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Well 40

Natawalu: the Helicopter Story

Story:Many of the people from the Western Desert followed the stock route out of the desert once the drovers began moving through the Country. Following the stock route to find things beyond the desert, many people settled in cattle stations or missions.

However, in 1957 'Helicopter' Tjungurrayi left the desert in a very different way. As a child he was seriously ill when a mining survey party landed their helicopter near his community near Natawalu. His mother’s sister Kupunyina (Kumpaya Girgaba’s mother) was also suffering from an ulcerated spear wound. Knowing about the mission at Balgo their relatives encouraged the survey crew to take them for medical attention.The kartiya [white people] flew him Balgo to get medical attention. When he failed to return his family travelled north in groups to find him.
 
First Walapayi then Brandy walked north to Balgo. Both eventually returned south, following the stock route wells, to bring their relatives back with them to the mission. Helicopter Tjungurrayi has been known by this name for so long, he can no longer remember what he was called before.

'My young brother [Helicopter] was so sick; he had sores everywhere and he was helpless, a little boy. I grabbed my little brother and showed them. So kartiya [white people] looked at his sores and said, "OK, we’ll take him", because he was so sick. So I asked the kartiya, "Are you going to bring him back?" He was speaking his language and I was speaking my language. I kept on saying, "Are you going to bring him back?" I waited, waited, waited for long and I wondered, "They’re not bringing him back!" Nothing. It was getting a bit longer, and I said to myself, I think I’ll go after him north. From there I kept walking right, long way, all the way to Balgo.' (Charlie Wallabi (Walapayi) Tjungurrayi, 2007)

Media Creator:Nicole Ma

Media date: 2010
Story Location: Natawalu (Well 40)
-21.66779/125.78843

Media Description:Josephine Nangala recounts the first time she saw a helicopter, and the story of Helicopter Joey Tjungarrayi being taken by helicopter to Balgo for medicine.

Story contributor(s): John Carty, Helicopter Joey Tjungurrayi, Charlie Wallabi (Walapayi) Tjungurrayi, Josephine Nangala

Art Centre(s): Warlayirti Artists
Publisher: FORM
Media copyright: FORM
Accession ID:20131024_FORM_MIRA_B0046_0004

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: 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.

END


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.

Natawalu

Non-Indigenous name: Well 40

Place description: On the survey party’s return journey in 1907, two men killed each other at Natawalu.

Canning, Blake and the team’s well-boring expert, Michael Tobin, had travelled ahead of the party and were beginning to set up camp. While Blake and Canning were looking for wood they heard two shots fired and ran over a rise to see an Aboriginal man, fully armed, running towards them. Tobin, though still some distance away, was attempting to run him down on horseback. Canning was only about 10 metres from the man, and seeing him raise his spear called out to Tobin in warning. Tobin took no heed.

I tried to direct the attention of the native. He just looked at me but made no attempt to spear me ... He was watching Tobin all the time … Then it seemed to dawn upon him that the native was going to spear him, and just as the native moved with his spear Tobin raised his rifle and fired just after the native had discharged his spear which entered Tobin’s right breast. The native fell (Alfred Canning in testimony to the Royal Commission to Inquire into the Treatment of Natives by the Canning Exploration Party, January 15, 1908, [4312]).

Both men were killed in the same instant.

The man’s name had been Mungkututu and he was Mayapu Elsie Thomas’s uncle, Right at Natawalu, before there was a well there. That’s the place I painted now. He was just coming to get water then he saw that kartiya. He speared him then, near the water. (Mayapu Elsie Thomas, 2007)

In 1957, a mining party conducting geological surveys in the Country between Wells 40 and 48 met a large group of people living near Natawalu. As a result of this first encounter with white people, seven of the Warlayirti and Papunya Tula artists in this exhibition walked out of the desert and into a new life.

Traditional knowledge: In 1958 a mining survey crew landed its helicopter on the dry saltpan near the well at Natawalu. For the large group of families who were living near Natawalu at the time, the arrival of the helicopter would have life-changing repercussions; it would also be a source of amusement for decades to come.

We were collecting witchetty grubs, plenty of them then. We never noticed it coming. "Oh, it’s coming!" someone said. We ran into the trees, frightened, because that thing like a windmill might cut us up! [Laughing.] (Josephine Nangala, 2007)

Native title area: Ngurarra determination
Well data: 1906 quality: Good.

1906 total depth (m): 4

Current quality of well: Seasonal lake.

Current quality of water: Polluted by birdlife.

pH Level: 9.1.

pH Level Date: 2007.
-21.66779/125.78843
Related art centre(s): Other

Media title: Natawalu Helicopter
Media creator: Nicole Ma
Date: 2010

Media description: Warlayirti artist Helicopter Joey Tjungurrayi earned his name during this encounter. He was a child of about 10. He remembers asking the pilot to take him to Balgo: He asked me, ‘Where will I take you?’ I was sitting there puzzled, and I said, ‘Take me to Balgo, to the medicine … For the first time I saw a tractor [from the air at Kaningarra, Well 48]. It was little like a little porcupine. I didn’t know, I thought it was a porcupine, but it was a tractor … Them people from the old [Balgo] mission, it was the first time they saw a helicopter too. Even me, first time they seen me too. Then they was talking to me, asking who my parents were. I told them who they were, then they knew me through my parents.' (Helicopter Joey Tjungurrayi, 2008)
Media Copyright: FORM
Format: Video
Accession ID: 20131016_FORM_MIRA_B0089_0002

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.

Video Title: That long way I been travelling

Video Description: Award-winning Papunya Tula Artist Patrick Tjungurrayi returns to the Canning Stock Route for the first time in 50 years to paint the story of his journey pout of the desert along the stock route. In 1959 a mining survey team landed in a helicopter at Well 40, where Patrick and his extended family were still living traditionally. The survey team brought strange new food and took Patrick's sick younger brother with them to Balgo for medical attention. Patrick, and eventually the rest of the family followed the stock route north to Balgo in search of the boy who forever after would become known as Helicopter Tjungurrayi. Patrick and the members of his family trace their journey through the sites recorded in his painting, telling remarkable, hilarious and sometimes tragic stories stories of first contact experiences between Aboriginal people and the non-Indigenous people who appeared unexpectedly in their country.

Date created: 2010
People: Helicopter Joey Tjungurrayi, Nankatji Josephine Nangala, Kamara Brandy Tjungurrayi, Charlie Wallabi (Walapayi) Tjungarrayi, Kumpaya Girgaba (Yurla)
Art Centre(s): Warlayirti Artists, Papunya Tula Artists, CSR Project

Place of creation: Well 36, Kilykily, Wanda
Latitude/Longitude: -22.13954/125.28315

Director: Nicole Ma
Editor: Brandt Lee

Camera: Paul Elliott

Sound: Cam McGrath

Narrator: Patrick Olodoodi (Alatuti) Tjungurrayi
Translator: Putuparri Tom Lawford
Executive Producer: FORM

Rights: © Nicole Ma and FORM Canning Stock Route Project, 2008
Clip length: 0:09:38
Protocols: PUBLIC ACCESS
Format: Video
Source: Exhibition Media/NICOLE MA MASTERS
Category: Video
Accession ID: 20130920_FORM_MIRA_B0023_0001

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.

Warla

Artist(s): Karntakarnta Billy Thomas

Date created: 2008
Art Centre(s): Red Rock Gallery
Size: 119.5x89.5
Medium: ochre on canvas

Artwork Story: Warla are the salt lakes — like Lake Disappointment and the Percival Lakes. The warla in this painting is situated somewhere between wells 40 and 42, the same area where Clifford Brooks‘s father encountered a massacre site while in search of his brother Rover. The artist describes the warla in this painting as ‘flat like an airport’. Salt lakes were in fact used to land military supply planes during the reconditioning of the stock route in the 1940s. While still a teenager working as a stockman on the Canning Stock Route, the artist encountered Rover himself, filling water buckets with the drovers at Kukupanyu (Well 39).

Location depicted: Warla between Well 40 and 42

Artwork copyright: ©2013 Karntakarnta Billy Thomas
Catalogue ID: BT/219/RR
Protocols: Public Access - Restrictions on use

Photographer: Jason McCarthy
Photograph date: 2009-05-22
Photography copyright: National Museum of Australia
Format: Image
Category: Artwork

Artist(s) biography:
born about 1920, deceased
Wangkajunga language group
Jungurrayi skin group
Fitzroy Crossing
Red Rock Gallery
Karntakarnta Billy Thomas was born near Kulyayi (Well 42). It was while he was droving cattle on the Canning Stock Route that he first met Rover Thomas. They went on to work together and settle in the Kimberley, both of them finding fame late in life as Kimberley artists. Earlier Billy had worked as a police tracker, a traditional healer and a stockman — and had 12 children.

Accession ID: 20131014_FORM_MIRA_B0045_0087

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.

Natawalu

Artist(s): Helicopter Joey Tjungurrayi

Date created: 2007
Art Centre(s): Warlayirti Artists
Size: 76.9x53.4
Medium: acrylic on linen

Artwork Story: Helicopter created this painting to tell the story of his dramatic departure from the desert. The larger circle is Natawalu (Well 40) and the smaller one is Ngankangarra, a nearby water source, where his family had been camped.

I was walking around long time, but I got sick … that’s when that helicopter got me … He came [in a helicopter] and put it down at my father’s camp. He spoke to me not in Kukatja, but in English. I was sitting there puzzled. I spoke to him in Kukatja, ‘Take me to Balgo to the medicine’. They put me on the helicopter right there, me and my mother. They took us to the old [Balgo] mission. It was the first time they saw a helicopter too; even me, first time they seen me too. They were asking who my parents were. I told them … then they knew me through my parents. Then I went to Derby [hospital]. After I got better they took me back to Balgo and I’m still here today.

Location depicted: Natawalu (Well 40)
Place of creation: Lake Stretch
Latitude/Longitude: -19.0796/128.2542

Artwork copyright: ©2013 Helicopter Joey Tjungurrayi
Catalogue ID: HY/120/WAR
Protocols: Public Access - Restrictions on use

Photographer: Jason McCarthy
Photograph date: 2009-05-14
Photography copyright: National Museum of Australia
Format: Image
Category: Artwork

Artist(s) biography:
born about 1947
Manyjilyjarra, Kukatja, Wangkajungka language groups
Tjungurrayi skin group
Balgo community
Warlayirti Artists
Helicopter was born with blackhead snake Dreaming at Nyakin, south of Jupiter Well. He fell ill near Natawalu (Well 40) in 1957 and was flown by helicopter to Balgo. He is a respected maparn (traditional healer) and artist. He returned to his Country for the first time in 2000.

My father got [my spirit] from [Nyakin], and my mother too … They were just taking me around them Countries, my mother and father. They took me everywhere.

Accession ID: 20131014_FORM_MIRA_B0045_0003

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.

Natawalu, Kukapanyu

Artist(s): Kuji Rosie Goodjie

Art Centre(s): Ngurra Artists, Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency
Size: 122x76
Medium: acrylic on linen

Location depicted: Natawalu (Well 40) and Kukapanyu (Well 39)
Place of creation: Well 36
Latitude/Longitude: -22.13954/125.28315

Artwork copyright: ©2013 Kuji Rosie Goodjie
Catalogue ID: RG/61/NG
Protocols: Public Access - Restrictions on use

Photographer: Tim Acker
Photograph date: 2008-06-15
Photography copyright: FORM
Format: Image
Category: Artwork

Artist(s) biography:
born about 1936
Wangkajunga language group
Nampijin skin group
Wangkatjungka Community
Ngurra Artists
Daddy been find my jarriny [Dreaming] Nyirla side. My young husband was murdered, no reason he was killed ... I been find second husband Balgo now. We went back to desert.

Kuji was born near Nyirla. After her first husband was murdered, Kuji travelled to Billiluna, where Jukuja Nora Tjookootja's father looked after her. She married again in Balgo, and later rejoined her family at Christmas Creek station.

Accession ID: 20131011_FORM_MIRA_B0044_0053

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.

Title: Natawalu, Kukapanyu
Artist(s): Kuji Rosie Goodjie

Art Centre(s): Ngurra Artists, Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency
Size: 122x76
Medium: acrylic on linen

Location depicted: Natawalu (Well 40) and Kukapanyu (Well 39)
Place of creation: Well 36
Latitude/Longitude: -22.13954/125.28315

Artwork copyright: ©2013 Kuji Rosie Goodjie
Catalogue ID: RG/61/NG
Protocols: Public Access - Restrictions on use

Photograph date: 6/15/2008
Photography copyright: FORM
Format: Image
Category: Artwork

Artist(s) biography:
born about 1936
Wangkajunga language group
Nampijin skin group
Wangkatjungka Community
Ngurra Artists
["Daddy been find my jarriny [Dreaming] Nyirla side. My young husband was murdered, no reason he was killed ... I been find second husband Balgo now. We went back to desert."]

Kuji was born near Nyirla. After her first husband was murdered, Kuji travelled to Billiluna, where Jukuja Nora Tjookootja's father looked after her. She married again in Balgo, and later rejoined her family at Christmas Creek station.

Accession ID: 20131011_FORM_MIRA_B0044_0053

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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