Name: Dadina Georgina Brown
Dadina Georgina Brown - her family and life in the desert [ORAL HISTORY]
Other Speaker/s: Geoffrey Stewart
Synopsis: Georgina Brown talks about her sister who passed away in the desert. Her family contined to shift around the desert, to different rockholes, until they were brought to Wiluna, and after a long time her parents went back to the bush. She talks about her family in Wiluna, her mum passing away and her father in lock up.
It was happy for her parents living out bush, but their family was worried and wanted them back in town. Would like to take her kids to show them the Country.
Art centre(s): Birriliburu Artists
Language spoken: English
Catalogue number: CSROH_40_Dadina_Georgina_Brown
Interviewed By: 2007-08-12
Transcribed By: Monique La Fontaine
Location Described: Wiluna
Location Recorded: Wiluna
Cultural Protocols: PUBLIC ACCESS - RESTRICTIONS ON USE
Georgina Brown: Mmmm yuwayi [yes]. Where I gotta start from?
John Carty: Well, tell us from when you were young, when you were walking around, from the beginning. Start at the beginning.
GB: Mmmm. Well, like my older sister, she was born before me and she passed away in the desert.
Geoffrey Stewart: Ngurra [Country]… [XX]
GB: She was very sick; she couldn’t make it to town with us, me and my little brother. So, we left her there then we shift to another place.
JC: Where was this?
GB: I don’t know, I just get a picture in my mind when I was small.
Then we shift back to another rock hole, then we stayed. Then one helicopter came round and gave us a big [?]. They found us, and my little brother he born then. And after when my little brother born we shift to another place. Then stayed til we seen Winma’s [?] families came down. His husband came to find us, Winma, Freddy husband. So, I never seen a white man or truck, like Toyota, like that. I got frighten. I didn’t know what was that. So, I was sticking with my Mum. I was always been a middle. I was frighten, first time I seen it.
It was then after that they told us we coming into Wiluna town. Then, because my Mum and my Dad, they knew, because they was here long long time and they went back to bush.
JC: How come?
JC: How come they went back?
GB: I don’t know, they wanted go back home.
Monique La Fontaine: You were born out bush?
GB: Yeah. Only three of us. My older sister and me and my little brother.
JC: Where was that country where you were walking around?
GB: I don’t know. Geoffrey Stewart been know that.
Then, came into town. I didn’t know who this people was, I was frightened. They put me to school in here. They used to, I used to sit down quietly, look at them and what’s going on. Then I went in school here for little while. They sent me to Kiriwil [?] Hostel and I stayed there. And my Mum and my Dad was really worried where I got to.
MLF: Were they still out bush then?
GB: Yeah. No, they was here. They brought me back on a holiday. And went and seen my Mum and they was really happy to see me. And I seen my little brother. He growed up then, this little big boy. Then I lost my Mum back 1991. That’s why we were all sad. So, I start looking after, I had my daughter, oldest one, then I had to turn around and look after my brother and my sister. Because my Dad was in prison, lock up. So it was really sad for us, when we lost our Mum. So I looked after them, put em in Karalunji [?] they went to school there, grow up then.
Then I had my other daughter was with me. So, they all grown up now, so they all separate. And now we lost their father, so we to go funerals. They on, this one [for Georgina’s father Nama Ben Canning] on the 30th. So, it’s really, really sad for us, we and the families. We like to go back and see that Country where me and my brother born. But they said they gotta come back and take us back, and show us where they found us. And be good because I might take my children with me, my kids, so they can find out where, where we been born and my brother been born. I’ll take Ullulla Boss [Geoffrey Stewart] with us, cos he know. So he can show it the place, he can tell where we born and all that, where we been walking round.
Anyway, I grow up here, so, we been round a lot. [Laughs]
JC: You still a travelling girl.
GB: Sort of ... [Laughs]
JC: Do you think it was hard for your parents to live bush way and then settle down in a place like ...
GB: No, it was really happy for them, at bush. Not in town. That’s when, when we came here we wanted to go back. And my Mum and Dad went half way. They still follow us and got us and bring us back into town. Because he didn’t wanted to hang around here. That’s why I wrote, um, do painting about my memories for that, me and my sister and brother, and my families.
JC: I told you we saw those paintings last night.
JC: We were really excited! We were just, ‘Look at this!’ [Gasps, Georgina laughs] They’re really special.
MLF: They’re beautiful…
JC: Different to what other people do.
MLF: Yeah. All the little pattern, what’s that about? Is that just from your imagination or you …
GB: No, no, no, where the family, where my older sister passed away there. That’s where we left her there. That’s why I gotta take Ullulla Boss [Geoffrey Stewart], to show me that place is. But I can still picture it, and see it, where she is. I don’t know if she can get buried properly or I don’t know …
Me and her used to play around together. It was really happy for me and her. And I lost her, then it was sad for me I spose, but then I had my little brother. I used to turn around and nurse him when he was a little baby. We had a lot of little dingos to play with. Yes.
JC: That photo.
MLF: Tell us about that, who took that photo, one white bloke?
GB: Yeah, Joe and … I forgot the missus name. They coming back, they went to Roebourne, they coming back. They in Perth now. They [Stan and Freddy] probably might come for funeral. They probably might put statues down there with Ullalla Boss [Geoffrey Stewart] family [Wari and Yatungka statues]. Cos they were really close families. Well, Ullalla went from Warburton back, went looking for us. He knew where we was.
[Note 05/11/08: Don’t want that statue, nyarru]
JC: How came they went looking for you? You know when that Wilma, Freddy’s husband, and the government came looking for you, how come?
GB: Because the family was here and they was all worried, so that’s why. And my Mum’s, my grandmother and my grandpop was here and my uncles. All my uncles and auntie.
JC: They came before?
GB: Yeah. My mum came with them when she was young, and then she went back from here. My father been run away with her, and he had us then. [Laughs] Mmm. That’s why they bring ‘em back, ‘Oh, they all want you back in town’. Well, I didn’t know anyway, I was small.
JC: How old?
GB: Maybe ten or eleven years old. I was still with my little brother, they was putting clothes on me [Addition 05/11/08: Stan gave me his red singlet when he came for my father’s funeral. We said, ‘Have you all got my red singlet?!’ Narru, he gave me that first red singlet are Glen-Ayle], [laughs] and they took the photo! [Laughs] They came to Glen-Ayle Station, I can hear all this bullock noise, I thought it was a mamu [devil spirit]! [Laughs] And it was scared. I was frightened. Til I grow up, then I knew then. Found some friends, girlfriends. Sit down with them, they have a yarn with me, talk to me, you know?
JC: Did you understand the language when you went to the school here?
GB: Not English. Because it was too hard for me.
JC : What were you talking?
GB: We talking Mantuwayi. [?] [Laughs] Can’t help! No school in the desert! [Laughs] Ah…
MLF: You ever go along that Canning Stock Route when you were out bush that time? You ever come across people?
GB: My Mum and Dad, they brought me and my older sister far as Carnegie, showed us. But he was thinking my Mum might run away with me and my older sister, back into town, so he turned around and went back. Cos he knew that all his families was here, and he might get speared and all that.
JC: Same like that mother and father there … [Ullalla boss’ parents].
JC: Wrong way.
GB: [Whispering] Yuwayi [yes]. Well that, this Ullalla Boss family was not far from us. They brought us back into town, they went back and turned them two.
Well, I heard a story bout them two that that they didn’t wanted to come into town. They wanted to stay back there and pass on ... yeah. Old people. My Mum and Dad wanted to do that same too.
JC: Everybody else wanted people to come in, all the families, all the government, trying to tell people to come in but they didn’t want to come.
Yeah, they didn’t want to come, because that’s their home.
MLF: And so have you never been back there?
MLF: Does that make you sad?
GB: Yeah! I like to go back and show my kids, the Country, because they really want to go back and see it. Even my brother want to go back and see it because he was only a little boy, little baby. He wanna go back. He’s a man now.
JC: He probably can’t see it in his mind like you can.
GB: No. My little young sister, she born here, but she don’t know. She from here. Only me and my brother, but he don’t know. Nobody never been talking to him and telling him, you know. Probably my Mum and my Dad did, but he still don’t know. It’s really sad for him because he was only a small one. Properly for all of us, all the families, me and my brother and my sister. That’s why I sit down do painting. And sometime I sit down with Helen [Ansell] and tell her [a] story. That’s when she went and told you-palas [you fellas] to come see me. [Laughs] That man been find us in the bush; I been painting, and he looked at the painting and he said, ‘Oh, I know this girl’. When he came here, he seen my painting in the wall there.
JC: What’s his name?
GB: Um, I think Joe and ... They came and seen me, not long ago. But they said they coming back on November. Might meet here when he come for that pinyi [funeral] on the 30th. They might talk to us about putting one statue there with them two, other two [of Georgina’s parents with the Warri and Yatungka statues].
[Note (Nov 08): Georgina, like Geoffrey Stewart, now feels very strongly that she doesn’t want a statue of her parents to be erected. Geoffrey has never seen the statues of his parents, and doesn’t want to.]
JC: Did you say you were thinking to take them back, back to their Country, put ‘em to rest there?
Yeah, it’s not their Country here, their ngurrapa [their Country] that way. Like my Mum and Dad you know, really wanted to go back. So anyway, they gotta put that thing over there, statue, with me and my little brother standing up, all the puppies. They’ll be all laughing. [Laughs] That’s funny. When I first seen that photo, I looked at myself, ‘That’s not me’. That’s me and my older sister. [Laughs] My brother didn’t seen that. He’ll be out soon, [from prison] and so I got video player there, disc to watch it. Not now, because he’s upset. Because we lost our father, yeah.
JC: It’ll be nice to go back.
JC: Take ‘em back. It’s a nice idea.
GB: Nice to go and put em in where my father born, you know, and put em there, yeah. So, they can have their own spirit there, cos my oldest sister there.
My father didn’t talk about it, and my Mum didn’t. I found out when I used to, I been think, you know. I knew that I had an older sister. Me and her used to play together. We used to hunt together. It was a really hot day, me and her had to walk get some kuka [meat], food and all that. I still remember that, we went for emu, when it was emu time. When they used to have eggs you know, walk long way, look for it, and we seen the emu got up from the nest, and then me and my older sister we run, run for that. Good fun. Grabbed it all, and took em back. It was really hot. We walk long long way to hunt, we can go back. But my father used to hunt. He used to go long long way and camp and come in the morning. He tell us to stay, hang around in the rock hole with water.
MLF: And when you were out there that time when you were a kid, you see other people any time or it was just you and your little family?
GB: Yeah, that’s all.
MLF: And did you know about other people in your little kid mind or you just think it was just your little family in the world?
GB: It was only our family in the world, that’s all. Nobody wasn’t round anyway, only them old people [Warri and Yatungka] but they were little bit long way from us.
MLF: And your Mum and Dad didn’t talk about them?
MLF: And how was it for them when they come into town with you first time?
GB: I don’t know. [Laughs] I think my Mum and Dad wanted to stay back there to grow us up, you know, and see the Country. They didn’t really wanted to come in here … [Laughs]
MLF: Any other story you want to tell us?
GB: Mmmmm, not really. Yeah. When my Mum and Dad came into town they start working. They was working at the Sunford [?] first, then, after that they went to Desert Farm [?], worked there and Emu Farm, and that village, old village. When them two was together they was really happy. But sometime when my Dad start drinking, it wasn’t really good. My Mum, because my Mum used to get a rough time. My Dad used to put a knife to my Mum. That hurt my feelings and my brother. Cos when I had my families then, my own families, I run away. Cos I didn’t like sitting down and watching them two fight all the time.
JC: Must be hard for a bush man to sit here and grow up.
GB: Yeah, yeah, it’s no good really.
JC: It probably made him a bit angry.
GB: Yeah. Because they was really happy out bush when we had me and my brother and my sister, it was really happy. Really, not really good in town. In bush it was really happy. Happy for us families. Only about town mob. That’s why I always to stay in Patjarr. I was really happy there, I go out bush. Go with them old people, take them out.
[Whispering] Pussycat … [a pussycat is creeping around behind Ullalla Boss, he doesn’t notice it. It peeps over his shoulder and Georgina breaks into laughter, and again when he notices it. When the laughter subsides she whispers:] He worrying for wama [alcohol].
JC: We’ll ask him. Ullalla Boss ...
JC: Where’s that Country where Georgina was walking round when she was young?
JC: Oh, Jaru, [?] ngurra [Country].
GS: Ngurra, that’s a Winawal [?].
GB: I know where my father born.
GB: Mama [father].
GS: Yulyul [XX one now… [XX – in language and muffled microphone] … That’s his ngurra [Country] now, that’s a Country. Mangkali one, nah not Mangkali, Yulyul one, his Country, ngiparra one [XX – Martu]
GB: Where he been born?
GS: He been born at the jana [XX – both GS and GB speak in Martu here, not translated]
JC: Was it close for where you were walking around, young fella? Was it close for where Georgina was walking around or long way, or little bit long way?
GS: Yeah that marla [little wallaby], yeah marlatani [XX]. I been walk around ngayu [me], me and my brother Rueben [?] that’s all! It was that two.
GB: Brothers and sister, them three, them three. And then after me I been born there. Me and her was there and this mob been grown.
GS: Jurtu [sister] one, and this one been ... I been there [XX - talking about Georgina’s sister being bitten by a snake, in Martu] Yuwa [yes]. Yuwa. Playa [good] . Yuwa palya. Yuwo. One more, finish now init [isn’t it]?
John: Yuwayi [yes].
GS: No money! [Everyone laughs]
JC: Nyamu [finished]!
Rights: © Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Dadina Georgina Brown; © 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.