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Tjurabalan

Paruku

Artist(s): Kampirr Veronica Lulu, Kurpaliny Bessie Doonday, Wijiji Anna Johns,Japurra Wendy Wise, Mikarri Shirley Brown, Jamiya Chamia Samuels,Tanja Lyn Manson, Nana Daisy Kungah and Kim Mahood

Date created: 2007
Art Centre(s): Paruku Indigenous Protected Area
Size: 305.5x138
Medium: acrylic on canvas

Artwork Story: In 2001 the native title rights of the Tjurabalan people were recognised by the Federal Court of Australia. More than 4300 square kilometres of their traditional lake Country was declared to be an Indigenous Protected Area.

Today the Paruku Indigenous Protected Area is managed by Tjurabalan traditional owners. Its diverse activities focus on protecting cultural heritage, managing the Paruku (Lake Gregory) lake system’s ecological biodiversity and passing on traditional knowledge to younger generations.

Kartiya used to keep him, that land, but people knew it was for them. My brother [Rex Johns] said, ‘We gotta keep the stories alive, the land alive. We all staying in Mulan now, that’s our country.’
Kurpaliny Bessie Doonday, Halls Creek, 2007

As part of the management of their lands, Paruku artists have been producing extraordinary hybrid maps, which fuse the topographic detail of Western mapmaking with fields of intricate dotting. This map of Paruku shows the rich plant food and medicinal resources surrounding the lake country and the traditional burning practices still employed by Tjurabalan people to maintain its vitality.

Paruku Indigenous Protected Area Collection

Collection: Nabung Collection
Location depicted: Paruku (Lake Gregory)
Place of creation: Lake Stretch
Latitude/Longitude: -19.0796/128.2542

Artwork copyright: ©2013 Kampirr Veronica Lulu, Kurpaliny Bessie Doonday, Wijiji Anna Johns, Japurra Wendy Wise, Mikarri Shirley Brown, Jamiya Chamia Samuels, Tanja Lyn Manson, Nana Daisy Kungah and Kim Mahood
Catalogue ID: WW/BD/VL/CS/AJ/SB/127/PAR
Protocols: Public Access - Restrictions on use

Photographer: Jason McCarthy
Photograph date: 2009-06-26
Photography copyright: National Museum of Australia
Format: Image
Category: Artwork

Artist(s) biography:
Kampirr Veronica Lulu
born 1952
Walmajarri language group
Napangarti skin group
Mulan community
Paruku Indigenous Protected Area
[We always sit together and talk about Paruku. My father used to tell story and sing song for Sturt Creek, teach all the kids.

Lulu was born and grew up around Nyarna (Lake Stretch). Before settling at Mulan in her father’s homeland, she lived at Billiluna station and then Balgo, where she helped establish Palyalatju Maparnpa health service. Today she works for Paruku Indigenous Protected Area and paints for both Paruku and Warlayirti art centres.

Kurpaliny Bessie Doonday
born about 1940s
Walmajarri language group
Napangarti skin group
Mulan community
Paruku Indigenous Protected Area
Bessie was born near Billiluna and worked at the old station before travelling to Fitzroy Crossing and Christmas Creek, where her brother Yanpiyarti Ned Cox was living. After returning to Balgo, Bessie’s father, Tiger, and brother, Rex Johns, began advocating for their people to return to Paruku and establish Mulan community.

My brother [Rex Johns] said, ‘We gotta keep the stories alive, the land alive’.

Wijiji Anna Johns
born 1949, died 2013
Ngardi language group
Nakamarra skin group
Mulan community
Paruku Indigenous Protected Area
I was schooling there until I got married in 1968. That’s how I got out of the dormitory.

Anna was born at old Balgo but was taken by nuns and raised in the mission, where she learned English before her own Ngardi language. She and her husband, Rex Johns, worked on stations, raised five children and lived at Balgo before setting up Mulan community.

Japurra Wendy Wise
born 1960, died 2011
Walmajarri language group
Nakarra skin group
Mulan community
Paruku Indigenous Protected Area
Wendy was born at Kurungal near Christmas Creek and grew up in Billiluna. She now lives in Mulan, at the northern end of the Canning Stock Route. Wendy is the sister of Milkujung Jewess James and cousin-sister of Clifford Brooks. Her mother married Rover Thomas’s brother, Whisky. She calls Rover ‘Father’ and Nyuju Stumpy Brown ‘Auntie’. Wendy works closely with Paruku Indigenous Protected Area on cultural projects.

Mikarri Shirley Brown
born 1961
Walmajarri language group
Nangala skin group
Mulan community
Paruku Indigenous Protected Area
Shirley is the daughter of Bessie Doonday and Malcolm Brown, whose father was the Billiluna station manager, Len Brown. She was born in Billiluna and grew up with her grandmother in Alice Springs. In 2001 her elders asked her to set up the Paruku Indigenous Protected Area (IPA). Shirley continues to work for the IPA today, running Caring for Country, Ranger and Collecting Traditional Knowledge programs.

Jamiya Chamia Samuels
born about 1939
Walmajarri language group
Nyapuru skin group
Billiluna community
Paruku Indigenous Protected Area
Chamia’s Country is Nyarna (Lake Stretch), where she was born with green budgerigar Dreaming. Chamia’s father, Wimpingkil Roger, was a drover on the Canning Stock Route, and as a girl she worked on Billiluna station. Chamia is a senior and respected law woman and has spent many years teaching children and young women the songs, stories, dances and cultural knowledge of their Country.

Tanja Lyn Manson
born 1944
Walmajarri language group
Nakarra skin group
Billiluna community
Paruku Indigenous Protected Area
Lyn was born at Moola Bulla station. As a child she walked with her mother to Ruby Plains, where they settled and worked on the station. After her first children were born, Lyn walked to Billiluna, looking for her family. Although many people left Billiluna when the station manager became threatening, Lyn’s family remained and successfully advocated for the establishment of Billiluna community.

Nana Daisy Kungah
born about 1940s
Walmajarri language group
Napanangka skin group
Billiluna community
Paruku Indigenous Protected Area
We doing painting for IPA [Paruku Indigenous Protected Area], telling story about old-people-time.

Daisy belongs to both Paruku, her mother’s Country, and Kaningarra (Well 48), her father’s Country. She was born and grew up in the Sturt Creek area, before coming to Billiluna as a teenager. Today she works closely with the IPA, teaching children about their culture and Country.

Kim Mahood
born 1953 Braidwood, New South Wales
Kim was born in Perth and grew up in Central Australia and in cattle country on Mongrel Downs station in the Tanami Desert. An artist and writer, her memoir Craft for a Dry Lake was published in 2000 and won the 2001 New South Wales Premier’s Award and the Age non-fiction Book of the Year. She has been working with Paruku artists on cultural mapping projects since 2005.
Artwork Diagram: paruku_various_detail

Accession ID: 20131014_FORM_MIRA_B0045_0010

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.

Paruku

Non-Indigenous name: Lake Gregory
Historical name: Gregory's Salt Sea

Place description: Before white settlement, the Paruku (Lake Gregory) and Tjurabalan (Sturt Creek) regions comprised a centre of activity for both ancestral beings and river, lake and desert people.

Paruku is the traditional name of the vast lake system that appears on Canning's map as Gregory's Salt Sea (Lake Gregory on most modern maps). It was named after the first white explorer, Augustus Gregory, who came across it in 1856.

Paruku is a complex system of salt and freshwater lakes. Once part of a vast inland sea, 300,000 years ago it was 10 times bigger than its current size. The Country surrounding Paruku is abundant with ancestral stories and with plant, animal and bird life. It sustained a thriving pastoral industry, which first prompted the need for a stock route to the south.

In 2001 Tjurabalan people's native title rights were recognised by the Federal Court of Australia and an Indigenous Protected Area was declared over the Paruku region. Today traditional owners use painting and mapping to record the cultural and environmental values of their Country.

The Paruku lake system lies at the end of Tjurapalan Jukurrpa, a major Dreaming track, which binds many language groups over a wide area. The fertile country around the lake and river systems provided an abundant source of plant and animal life for local groups, and for desert peoples in times of drought. These groups met regularly at Paruku and Tjurabalan to trade and perform ceremonies.

By the early 1900s, however, the Country’s rich ecology had attracted the attention of pastoralists. The success of their operations would lead to the development of an overland stock route that would allow Billiluna cattle to be transported from Paruku to the south. Mobs (herds) of cattle from other parts of the East Kimberley would also be driven along the Canning Stock Route from Old Halls Creek to Wiluna.

Traditional knowledge: Desert people use sacred pearl shell objects, which are known to northern people as jakuli, in special ceremonies for making rain. Although pearl shell is found in the ocean, its origin in the Jukurrpa (the Dreamtime) is Paruku (Lake Gregory).

In the Jukurrpa the creation ancestor Kiki came down from the sky looking for a place to live and went into Paruku. Kiki had a shining white stone that he tried to hide in the lake, but it kept floating up to the surface. Bandicoot man was travelling past Paruku when he saw what he thought was a light shining in the middle of the lake. It was Kiki’s white stone. He stole it and threw it into the sea, where it turned into pearl shell.

The Wati Kujarra (Two Men) heroes collected a big bag of pearl shells from the sea. On their way back, lightning struck the bag and scattered the pearl shells across the Country. Since the Jukurrpa, pearl shells have been traded across the desert. Pearl shell items are used in rain-making ceremonies and other spiritual practices. They are also worn by men and women as decorative ornaments.

From the Dreamtime Kiki was coming from the sky looking for a place to stay. He came down near Paruku, went down in the water and then he came out of the water when he was feeling hungry. He made all these plants, put them round everywhere. All kind of different feeds for him to eat. He even put that feed for the people to eat too, but he put them feed there if he felt hungry after travelling a long way from different places. He made all the plants grow, some plants you can grind to make flour, the seeds you can make feed out of it, some little grapes or berries.

This Kiki made all this feed. And he put all them frogs that people eat. They dig into the sand, dig long way down to get one of those frog. All kind of animals, bandicoots, blue tongue lizards, animals that live out there now, or used to live out there, lot of them are gone now, extinct. What we still eat today is from that old fella. He made all the animals and plants for him to eat and for the people too, so the people can get a feed. All them tucker that he put out for people, some [is] healing stuff too. Different plants for different ailments. That’s why the old fella, he made all that happen for the people. (Yanpiyarti Ned Cox with Putuparri Tom Lawford, 2008)

Kiki had this stone in Dreamtime. It was [a] white stone, and he tried to hide it in the lake. [He] tried to hide that stone inside the water but [it] kept on coming up, floating up. He put it down and walked away and it would come up again. Then this other fella come along and found that thing floating in the water and took it. [He was a] man then, Bandicoot man. He picked it and he took it [and] threw it in the ocean near Broome somewhere, and that’s why Broome is rich with pearls. From there [it] turned into pearl shell. That’s why we got too many pearl shells in the ocean. It started from Paruku because it didn’t want to hide. (Yanpiyarti Ned Cox with Putuparri Tom Lawford, 2008)

Related art centre(s): Other

Media title: Paruku
Media creator: Nicole Ma
Date: 2010

Media description: Artists from Paruku Indigenous Protected Area paint their Country around the lake. Paruku is the traditional name of the vast lake system that appears on Canning’s map as Gregory’s Salt Sea (Lake Gregory on most modern maps). It was named after the first white explorer, Augustus Gregory, who came across it in 1856. Paruku is a complex system made up of both salt and freshwater lakes. Once part of a vast inland sea, 300,000 years ago it was 10 times bigger than its current size. The Country surrounding Paruku is abundant with ancestral stories and with plant, animal and bird life. It sustained a thriving pastoral industry, which first prompted the need for a stock route to the south. In 2001 Tjurabalan people’s native title rights were recognised by the Federal Court of Australia and an Indigenous Protected Area was declared over the Paruku region. Today traditional owners use painting and mapping to record the cultural and environmental values of their Country.
Media Copyright: FORM
Format: Video
Accession ID: 20131016_FORM_MIRA_B0089_0005

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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