But Canning remained unconvinced that Tommy’s absence and later return to his Country, wounded, bore any relationship to Grace’s death.

I do not connect it with his death, but if there is any possibility of its being connected, it would probably be in this way, that that boy travelling with us, and seeing the amount of food we had, would imagine we had an unlimited supply. It would naturally be the native’s idea. The probablilty is that he would tell the other blackfellows that when they saw a camp similar to ours with similar packs, if they killed the white men they would get an unlimited supply of food. (Alfred Canning in testimony to the Royal Commission to Inquire into the Treatment of Natives by the Canning Exploration Party, 1908, Questions 3939, 3961, 3981, 4008, and 4013)

Native title area: Martu determination
Well data: 1906 quality: Good stock

1906 total depth (m): 16

Current total depth (m): 12

Current quality of well: Disrepair

Current quality of water: Clear, sulphurous smell

Current depth to water: 5.2

Current depth of water: 6.5

Total dissolved salts (ppm): 9185

PH level: 7.7

PH level date: 2008
Related art centre(s): Other

Media title: Country surrounding Jilkupuka (Well 21)
Media creator: Tim Acker
Date: 2007

Media description: Country surrounding Jilkupuka (Well 21)
Media Copyright: FORM
Format: Image
Accession ID: FORM_MIRA_B0088_0012

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


Non-Indigenous name: Well 42
Historical name: Guli tank

Traditional knowledge: While searching for his young brother Rover Thomas, Clifford Brooks’ father Charlie came across a massacre site somewhere between wells 40 and 42. This was most likely the place where Kurtiji Peter Goodijie witnessed the massacre of his parents and siblings as a child near Well 42.

My father die there, two mothers, my brother, all the kids. Kartiya [white people] kill whole lot. Daddy kill camel, kartiya [come] after him. Father been kill ‘em camel, tommy hawk. "Christ, we better go, kartiya might shoot us! Come on, get up, lets go!" We went to them old fellas, they told us, “You two go.” We went away to a sandhill, sat down there looking at them from a long way.

Then we saw all the kartiya come up. "What? You been living here, old man?" "Don’t shoot me! I gotta sing you!" One old man got up with his spear and speared one of their horse on the leg. Kartiya shot him right there. That other old [kartiya] fella shoot him too. These mob, three sister and two mother for me, poor fella, all lot finished. That old man been die there. This my Country. That kartiya shoot him, shoot him sideways. (Kurtiji Peter Goodijee, 1986)

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

Current quality of well: Soakage

Current quality of water: Green, no smell

Total dissolved salts (ppm): 2585

PH level: 8.3

PH level date: 2007
Related art centre(s): Other

Media title: Kulyayi
Media creator: Clifford Brooks
Date: 2007

Media description: Ruins of Well 42 at Kulyayi
Media Copyright: Clifford Brooks
Format: Image
Accession ID: FORM_MIRA_B0088_0030

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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