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Wiluna

Rover Thomas and his Brother

Story:Rover Thomas is one of Australia's most important artists - his paintings sparked a greater appreciation of Aboriginal art, both nationally and internationally.

Although he found fame as an East Kimberley artist Rover was a desert man, and the story of his life is interwoven with that of the Canning Stock Route. Rover was born in the 1920s in the Country near the middle stretch of the stock route. After his parents passed away he was picked up by a drover, Wally Dowling, who took him north to Billiluna and the Kimberley. Rover became a stockman himself. He was married and settled in Turkey Creek.

When Rover was taken by drovers his brother, Charlie Brooks (Clifford Brooks' father) was away travelling. When he returned Rover was gone. Charlie set off in search of his brother from Martilirri (Well 22). On his journey he encountered a horrible scene somewhere near Well 41:

'[My father] went looking for his young brother Rover back in his home Country, but nothing, empty. No track. Only track was a wagon wheel and yawarta (horse) and bullock, that's all... He been get up on a sandhill and he been look down... whitefella, massacre. They been got shot: [Aboriginal] men, women and children.' (Clifford Brooks)

'That old fella [Clifford’s father, Charlie], he knew in his heart that his young brother was still alive. Every time in the camp fire he used to tell me … 'My young brother is still alive somewhere up north.'' (Clifford Brooks)

Charlie Brooks and Rover Thomas were finally reunited in the 1980s, a lifetime later, after family recognised the Rover’s face in a newspaper. Charlie Brooks travelled to see his brother again for the first time, Clifford Brooks describes the intial encounter between the brothers:

'So when he arrived I got him off the bus at night, took him across to the car park. My old man was standing up and I took Rover across, and they didn’t know whether to yampulkaku [hug] or shake hand, they been cry. But I stood in the back there, I had tears coming out my eyes. I cried for them.' (Clifford Brooks)

'You have got to come back to your Country. You should have come through the Canning Stock Route. You went away from here through the stock route and you should have come back here, through the stock route. I’ve been waiting for you.' (Charlie Brooks to Rover Thomas, 1986)

Media Creator:Nicole Ma

Media date: 2010
Story Location: Wiluna
-26.59/120.22

Media Description:Clifford Brooks tells story his father's reunion with his younger brother Rover Thomas after 40 years apart.

Story contributor(s):Clifford Brooks, John Carty, Jarntu Rover Thomas, Charlie Brooks

Art Centre(s): Birriliburu Artists
Publisher: FORM
Media copyright: FORM
Source: CSROH_140_Clifford Brooks
Accession ID:20131024_FORM_MIRA_B0046_0007

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.

Jukuja Nora Tjookootja

Jukuja Nora Tjookootja - family stories [ORAL HISTORY]
Synopsis: Jukuja Nora Tjookootja talks about some drovers on the Canning Stock Route, one of whom was her mother.

Date: 2009-03
Art centre(s): Ngurra Artists, Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency
Language spoken: Kriol
Catalogue number: CSROH_160_Jukuja_Nora_Tjookootja
Date: 2009-03
Translated By: Monique La Fontaine
Location Recorded: Fitzroy Crossing
Latitude/Longitude: -18.17/125.59

Cultural Protocols: Public Access
Access: Public
Notes: This is a transcript of fieldnotes taken during a full recording.
Full transcript: Nyangangi is Jukuja’s mother’s name.

Nora Tjookootja: Mummy droving to wiluna with camel. Frank Gordon droving when he was young. Three time her mummy was droving- might be with Len Brown and Wally Dowling, with Chinaman [Jukuja’s stepfather]. Mummy riding camel, cookie [cook], with Frankie Gordon for mummy.

[Brothers for Jukuja, with the same father:]

Frank Gordon – Partukala

Palmer Gordon

Nyakuyu

END
Video format: on miniDVD/DVD/partial transcript
Video recording: 151 MONA CHUGUNA, NORA TJOOKOOTJA, BESSIE, MAY AND BILL DOONDAY
Source: CSROH_160_Jukuja_Nora_Tjookootja
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: ; © 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.

Jawurji Mervyn Street

Jawurji Mervyn Street - stories for younger generations [ORAL HISTORY]
Synopsis: Jawurji Mervyn Street talks about the way the Canning Stock Route ended up bringing people back together. He also talks about family he has in Wiluna, and the importance of keeping stories alive for the younger generations.

Date: 2007-07-01
Art centre(s): Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency
Language spoken: English
Catalogue number: CSROH_145_Jawurji_Mervyn_Street
Date: 2007-07-01
Transcribed By: Monique La Fontaine
Location Recorded: Jilakurru (Well 17)
Latitude/Longitude: -23.73051/122.48453

Cultural Protocols: Public Access - Verbal Consent
Access: Public
Notes: Mervyn Street’s oral history material in this document was transcribed in October 2008 from footage shot on the Canning Stock Route trip in July 2007. This is a partial transcription only and it falls across more than one tape. The change of tapes is noted in the transcription.
Full transcript: [From 2ND UNIT/5V]

Jawurji Mervyn Street: I been thinking, you know, when I first come here, you know, old people came to meet, you know, all the way from, some from Kimberley to here in this area, in Wiluna area, before in the drovin’ time and that’s only time people had water, you know, comin’ through. So just like Canning made a well, put a well through. But I’m only thinking how it got through, you know, probably mightee old people from some way, from this place, showing Canning what water or well coming through this way. Because in that time people never know, you know, this road gonna be through here and since they been putting that well across and finish, and like the drovin’ day was opening out road for old people, like this time, you know.

Because when Wally Dowling came through with the drovers long here and he made it more easy for the people and that’s why old people came to meet people, you know, two side, you know: Billiluna to Wiluna. And I thinking you know, other ways if thing, all this road never been happening those days we never been here, you know, to meet, or never know, you know? Been a greatest thing you know, I reckon for people to really to come up [have] good time together, people right from there coming to here, and from Wiluna going back that way and meet people from Billiluna, meet people from Wiluna, you know. This road like a, made a good relationship to people, you know?

I was thinking, you know, coming up, otherways we wouldn’t be not here, you know, coming in this road. Because when I was down, you know, from Kimberley area we come met a lotta old people telling me bout drovin’, they used to drove from Billiluna straight across to Wiluna and long time when I was young and I went down Wiluna and I couldn’t believe I’m in Wiluna sitting down because, you know, I was, ‘This the place Wiluna now,’ I reckon. You get sick of that name, you know [hearing it so much growing up]. I didn’t know it was Wiluna now, that the way people drove form Billiluna to Wiluna. I couldn’t believe I was in Wiluna, long time ago.

[From CSR Interviews 3]

We been act close, working time and know each other properly [at Carnegie Station] and from there, I went to Windida and that’s where I met Dusty [Stevens], he was a stock camp boss for us. And few of my old people been working there and every night Dusty was telling droving story and he know some people from Billiluna and all the people in Wiluna and I was there to come to meet, you know. And that’s the time right back for me coming from Kimberley, because when I was in Kimberley and old people were telling me same thing about drovin’ and I know them old people was there telling me to [go to] Wiluna, and when I got to Wiluna and I just look around and I [think] ‘This the place Wiluna, and old people drove right across this Canning Stock Route.’ You know? Like to me and to go back to my family and tell the story and I been in Wiluna because that’s the place they used to drove all the puluman [bullock], you know, the cattle. And I met them old people they telling me all the drovin’ story right back to Wiluna. We got family back in Wiluna, we got family right back in Fitzroy [Crossing] and they been start calling their name, you know. “Ah I know them old people.” Because some went back, some had to stay. We got a nyupa [husband or wife] from this way now. We got family and all, they telling me that …

I like to share this story and not come from me, come from old people and go on and on, passed on you know, when I’m in my place I sit down with the young kids and tell them serious story so they can remember the story, otherway we’ll die out with story and no story will be left behind, you know. We’ll just go. We’ll just die and take our story with us, never know. We have story, pass the story so younger one can know the story so story can keep going all the way to another generation …

Mostly of my family, my grannies and my grandfathers all that family mostly gone you know, only me-palas [our] family. We got not many [Gooniyandi] family left behind you know, nothing [all died in massacres]. We’s only a few, not many, other family more than us you know, more than me-palas [us]. We only got little mob of family. They all our family gone, you know, finished. They gone with the songs and everything, nothing. We only left with the story, that’s all. But my father’s side, I got family in father’s side [Walmajarri and Wangkajunga]. Only thing I gonna go and sit down and really get good story you know, from my family, sit down with my family. And while I’m here now, when I’m in Wiluna Country, and they’re have just like in my family in Wiluna side, I have family here in Wiluna and all the way I come from there, nothing, never know anybody and now I’m in Wiluna I got family, see.

I’ve got my family in Kururrungku [Billiluna], it’s my father’s side family and my brother’s side family in Kururrungku, I got family there in Balgo, they know my old man, got family right across to Wangkatjungka, all the family there in Fitzroy [Crossing] area. Over from this side Kaningarra side, Ngurrarra side, I got some family, they know my father and I know them old people … and they tell me lotta story again …

You know I been just listening, hearing lotta stories bout this droving Wiluna to Billiluna and I don’t even believe myself I’m in this track you know? And I’m here half way in this road. That’s for me. Well Karen [Dayman] and Carly [Davenport] was really struggling to get me out here, I was keep saying he not my Country and all that kind of not and I gotta go there. And this the second round they came that ‘Wiluna mob wants you, the family wants you there,’ and I’m here you know. ‘Cause they wanted me to come, other ways I wouldn’t be out here, you know. I gotta come back and learn more language because I’m forgot some language. When I used to come I’m be nothing, learning little bit and now when they speak I can understand any way, not before, nothing. I was just like that, my ears [sticking out].

[From Tape 7]

In Billiluna … they know their story again, you know, old people again, but they’re not in the photos, they got no name, nothing. And we’re trying to get that story back and put their name down, they gotta be part of this droving story and this story about why Canning been making that well all the way. They got names, old people. But we want to bring them back again, story for old people.

END
Video recording: 2ND UNIT/5V
Source: CSROH_145_Jawurji_Mervyn_Street
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Jawurji Mervyn Street; © 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.

Yurnangurnu Nola Campbell

Yurnangurnu Nola Campbell - family, and learning to paint [ORAL HISTORY]
Synopsis: Nola Campbell talks about her family and learning to paint. She also talkjs about her uncle Nyarri-nyarri and her aunty Kumpaya Girgaba.

Date: 2008-04-21
Art centre(s): Kayili Artists
Language spoken: Nyaanyatjarra
Catalogue number: CSROH_60_Yurnangurnu_Nola_Campbell
Date: 2008-04-21
Translated By: Lizzie Ellis, Jan Mountney
Location Recorded: Patjarr
Latitude/Longitude: -24.61/126.31

Cultural Protocols: Public Access - Restrictions on Use
Access: Public
Notes: When this was translated it was unclear who the interviewer asking the questions was, John Carty or Tim Acker, as such they are just listed as Interviewer in this transcript. Some corrections and additions were gathered when the permission was signed for this story on 29 May 2009, these changes have been included in this transcript. The transcript is incomplete.
Full transcript: Nola Campbell: My father is Walapayi and my mother is Josephine, my young mother, my own mother’s younger sister. My biological mother died a long time ago, when we were living in the bush.

Interviewer: Did you see Walapayi at that time when you were living in the bush?

NC: Yes, I saw him. I also saw the girls there. I was walking and living in the bush at that time. That’s when I got married to Mr. Campbell at that time too, in Warburton.

Before I began painting I wasn’t working. I looked for work but there was nothing available. Then Albi gave me some canvas to do a painting. That’s when I started to paint and to learn more about painting.

I helped the people at Kiwirrkurra to paint, with my second husband Mr Butler. I started painting here in Patjarr and used to send paintings to Albi and she would send money. I’m still painting for Michael and he pays me. But he owes me money now – he’s gone to Darwin. From the paintings I don’t get all the money. Some is put in a bank in Alice Springs and I get paid the rest. I give money to my four grandchildren living here. Most of my family still live in Wiluna.

Interviewer: Who’s you family in Wiluna?

NC: Bernard Campbell, Cyril Morgan and the rest of the Morgan family.

Interviewer: All the Morgans?

NC: Yes, all the Morgans. Junior Morgan has worked here in the past.

Interviewer: Can you tell us a bit about when you were a little girl?

NC: Yes. I used to live around the Country of Tjupi-tjupi.

Interviewer: Tell me about when you were living in Kiwirrkura. Were you born at Jupiter Well, Puntatjarrpa?

NC: I was born at Partarr.

Interviewer: Is Partarr between Kiwirrkurra and Kunawarratji?

NC: Yes, in the middle, south of Kiwirrkurra.

Interviewer: What language were you speaking when you were small?

NC: I was speaking my own Aboriginal language, Manyjilyjarra. I used to play at school in Warburton Ranges. I went to school there for a short time and then left. Then, as a young teenager I returned to Warburton and lived there until I became a young adult. I married my husband there, Mr Campbell and went with him and my father to Wiluna. My father passed away in Wiluna and my mother’s younger sister then married Navel Morgan. My grandmothers raised me here in Patjarr.

While we were living in Wiluna, I had my first baby in Meekatharra, and took the baby back to Wiluna. Later, I came back this way and that man Tjakamarra Butler arranged a marriage between me and another man. My second marriage.

Interviewer: Truly?

NC: Yes, I was married to two men.

Interviewer: When you were walking round, did you travel around the Stock Route Country?

NC: Yes.

Interviewer: Did you visit family there?

NC: Yes, I was walking round there with my uncle Nyarri-nyarri. Do you know Nyarri-nyarri, my uncle? The one who lives at Parnngurr? He’s my uncle.

Interviewer: Is he your uncle on your mother’s side?

NC: Yes.

Interviewer: Did you ever see the drovers bringing bullocks down the stock route?

NC: No, my family and I were walking around in that Country, south east side of stock route and as a little girl, I carried the water. I was following my uncles and my father, the old man Walapayi, who raised me. I used to chase him around when I was little, to get meat. He’s my young father and my other father, the tall one, lives at Parnngurr. And I have two uncles, Nyarri-nyarri and Manimpatjarra.

Interviewer: Which side of the family?

NC: He’s living at Parnngurr. My aunty Kumpaya [Girgaba] is also at Parnngurr. My biological mother has many brothers. She died here at Karilwara. I was only a baby when she passed away and my father raised me.

Interviewer: When you came from the bush, did you go to Warburton?

NC: Yes, Maramutu (Missionary) brought my family to Warburton when I was a little girl and Lynette was too. Maramutu has passed away now. He found us in the bush and took us to Warburton and we lived there until we grew up going to school there. My father was alive when we were living there. He lived in Warburton for a long time and later he went to Wiluna where he passed away. In Wiluna he married Gail Morgan and she gathered all us sons and daughters together and raised us all.

[The translation was ended here due to confusion and contradictions in the recording]

END
Video format: miniDV/DVD
Video recording: 150 NOLA CAMPBELL & PULPURRU DAVIES
Source: CSROH_60_Yurnangurnu_Nola_Campbell
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Yurnangurnu Nola Campbell; © 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: 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.

Date: 2007-08-12
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
Latitude/Longitude: -26.59/120.22

Cultural Protocols: PUBLIC ACCESS - RESTRICTIONS ON USE
Access: PUBLIC
Full transcript:
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?

GB: Yeah.

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.

GB: Yeah.

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].

GB: Yeah.

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?

GB: No.

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.

GB: Yeah.

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?

GB: Nah.

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 ...

GS: What?

JC: Where’s that Country where Georgina was walking round when she was young?

GS: What?

JC: Oh, Jaru, [?] ngurra [Country].

GS: Ngurra, that’s a Winawal [?].

GB: I know where my father born.

GS: Ngani?

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].

[Everyone laughs.]

GS: No money! [Everyone laughs]

JC: Nyamu [finished]!

END
Source: CSROH_40_Dadina_Georgina_Brown
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.

Name: Yanpiyarti Ned Cox

Yanpiyarti Ned Cox - Droving stories [ORAL HISTORY]


Synopsis: Ned Cox tells stories about droving times, from Billiluna Station all the way to Wiluna and back again. All those old people are gone now, only the grandchildren left.
He went back to the new station at Mulan to work, and is living in Ngumpan community now.
After the road trains came in they didn't need drovers anymore. They were working hard for basic wages then. They started to drink then, went to Fitzroy Crossing for a beer with the manager.
Ned then talks about Wally Dowling, the boss of Canning Stock Route. He drove up to Kununurra way and passed away in Mistake Creek. He was a strong man, he never got sick. He never wore boots when he was droving.

Date: 2007-08-19
Art centre(s): Ngurra Artists, Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency
Language spoken: English/ Kriol
Catalogue number: CSROH_36_Yanpiyarti_Ned_Cox
Interviewed By: 2007-08-19
Transcribed By: John Carty
Location Described: Fitzroy Crossing, Mulan, Ngumpan
Location Recorded: Fitzroy Crossing
Latitude/Longitude: -18.17/125.59

Cultural Protocols: PUBLIC ACCESS - RESTRICTIONS ON USE
Access: PUBLIC
Notes: There are small sections of this interview were not transcribed as they were not deemed directly relevant to the project. The section that has not been transcribed has been noted in this transcript. Some small amendments were made to this story when permissions were gathered on 3 September 2009, these changes have been incorporated into this transcript.
Full transcript:
Yanpiyarti Ned Cox: Used to be, long time ago, the old people been – for all of me-fellas [us] – they been stopping there long time – like our father and our uncle – all been ringing long time ago, drovin to Canning Stock Route. They used to be mustering cattle all the way from what-name lake all the way, comin to what-name, name Lera Yard, used to be branding place there. What’s this … Kurntukurta, mustering along to Lens Bore. All the way along there. Right up to what this place, Werriado Yard, from Werriado to Pulypaly. That the cutting out place. Where they been cutting out bullock for Canning Stock Route. Count em how much, might be 400 or something like that, they been cut em out and clean em out and finish and count the cattle in the finger now, and ready for next morning they take em down to the delivery yard. From Pulypaly. From Pulypaly through the Yunpu, to delivery camp. That’s the last place now, finish. That morning they been start delivering em to Werriado Yard windmill, you know, … to Canning Stock Route now. That’s all ready now. Nother mob used to be going back. Old drovers ready the camel and everything now.

Goin to Wiluna now. All the way along, they been drovin. The old people, all the drovers. My uncle. Old [Jamili] Chum Lee, and old bull. And old George, and old Harry, my brother, Harry Tjangala. All that old fella been droving on the Canning Stock Route, taking cattle to Wiluna, all the way along. They all finished now, those old people who I been call their names. They finished. Only son left over now. They been handling the cattle all the way along, drovin to Wiluna. All them wells. I been forget them names now, all along them wells, long way now … that Country. I been long that place. Right up. One place there, middle, close up Wiluna now – they used to be cuttin out the bullock. That bullock go to Leonora, another mob bullock go to Wiluna now straight down that way. Another mob go to Leonora now … they take em, well Leonora more long way than Wiluna. Drove em up there, deliver em and they been all come back to Wiluna. Station called Carnegie. And another place like Wiluna Cunyu Station. Headland way, that road. Meekatharra, that way up. Cunyu Station.

From there, they used to go back to Billiluna again, you know, after long time. Very very long, they been stopping there, working around there, branding or mustering. Come back to Billiluna, just about the first rain, when the rain bin raining all the way on the road now, come back very long way Country now – come back to Billiluna. That a very long story. But them old people, what they been there, they been all pass away, all finish, nothing, and only son left over now … my old man, two of my old man, two grandpa for, two Majarrka [dance] boss now for that one, two old man, one for him, old grandpa for him [referring to Putuparri Tom Lawford] … and my two old man. Two fella come from Billiluna, come to Christmas Creek Station now. Stopping in another station, now here working. And uncle, old Jamili [Chum Lee], whole lot that three been come to this place now, Christmas Creek, in the Fitzroy area … Two fella been working man now, driving wagon, and after that, old man, uncle, still been droving to Leonora meatworks …

[Note: There is a section of text missing here that has not been transcribed. This includes stories about droving to Leonora Meatworks, to Broome and to Derby.]

NC: ... Only son leftover now, they been all pass away. And grandson, all the grandson left over now, this mob here. All the grandson. From there, only all the young fellas now, second mob, you know, second young fella. I been still go back to Billiluna and work around there. Where that new station been – Mulan. I liked it all around there the lake, long time til they been find em, til government been give them community now, all that Mulan and what-name now. I been still working for station that time, I been coming when it was a good lake. I‘m in this Country now. Come back again. Find my community again. Ngumpan, livin there today. Still my Country. Lake Gregory, Billiluna old station. My Country I was born right there. My mother for that Country, my father. They only been just come to this place in the Fitzroy area, comin to live down here. We can’t go back to Billiluna now, because we livin in this place. We got plenty grandchildren now, here in this Country. Can’t go back. But we can still go back there, you know, visiting around there. I been just come nother day from old station …

I can tell you … about droving to Meeda Station, me and his [Tom Lawford’s] father been young man …

And after that, when the what-name ‘road train’ been start now, nobody never drove ... truck take em to the station all the way. Truck take em down now … In Billiluna long time ago, still working hard, no money. Just work [for] ten bob, pound, quid … that what we been workin for. Hard working, little money, hard working but it was an understanding job proper hard work. You never try to pull out. We like the work, and have a damper and corned beef. That’s good enough, all the feed. But we never, never thinkin about pull out for good money or all that, never. Just only the work all the way. And after that one, now everybody been come to the school and come to get a good brains, thinking about, ‘no I’m not going to work hard like that for a little money. Might be more money.’ That’s the way people been trying to pull out all the way. Go to nother place, work there. Little money still, little money still, never understanding what was good money. That was still one pound, two dollars … right, I been pull out from this Country … now Kununurra area, Argyle Station now. Argyle mine there now this time. But Argyle Station been there. I been working there. I been go ask that manager from there and he been tell me-fella [us], ‘you-fella gonna get good money now,’ basic wages. We been start getting little bit good money now, hard workin. And putting the money in the bank now. The boss been putting em, you know money in the bank when we wouldn’t know all that. We been know, ‘this your bankbook, you can get your money, we’re putting the money in the bank for you’. We been understand little bit now. Working hard all the way in that place. Start working … from Argyle I been go to a place called Lissadell Station now. Lissadel, pull out from there, go back to Billiluna again. Work there in Billiluna and come back again. Pull out from there and come back go to Ruby Plains Station, working there for good money now. Getting good pay. We never understand now. All the way. That’s the time … that’s the time when everything, when boss been tell us, ‘you people better be having beer now.’ We never know beer. Only the manager been bring me-fella [us] down to Fitzroy [Crossing] here for beer … we never really what-name trust much, you know, we couldn’t understand much at that time. We started drinkin little by little, from big bottle, you know that! And after that we been come in to proper real, someone, one bloke I been having em there, his name Gregory, he been know, because he been get em citizen … that was a free time now. Cause everybody drinkin now today …

Tom Lawford: That kartiya [white man], you been know him, Wally Dowling?

NC: Yeah, old man Wally Dowling. He been droving that old man Wally Dowling was the boss in Canning Stock Route … he used be going no boot. He don’t use em boot. Just bare feet. Droving all the way to Canning Stock Route. Wally Dowling. After that when he was finished that Canning Stock Route, he been droving to what-name, Kununurra way. That old fella been pass away in Mistake Creek river. He never like em that Country droving. He like em Wiluna. Canning Stock Route is more long-way Country. But he never like em this part of the Country … All his grandson there in Halls Creek. Old Bob Stretch, my brother, he been pass away, his son, that his son, for Wally Dowling.

John Carty: Any stories about Wally Dowling?

NC: He was a good old fella. Strong man. When he went droving all round that Country. And some say he never liked droving in that Country, he been get his [XX] and kill himself. That kind of idea. I don’t think so, might be he been do that … He never been get sick. He was a good strong man … He walked too much. Strong man for walk. Every sandhill on that Wiluna road, he used to lead his horse along behind the bullock. Strong man. No boot. He never been have em boot. I don’t know how he did all that drovin. He was a good strong man … Droving to Wiluna all the way. So many so many years …

END

Source: CSROH_36_Yanpiyarti_Ned_Cox
Rights: © Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Yanpiyarti Ned Cox; © 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.

Canning Stock Route

Artist(s): Jawurji Mervyn Street

Date created: 2008
Art Centre(s): Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency
Size: 59.7x119.5
Medium: acrylic on canvas

Artwork Story: Mervyn grew up hearing the stories of relatives who had been Canning Stock Route drovers. As a young man he worked as a stockman himself, at Carnegie Station near Wiluna, where he met many of the Martu people who had worked closely with, and were related by marriage to, his own family members in Fitzroy Crossing and Billiluna.

When I got to Wiluna I just look around and I couldn’t believe I was in Wiluna. And I met them old people. They telling me all the droving story, ‘We got family back in Wiluna, we got family right back in Fitzroy. We got a nyupa [husband or wife] from this way now. We got family’. And they been start calling their name [and I said], ‘Ah! I know them old people!’

If this road never been happening in those days, we never [would have] been here to meet. People from Wiluna meeting people from Billiluna. This road made a good relationship to people.

Artwork copyright: ©2013 Jawurji Mervyn Street
Catalogue ID: MS/210/MJ
Protocols: Public Access - Restrictions on use

Photographer: Jason McCarthy
Photograph date: 2009-05-21
Photography copyright: National Museum of Australia
Format: Image
Category: Artwork

Artist(s) biography:
born 1950
Gooniyandi, Walmajarri, Jaru language groups
Jupurra skin group
Yiyili community
Mangkaja Arts
I been hearing lotta stories ’bout this droving, Wiluna to Billiluna, and I don’t even believe myself I’m here, halfway in this road.

As a young man Mervyn worked as a stockman on Carnegie station, where he met Martu people who had worked with his family on the stock route. In 2007 Mervyn travelled the ‘old bullocky road’ for the first time.

Accession ID: 20131014_FORM_MIRA_B0045_0079

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.

Cattle at Durba Springs

Artist(s): Jawurji Mervyn Street

Date created: 2007
Art Centre(s): Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency
Size: 29.9x125.1
Medium: pencil and watercolour on paper

Artwork Story: A lotta old people telling me ’bout [how] they used to drove from Billiluna straight across to Wiluna. But they’re not in the photos, they got no name. Nothing. They got be part of this droving story.

This drawing of Aboriginal stockmen on the route was made at Jilakurru, where drovers would graze their cattle after the long trek through the arid north country.

Collection: private collection
Place of creation: Durba Springs
Latitude/Longitude: -23.75397/122.51669

Artwork copyright: ©2013 Jawurji Mervyn Street
Catalogue ID: MS/169/MJ
Protocols: Public Access - Restrictions on use

Photographer: Jason McCarthy
Photograph date: 2009-05-28
Photography copyright: National Museum of Australia
Format: Image
Category: Artwork

Artist(s) biography:
born 1950
Gooniyandi, Walmajarri, Jaru language groups
Jupurra skin group
Yiyili community
Mangkaja Arts
I been hearing lotta stories ’bout this droving, Wiluna to Billiluna, and I don’t even believe myself I’m here, halfway in this road.

As a young man Mervyn worked as a stockman on Carnegie station, where he met Martu people who had worked with his family on the stock route. In 2007 Mervyn travelled the ‘old bullocky road’ for the first time.

Accession ID: 20131014_FORM_MIRA_B0045_0043

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.

My Country

Artist(s): Sheila Friday Jones

Date created: 2007
Art Centre(s): Birriliburu Artists
Size: 124x99
Medium: acrylic on canvas

Artwork Story: I come from the desert with my three brothers. Our family come from Mungarlu area. We went [through] Carnegie Station, me and all the old peoples. They used to steal the mirrka [food] from the whitefellas just to keep us going. Georgina Brown’s mother was travelling with us, she’s my sister. We were the first ones to walk into town. One tracker was following us round and round because old people been stealing mirrka. But we were a little bit tricky for him.

Collection: Paruku Indigenous Protected Area Collection
Place of creation: Wiluna
Latitude/Longitude: -26.59/120.22

Artwork copyright: ©2013 Sheila Friday Jones
Catalogue ID: SFJ/126/TJ
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 1940, died 2011
Manyjilyjarra language group
Purungu skin group
Wiluna
Tjukurba Gallery
Sheila grew up around Mungarlu and her family was one of the first to walk south into Wiluna. After stealing a watermelon from one of the stations, the family successfully evaded a police tracker. In Wiluna, Sheila married Friday Jones and had three daughters. She began painting at Ullalla station, with her niece, Georgia Brown, in about 2003.

Accession ID: 20131014_FORM_MIRA_B0045_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.

My Country

Artist(s): Dadina Georgina Brown

Date created: 2007
Art Centre(s): Birriliburu Artists
Size: 122x100
Medium: acrylic on canvas

Artwork Story: It was really happy for [my parents] at bush. Not in town. When we came here [Wiluna], we wanted to go back. Mum and Dad went halfway [back to their Country]. [Our relatives] still follow us and got us and bring us back into town. [Dad] didn’t want to hang around here.

Place of creation: Wiluna
Latitude/Longitude: -26.59/120.22

Artwork copyright: ©2013 Dadina Georgina Brown
Catalogue ID: GB/124/TJ
Protocols: Public Access - Restrictions on use

Photographer: Jason McCarthy
Photograph date: 2009-05-25
Photography copyright: National Museum of Australia
Format: Image
Category: Artwork

Artist(s) biography:
born about 1970
Manyjilyjarra language group
Panaka skin group
Wiluna
Patjarr communities
Tjukurba Gallery
Georgina was among the last people to lead a customary nomadic life in the Western Desert. She was born in the bush and travelled around with her family in the Country east of the stock route. In 1976 concerned families in Wiluna sent out a patrol to find Georgina and her family and bring them into the settlement. Georgina still moves across the desert today, travelling between her homes in Wiluna and Patjarr. Her story is told in the 2009 book, Born in the Desert.

Accession ID: 20131014_FORM_MIRA_B0045_0007

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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