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Yurrkuru-Kurlu video transcript
Watch video of Theresa Napurrula Ross talking about the Coniston Massacre (MPG4 video)
(Duration: 5:10, file size 11.8mb)
Transcript of Theresa Napurrula Ross talking about the Coniston Massacre
A Story About a Place Called Brooks Soak
My name is Theresa Napurrurla Ross. I am from Yuendumu.
I'm speaking in Warlpiri and I'm telling a story about Coniston.
Where whitefellas (kardiya) shot all the Warlpiri people (yapa).
It started at a place called Yurrkuru (on Coniston Station).
Then they were shot with rifles, everywhere.
I became interested in doing this story.
My father told me to do this story when I was 10 years old.
Then I said to myself, when I grow up I will write this down and put it in a book so that a lot of people can know about it.
About what happened at Yurrkuru.
How the whitefellas (kardiya) shot all those Warlpiri people (yapa).
My father who grew me up told me this story. Jack Jakamarra Ross.
He was at Yurrkuru at the time of the shooting. He was about 14 or 15 years old then. And he saw them. He saw the kardiya shooting yapa.
It was this kind of country. With creeks and grasses. I was told by my father. Jack Jakamarra Ross.
That Yurrkuru is part of my country (area). The country where the kardiya shot all the yapa.
He told me that is my grandfather's land.
People call him (Bullfrog) the whitefella killer. That's what Warlpiri call him.
After killing Brooks he got away. And he remained a free man. Until he passed away in the 1970s. He is buried there at Yuendumu.
Some of the elders said about Bullfrog he shouldn't have killed Fred Brooks because others got killed for that.
Some of them said that it was okay for him to kill Brooks because Brooks stole his wife.
The whitefella gave him tobacco. To Japanangka, the whitefella killer. And then Japanangka gave him his wife to sleep with.
Some people believe he is a hero because he got away from the whitefellas.
To me he was a hero coward and murderer. Three things.
The Board of Enquiry said 31 were killed.
But when I interviewed the old men at Willowra they told me there were many others, and women and children as well. The old men said no, they killed hundreds and hundreds.
In the court (Board of Enquiry) in 1928 the judge said in Alice Springs that the shootings were justified.
And that it was all okay and finished with. But it wasn't. People feel angry and sad. Because, why did they kill the wrong people?
They should have got Bullfrog, the one that killed the whitefella.
They shouldn't have killed the others, no. Or women and children, no. And the Remembrance Day (in 2003) when we had that commemoration. It was good for everyone to get together. And to remember all the people that had been shot by the ones with rifles. Yes.