It's important for the stories to be told for the stock route from the Aboriginal point of view. If kartiya [white people] are celebrating 100 years, Aboriginal people should tell their story for history too ... People want to talk about their Country. They're still worrying about Country.
Joy Nuggett, Fitzroy Crossing, 2007
Manmarr Daisy Andrews
born about 1934, Walmajarri language group, Nangkarti skin group Fitzroy Crossing, Mangkaja Arts
I was born at the creek near Cherrabun station homestead. My father used to work there. Sometimes he would run away with us kids, and his three wives and the police would come and pick us up. One time they put chains around his neck and made him walk to Fitzroy.
Manmarr lives in Fitzroy Crossing. Together with Jukuja Dolly Snell, she was one of the pioneering Fitzroy Crossing artists. She is also one of the senior singers for Kaningarra.
Lumpulumpu 2007, Kaningarra 2007
Yunkurra Billy Atkins
born about 1940, Putijarra language group, Purungu skin group, Jigalong community, Martumili Artists
Yunkurra practised as an independent artist in the early 2000s, before other Martu artists were painting commercially. He is also a carver. His work was selected for the 2003 Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, and in 2004 he held his first solo exhibition.
Yunkurra was born at Palarji (Well 9) on the Canning Stock Route. While he avoided being taken away by missionaries as a child, his sister's story of escape from missionaries was told in the film Rabbit-Proof Fence.
Cannibal Story about 2003, Kumpupirntily 2008, Kumpupirntily Cannibal Story 2008
born 1982, Putijarra language group, Jangala skin group, Jigalong community, Newman Martumili Artists
Hayley grew up in Jigalong in Martu Country and lives in Newman, where she works with Martumili Artists. Hayley has been involved with the Canning Stock Route Project since 2007 and was its first curator. While supporting the artists on the 'return to Country' trip at Well 36, Hayley began painting herself. She also began to learn about her own family ties to artists from many other Western Desert art centres. Hayley loves working with her elders and learning about their lives in the bush.
born about 1950, Manyjilyjarra language group, Karimarra skin group, Parnngurr community, Martumili Artists
Ngamayu grew up around Pitu. As a child, she encountered surveyor Len Beadell, who was grading roads near Well 22. He gave Ngamayu and her siblings fruit. Not realising that it was meant to be eaten raw, they cooked the fruit until it was completely dried up. After meeting Beadell, Ngamayu's family was picked up at Parnngurr rock hole and taken to Jigalong.
Canning Stock Route and Surrounding Country 2008, Martilirri, Kalypa and Kartarru 2008, Basket 2009, Martumili Ngurra 2009
born about 1937, Manyjilyjarra language group, Purungu skin group, Punmu community, Martumili Artists
Jakayu was born near Pitu, east of Well 25, and grew up around Kunawarritji, Rarrki and Nyilangkurr, where her father died. In 1963, with her husband and extended family, she met the surveyor Len Beadell, who was grading roads for the Woomera rocket range. This meeting prompted them to join their relatives who were living at Jigalong mission. In 1982 Jakayu moved to Punmu community, where she lives today with her children and grandchildren.
Kumpupirntily 2007, Wikirri 2007, Canning Stock Route and Surrounding Country 2008, Minyipuru 2008, Martumili Ngurra 2009
born 1988, Manyjilyjarra language group, Purungu skin group, Punmu community, Martumili Artists
Morika lives at Punmu in the heart of Martu Country. Her passion for her family and community inspires all of her film and photographic work. She joined the Canning Stock Route Project in 2007 for the 'return to Country' trip at Well 36. She recorded the artists' workshops and produced a film featuring her grandmother, Jakayu Biljabu. In 2008 her photographs were published in the Weekend Australian magazine; that same year she held her first solo exhibition Ngayunpala Kujungka (We Are One).
Canning Stock Route and Surrounding Country 2008
Lungkurra Renette Biljabu
born 1984, Manyjilyjarra language group, Purungu skin group, Punmu community, Martumili Artists
Renette was born in Jigalong. She grew up in Parnngurr where she first discovered painting. After moving to Punmu community in 2004, closer to her father's Country of Kunawarritji, she began working for Martumili Artists, assisting senior painters and learning more intensively about art. Painting, she says, makes her feel at home in her Country today.
Jarran Jan Billycan
born about 1930, Yulparija, Manyjilyjarra language groups, Karimarra skin group, Bidyadanga community, Yulparija Artists
Jarran grew up around the Percival Lakes. She has strong ties to Kiriwirri, the Country of her father's clan and the place where she was born. In the 1960s she was picked up by extended family members and taken to Bidyadanga, where she lives today. Jarran is a respected maparn (medicine woman) and has been painting since 2003. She returned to her Country for the first time in 2006.
Kiriwirri 2008, Kiriwirri 2008
Pampirla Hansen Boxer
born 1941, Walmajarri language group, Jawanti skin group, Broome, Yulparija Artists
Pampirla was born on the banks of the Fitzroy River, on old Cherrabun station, where he worked as a stockman from the age of 12. In 1989 he acquired a 99-year lease on a parcel of land from the station, where he and other families established Yakanarra community. Pampirla was taught the dance for Kaningarra, his father's Country, in 2008.
Coolamon 2008, other works (includes: Majarrka Pukurti 2007, Female head 2007, Karli (boomerang) 2007, Karli (boomerang) (not shown) 2007, Karli (boomerang) (not shown) 2007, Karli (boomerang) (not shown) 2007, Karli (boomerang) (not shown) 2007, Majarrka Pukurti (not shown) 2007)
born 1959, Kartujarra, Manyjilyjarra language groups, Karimarra skin group, Wiluna community, Tjukurba Gallery
Clifford was born at Jigalong mission. He was educated on the mission and later at Port Hedland, but returned to Jigalong to work as a builder and cattleman. In the 1990s he was the chairperson of the community. In recent years Clifford has explored his personal and artistic heritage by painting the story and following in the artistic footsteps of his father's brother, Rover Thomas.
Blood on the Ground, Wells 33–41 2007, Canning Stock Route Country 2007, Kunawarritji to Wajaparni 2007, Lake Disappointment 2007, My Father Looking for his Brother 2007
Jiwara Sarah Brooks
born late 1950s, Manyjilyjarra language group, Karimarra skin group, Newman, Martumili Artists
Jiwara is the sister of Clifford Brooks and Mantyil May Brooks. Their father was the older brother of Rover Thomas. Jiwara was an adult when she first visited Kunawarritji, her father's Country, but she has travelled back often since then. In 2007 Sarah joined the Canning Stock Route 'return to Country' trip, and participated in painting and basketmaking workshops at Kunawarritji in 2008.
Wantili (Well 25) to Wuranu (Well 29) 2007, Basket 2008
Mantyil May Brooks
born about 1955, Manyjilyjarra language group, Karimarra skin group, Newman, Martumili Artists
I was about 25 years of age when I went to Kunawarritji for first time for meeting. And I didn't get homesick or lonely. Probably because I feel right at home.
May was born at old Jigalong. She is the sister of Clifford and Sarah Brooks, and her father is Rover Thomas's older brother. May belongs to Kunawarritji (Well 33) on her father's side and,
on her mother's, to Rarrki (Well 27).
Wantili (Well 25) to Wuranu (Well 29) 2007
Dadina Georgina Brown
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.
My Country 2007, Where I Was Born 2007
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.
Nyuju Stumpy Brown
born about 1924, Wangkajunga language group, Nampijin skin group, Fitzroy Crossing, Mangkaja Artists
Nyuju is Rover Thomas's sister. Born at Kukapanyu (Well 39), she grew up in the desert but eventually followed the drovers north along the stock route. She travelled to Balgo mission with her uncle, Jamili, an Aboriginal stockman. Nyuju later moved to Fitzroy Crossing, where she, like her brother, became a pioneering artist in her own right.
Kukapanyu 1999, Jila 2007, Ngapawarla Jila 2007
Parlurn Harry Bullen
about 1923–2009, Walmajarri, Juwaliny language groups, Panaka skin group, Broome, Yulparija Artists
Born near the Canning Stock Route, Parlurn grew up in the country around Wirnpa. As a young man, he met a droving team at Wajaparni (Well 38). He later moved to Anna Plains station, where he worked as a stockman, helping to build the station's roads, fences and windmills. He began painting in Broome, and his paintings of Wirnpa are held in various national collections.
born about 1940s, Manyjilyjarra language group, Jangala skin group, Punmu community, Martumili Artists
Yikartu was born at Lalyipuka, north of Wirnpa in Juwaliny Country. While travelling across this Country, her family came across the strange tracks of a vehicle. It turned out to belong to a missionary and two Martu men from the La Grange mission at Bidyadanga. They gave the family some food and later returned to bring the family back to the mission, where Yikartu was reunited with close family members.
Yurnangurnu Nola Campbell
born 1948, Manyjilyjarra language group, Napaljarri skin group, Patjarr community and Wiluna, Kayili Artists
Nola Campbell grew up travelling in the Country between Kiwirrkurra and Kunawarritji. She is related to Charlie Wallabi (Walapayi) Tjungurrayi and Nangkatji Josephine Nangala, whom she called father and mother, and Kumpaya Girgaba, her aunt. Nola was taken to Warburton as a young woman and there she married her first husband. She moved to Wiluna and later Patjarr, where she later married artist Coiley Campbell.
Tika Tika 2008
Ngarnjapayi Nancy Chapman
born about 1940s, Manyjilyjarra language group, Karimarra skin group, Punmu community, Martumili Artists
Nancy grew up in the Country surrounding the Canning Stock Route. In the 1960s she and her family moved to Jigalong and rejoined their relatives. Today she lives in Punmu with her sisters, Mulyatingki Marney and May Chapman, and with her children and grandchildren.
When I was little, I used to stand up all the time, looking for the old people to come back bringing food. The old people gave me that name Ngarnjapayi ['standing up'].
Juntujuntu: Minyipuru and Kurrkurr 2007
Jukuna Mona Chuguna
born about 1933, Walmajarri, Juwaliny language groups, Nakarra skin group, Fitzroy Crossing, Mangkaja Arts
Jukuna was born at Kurntumangujarti. While still a young girl, she fell in love with Kurrapa Peter Skipper and left the desert with him, travelling north to the station Country. In the 1960s, the couple moved to Fitzroy Crossing, where they began attending adult education classes in the 1980s. Jukuna wrote a Walmajarri-language account of her life for the book Two Sisters.
Tapu Country 2008
Yanpiyarti Ned Cox
born about 1938, Walmajarri language group, Jupurrula skin group, Ngumpan community, Fitzroy Crossing, Ngurra Artists
My father and that old man Wirrali they brought that Majarrka [dance] with them. Those old people had big mob of dance then.
Ned grew up around old Billiluna station. His family travelled to Christmas Creek station to escape a rough station manager at Billiluna, and stayed there. Ned is the senior custodian for Majarrka, a skilled carver and was instrumental in the establishment of Wangkatjungka and Ngumpan communities.
Works include: Pukurti (tall Majarrka headdress) 2007, Pukurti (tall Majarrka headdress) 2007, Kumunungku (square Majarrka headdress) 2008, Kumunungku (square Majarrka headdress) 2008, Shield 2007, Shield 2007, Wirlki ('number 7' boomerang) 2008, Wirlki ('number 7' boomerang) 2008.
Katapi Pulpurru Davies
born about 1939, Manyjilyjarra language group, Napangarti skin group, Patjarr community, Kayili Artists
I was born north of here [Patjarr] at Untaru. It's only now ... that we've been living in communities. I travelled around to all the waterholes and country that belonged to our family. We used to live in our Country. We lived there for a long time and then we went to a place with houses, Warburton.
Pulpurru returned to her traditional Country when Patjarr community was established.
Minyma Kutjarra (Two Women) 2008
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'.
Jarinyanu David Downs
about 1923 to 1995, Wangkajunga language group, Jangkarti skin group, Fitzroy Crossing, Mangkaja Arts
Jarinyanu grew up with his brother, Ngilpirr Spider Snell, at Kurtal. Both young men left the desert in the 1940s to work on the stations. For a time, Jarinyanu also worked as a drover on the stock route. In the late 1960s he began carving artefacts, and by the 1980s he had begun to paint striking figurative works, which often fused elements of traditional desert and Christian iconographies.
Kurtal as Miltijaru 1989
Jugarda Dulcie Gibbs
born about 1947, Manyjilyjarra language group, Milangka skin group, Punmu and Kunawarritji communities, Martumili Artists
Dulcie grew up in the country between Kunawarritji and Yimiri. In 1957, after the death of her father at Karlamilyi (Rudall River), the family moved to Jigalong. With her sisters Muni Rita Simpson and Mantararr Rosie Williams, she returned to her Country at Punmu in 1982. She now lives in Kunawarritji with her husband, children and grandchildren.
Minyipuru (Seven Sisters) 2007, Canning Stock Route and Surrounding Country 2008
Kurltjunyintja Jackie Giles
about 1944 to 2010, Manyjilyjarra language group, Tjapaltjarri skin group, Patjarr community, Kayili Artists
Mr Giles grew up in the country between Patjarr and Kiwirrkurra. He travelled throughout his life as a respected law man, maparn (healer) and pioneering artist and maintained expansive family networks across the desert.
My umbilical cord fell off at Marapinti near Kiwirrkurra. No roads, no cars, nothing. My other father, Walurti ... used to carry me on his back and on his shoulders as we travelled ... I went to Warakurna and later to Warburton. I met my wife, Norma, there.
Ngumarnu Norma Giles
born about 1952, Manyjilyjarra language group, Nakamarra skin group, Patjarr community, Kayili Artists
We lived in the bush. At that time we didn't have any clothes. When we were children we used to live off the meat that our fathers and mothers killed ... We grew up on all that food from the land. We lived oblivious to [the] white man and his world.
Norma grew up in the bush at Patjarr before moving to Warburton and marrying Mr Giles. She and her family were instrumental in establishing Patjarr community in their homelands.
Kapitu Kapitu 2008
Wuntupayi Jane Gimme
born 1958, Kukatja language group, Nungurrayi skin group, Balgo community, Warlayirti Artists
Born at Tjumuntura, near the old Balgo mission, Jane is the eldest of Eubena (Yupinya) Nampitjin's surviving daughters. Jane learned from her mother the stories of her Country and the ways of painting it. She is an active artist in her own right and more than once has been elected chairperson of Warlayirti Artists.
Kinyu 2007, Witji Rock Holes 2007
born early 1960s, Manyiljarra language group, Milangka skin group, Parnngurr and Newman, Martumili Artists
Jane is the daughter of Kumpaya Girgaba and Nyarri Morgan, both senior Martu elders and artists who live at Parnngurr. She started painting about 18 months ago, under the tutelage of her mother, Kumpaya. Painting the Martumili Ngurra canvas was the first time Jane worked collaboratively with senior Martu women.
Martumili Ngurra 2009
born about 1945, Manyjilyjarra language group, Karimarra skin group, Parnngurr community, Martumili Artists
A respected law woman and cultural leader, Kumpaya was born near Kiwirrkurra and grew up around the Canning Stock Route. For many years her family avoided contact with Europeans, but eventually they moved to Jigalong mission to join their relatives. Kumpaya learned how to paint and weave baskets while visiting family in Balgo, Fitzroy Crossing and Patjarr. She is credited with introducing these skills to Martu people.
Canning Stock Route and Surrounding Country 2008, Kaninjaku 2008, Kunkun 2008, Basket 2009
Martumili Ngurra 2009
Kuji Rosie Goodjie
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.
Lampu, Kurninarra, Kartalapuru, Kujuwarri 2007, Ngurti (coolamon) 2007
about 1948 to 2008, Manyjilyjarra language group, Panaka skin group, Kunawarritji community, Martumili Artists
I got pick up droving day back in 1959. I got pick up in Well 25. I went on a camel all the way down to Billiluna and I grow up in that place. I was only 13 when they pick me up.
Born near Lake Disappointment, Jeffrey James walked the desert before travelling north with drovers to Billiluna and then Balgo mission. He later returned to Billiluna where he worked as a stockman and drover. He travelled widely in the Pilbara, Kimberley and Central Australia. In 1983 he established Kunawarritji community.
Kunawarritji to Wajaparni 2007
Milkujung Jewess James
born about 1940s, Wangkajunga language group, Nakarra skin group, Ngumpan community, Ngurra Artists
My father said, 'I'm not giving you my kids. You might take them to another place far away from here'.
Milkujung was born near Paruku. When the priest at old Balgo mission attempted to put Milkujung and her sister into school, their father fled with them to Kurungal (Christmas Creek station). There Milkujung married Majarrka boss, Wirrali Jimmy James, and raised a family. Today she is a respected law woman in her community.
Wijiji Anna Johns
born 1949, 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.
Sheila Friday Jones
born about 1940, 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.
My Country 2007
born about 1956, Manyjilyjarra language group, Milangka skin group, Parnngurr community, Martumili Artists
Thelma was born in the Percival Lakes region and grew up around Yimiri and Kurturarra. In 1964 her family was one of the last Martu groups to leave the desert and be reunited with their families at Jigalong mission. After she left school, Thelma moved to Strelley station and married in Jigalong, where she had her children. Today she lives in Parnngurr with her husband, Yanjimi Peter Rowlands, and their children.
Baskets 2008, Canning Stock Route and Surrounding Country 2008, Martumili Ngurra 2009
born 1959, Putijarra, Kartujarra language groups, Karimarra skin group, Parnngurr community, Martumili Artists
Noreena was born in Wiluna and grew up on Lake Violet station. Her mother, Daisy, had been taken from her family as a child and placed in the Moore River settlement. The film Rabbit-Proof Fence tells Daisy's story. Noreena went to school in Meekatharra and afterwards worked at a hostel in Marble Bar before moving to be with her family at Jigalong and eventually Parnngurr, where she now lives.
Pukarlyi Milly Kelly
born about 1935, Putijarra language group, Karimarra skin group, Jigalong community, Martumili Artists
Pukarlyi was born at Jilakurru (Well 17). Her father's Country ranged from Jilakurru to Puntawarri, and Pukarlyi walked this Country as a child. Eventually her mother brought her in to the ration station, at old Jigalong on the rabbit-proof fence, to look for their extended family. There Pukarlyi met her husband, Pompey Charlie, and they worked on stations together for many years.
Puntawarri 2007, Puntawarri 2007
Nyangkarni Penny K-Lyons
born about 1932, Juwaliny, Walmajarri language groups, Nangkarti skin group, Wangkatjungka community, Mangkaja Arts
We are lost in our Country. Nobody's here.
Nyangkarni's sister, Taku Rosie Tarco, brother, Kurrapa Peter Skipper, and parents walked out of the desert before her. She and her grandmother encountered two murderers preying on the last of the desert people. One man killed Nyangkarni's grandmother and forced Nyangkarni to be his wife. They travelled north to Christmas Creek station where Nyangkarni reunited with family.
Nyilnigil 2007, Yakapiri (bark sandals) 2008
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.
Mayarn Julia Lawford
born about 1942, Wangkajunga, Walmajarri language groups, Napanangka skin group, Kupartiya community, Ngurra Artists
Mayarn was a little girl when she fell down a goanna hole and broke her leg while travelling on the stock route with her parents. The droving team, whose camels had frightened her, put her leg in a splint. A respected law woman and singer of Majarrka, Mayarn is the mother of Canning Stock Route Project translator Putuparri Tom Lawford.
Tungkul (hairstring) 2007
Putuparri Tom Lawford
born 1970, Wangkajunga language group, Jakarra skin group, Fitzroy Crossing, Ngurra Artists
Putuparri is a Wangkajunga man who lives in Fitzroy Crossing. In 2007 he worked as a translator and cultural adviser on the 'return to country' trip. He has helped to coordinate some of the project's biggest cultural workshops on Country and provided the team with invaluable cultural guidance. Putuparri also works for the Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre, coordinating its cultural program and assisting with international repatriation.
Kunawarritji to Wajaparni 2007
Jartarr Lily Long
born about 1940, Warnman language group, Milangka skin group, Nullagine community, Martumili Artists
Daddy was from Fitzroy side, droving to Tiwa [Well 26]. He was going to steal my mother from my Warnman daddy and take her [back to] Kimberley. He took a droving horse and took her to Karlamilyi.
Jartarr's father was the famous Kimberley drover, Jamili. He fell in love with Jartarr's mother and tried to steal her from her husband. Jartarr was born in Karlamilyi (Rudall River) and grew up with her Warnman father.
Basket 2008, Wantili (Well 25) to Wuranu (Well 29) 2007, Tiwa 2008
Lumu Lucy Loomoo
born about 1935, Kukatja language group, Nungurrayi skin group, Balgo community, Warlayirti Artists
Lucy was born with bandicoot Dreaming. She grew up around Kalyuyangku and travelled south of Well 33 along the stock route, becoming an adult while living east of Wantili (Well 25). Lucy and her husband, Wiyangari, who belonged to Piparr Country, were among the last people to move to Balgo mission. Lucy began painting at Warlayirti in 1992.
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.
Mungily 2007, Parta 2007, Paruku 2007, Paruku and Walmajarri People 2007, Mustering 2007, Mungily 2008
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.
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.
born about 1941, Manyjilyjarra language group, Karimarra skin group, Punmu community, Martumili Artists
Mulyatingki was born at Nyinyiri near the Canning Stock Route and grew up in Karlamilyi. The first time her family saw white people there, they hid in a cave until nightfall. In 1966 she and her family walked into Balfour Downs station. They were one of the last families to leave the desert. In 1982 Mulyatingki relocated to Punmu, where she now lives with her sisters, Ngarnjapayi Nancy and May Chapman. Their brother is Bidyadanga artist Jawarta Donald Moko.
Pangkapini, Minyipuru 2007, Lowulowuku Yinta 2008
Ngarralja Tommy May
born about 1935, Wangkajunga, Walmajarri language groups, Jungkurra skin group, Fitzroy Crossing, Mangkaja Arts
As a teenager, Ngarralja was among the last people to leave the desert for the Fitzroy Valley.
Lot of our people, they been already working in station. We couldn't find anybody behind. That's why we went.
Ngarralja is a director of Mangkaja Arts and former chairman of the Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre.
Kurtal and Kaningarra 2007, Lawalawa 2007
Miyapu Mary Meribida
born about 1930, Yulparija language group, Panaka skin group, Bidyadanga community, Yulparija Artists
[My family were] right there, Kinyu [ Jarntu, Well 35]. Right up near Stock Road. That's my Country.
Mary's Country includes Yalta, Punmu and Jarntu. After her father died, and her uncle, Rover Thomas, left Yalta, Mary travelled north-west with her mother, Kupi. In the 1960s they moved to La Grange mission, which became Bidyadanga community. Mary lives there today with her husband, Donald Moko.
Jawarta Donald Moko
born about 1928, Wangkajunga, Yulparija, Kukatja, Manyjilyjarra, language groups, Karimarra skin group, Bidyadanga community, Yulparija Artists
Like a titu [bird] travelling around ...
Jawarta grew up around the Percival Lakes and Well 33. He became a man at Jigalong, travelling afterwards to Wiluna, Lajamanu and Papunya. He stopped for a time at Anna Plains station, then moved to Bidyadanga in the 1960s. Jawarta has travelled extensively throughout his life as a maparn (healer), law man and artist. He is married to Miyapu Mary Meribida.
Eubena (Yupinya) Nampitjin
born about 1920, Manyjilyjarra, Kukatja, Wangkajunga, Putijarra language groups, Nampitjin skin group, Balgo community, Warlayirti Artists
Eubena grew up around Jarntu and Nyirla. With her first husband, Gimme, she travelled north along the Canning Stock Route with the drovers. While raising their six daughters at Balgo mission, Eubena helped Gimme and a local priest compile a Kukatja-language dictionary. Eubena began a famous painting partnership with her second husband, Wimmitji Tjapangarti, and her paintings have inspired the work of many other members of her extended desert family.
Kinyu 2007, Kinyu 2007, Kunawarritji and Kinyu 2007
Nangkatji Josephine Nangala
born about 1950, Kukatja, Manyjilyjarra language groups, Nangala skin group, Kiwirrkurra community, Papunya Tula Artists
Josephine grew up with her family travelling between Nyirla, her traditional Country, and the Canning Stock Route. In 1957 she was living around Natawalu when a helicopter landed and took her sick aunt and her brother-in-law to Balgo mission. Josephine and her family eventually followed on foot. She later moved to Kiwirrkurra community with her husband, Charlie Wallabi (Walapayi) Tjungurrayi.
Marapinti 2008, Untitled 2007
Nyangapa Nora Nangapa
born about 1916, Manyjilyjarra language group, Karimarra skin group, Kunawarritji community, Martumili Artists
I was born near Lipuru. We went from Lipuru to Wajaparni and Kilykily. They looked after me there as I grew. I went east ... and kept on going towards Balgo, travelling with the drovers all the way.
Nyangapa lives at Kunawarritji and travels regularly between Kunawarritji and Balgo. She paints for both Martumili and Warlayirti Artists, and many younger artists describe having learned to paint by watching her example.
Canning Stock Route and Surrounding Country 2008, Kunkun 2008, Minyipuru 2008
born about 1950, Kukatja, Manyjiljarra language groups, Napanangka skin group, Kiwirrkurra community, Papunya Tula Artists
Miriam is the daughter of Wimmitji Tjapangarti, and the sister of Lucy Yukenbarri. Miriam was a young girl when a helicopter landed at Natawalu, taking her young brother-in-law to Balgo. She and her family group did not follow the helicopter to Balgo immediately, but went back hunting around Kukapanyu (Well 39) before deciding to travel north to the mission. Miriam is married to Patrick Tjungurrayi.
Katajilkarr to Kaningarra 2007, Untitled 2007
Yuwali Janice Nixon
born about 1947, Manyjilyjarra, Mangala language groups, Purungu skin group, Parnngurr community, Martumili Artists
Yuwali was born at Yulpu soak in the Percival Lakes. In 1964 her family group, which consisted only of women and children, tried to evade a native welfare patrol officer who was attempting to bring them in to Jigalong mission. This story is depicted in the book Cleared Out and the film Contact. Yuwali later worked on a number of stations, but finally moved closer to her Country in 1982 when she moved to Punmu.
Baskets 2008, Canning Stock Route and Surrounding Country 2008
born about 1947, Kukatja, Manyjilyjarra, and Ngaanyatjarra language groups, Nungurrayi skin group, Billiluna community, Warlayirti Artists
Nyumi was a young girl travelling with her older brothers, Kamara Brandy and Patrick Olodoodi (Alatuti) Tjungurrayi, when they encountered the helicopter at Natawalu in 1957. It was the first time she had seen white men. Nyumi spent some years at Balgo mission before moving to Billiluna to raise a family with her husband, Palmer Gordon. She began painting in the late 1980s.
Mangarri (Food) 2007
Billy Patch (Mr P)
about 1948 to 2009, Manyjilyjarra language group, Milangka skin group, Wiluna and Parnngurr communities, Tjukurba Gallery
I'm just a stock route baby.
Mr P was born at Kunawarritji (Well 33). As a boy he was picked up by drovers on the stock route and taken south to Wiluna, where he later raised a family. Mr P maintained extensive family and ceremonial ties across the desert. He was widely respected for his knowledge and successfully fought for the land rights of his people.
True Map of Canning Stock Route Country 2008
born about 1936, Wangkajunga language group, Purungu skin group, Wangkatjungka community, Ngurra Artists
I come from desert, young girl. Come or hospital ... no motor car, we carried everything: swag, billycan, on our heads.
Nada was born and grew up near Kiriwirri. During a severe drought in the 1950s, Nada's family, seeking medical attention for painful sores on her arms and legs, took her north along the stock route. They lived at Moola Bulla station, before reuniting with family at Wangkatjungka.
Yanjimi Peter Rowlands
born about 1944, Manyjilijarra, Kartujarra language groups, Purungu skin group, Parnngurr community, Martumili Artists
Yanjimi was born at Kalypa (Well 23) on the Canning Stock Route and his Dreaming is associated with the Seven Sisters story for this site. In 1948 his family moved in to Jigalong mission. He now lives in Parnngurr with his wife and children. Yanjimi visited Singapore in 2008 as a member of the first group of Martu artists to hold an international art exhibition.
Kumpupirntily 2008, Lake Disappointment 2008, Lake Disappointment 2008
Anya Judith Samson
born 1988, Kartujarra language group, Milangka skin group, Jigalong community, Martumili Artists
Anya is Dadda Samson's granddaughter. She was born in Port Hedland and moved to Jigalong when she was a little girl. She spends much of her time painting with her grandmother and learning the stories of her Country. She is affectionately known as 'young Dadda'.
Puntawarri, Jilakurru and Kumpupirntily 2008
born about 1939, Kartujarra language group, Milangka skin group, Jigalong community, Martumili Artists
Before Dadda was born, her parents and brothers lived in the Country around Jilakurru (Well 17). In the late 1930s, as droving traffic intensified, her family relocated west to old Jigalong, the ration station established on the rabbit-proof fence. Dadda was born by the windmill there. She still lives in Jigalong and is one of the pioneering painters at Martumili Artists.
Kumpupirntily 2007, Purlpa 2007, Basket 2008, Puntawarri, Jilakurru and Kumpupirntily 2008, Sunday Well 2008
Jamiya Chamia Samuel
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.
Muni Rita Simpson
about 1941 to 2008, Manyjilyjarra language group, Milangka skin group, Punmu community, Martumili Artists
Muni was born at Junpunkinja, close to Kurtararra in the Percival Lakes. She grew up with her sisters, Jugarda Dulcie Gibbs and Mantararr Rosie Williams and moved to Jigalong after the death of their father in 1957. Muni and Rosie married two brothers who worked as stockmen on various stations in the Pilbara. They also mined for tin in Marble Bar before moving to Punmu community in the 1980s. Muni was among the first Martu women to begin painting on canvas.
Minyipuru (Seven Sisters) 2007
Jukuja Dolly Snell
born about 1933, Wangkajunga language group, Nampijin skin group, Fitzroy Crossing, Mangkaja Arts
[At] Pankupiti, I told my mother, 'Can you kill that animal with woolly hair?' It was a sheep. 'I won't kill it,' she said. 'It belongs to the white man.'
Dolly was born at Kurtal. When her father died, she travelled with her mother to Balgo, then Louisa Downs and Kupartiya (Bohemia Downs) stations, where she worked and married her childhood sweetheart, Ngilpirr Spider Snell.
Jitirr 2007, Kartamarti 2007
Ngilpirr Spider Snell
born about 1925, Wangkajunga language group, Jangkarti skin group, Fitzroy Crossing, Mangkaja Arts
I am jila. I am one of his lightnings.
Ngilpirr is the senior custodian of the Kurtal jila and its songs and dances; he has performed and exhibited both nationally and internationally. Like many other desert people with strong ancestral ties to Country, he sees himself as inseparable from the place that gives him his power. As one of Kurtal's lightning bolts, he passes on this power, and his knowledge of jila law, to his grandsons.
Bush Tucker 2007
Jawurji Mervyn Street
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.
Cattle at Durba Springs 2007, Canning Stock Route 2008
Wakartu Cory Surprise
born about 1929, Walmajarri language group, Nyapana skin group, Fitzroy Crossing, Mangkaja Arts
Wakartu grew up around Tapu. When her parents died, she travelled to Kaningarra and Wayampajarti before reaching the station Country. After leaving the desert, she raised seven children while working for the police and on stations, and by trading minerals for rations.
The station manager was hitting people, so we ran away [to the] desert to see if we can find any of our people left, but nothing, only all the dead ones. Police tracked us down and put chains around the men.
Tapu 2007, Wayampajarti 2007
Taku Rosie Tarco
born about 1935, Juwaliny language group, Nangkarti skin group, Wangkatjungka community and Fitzroy Crossing, Mangkaja Arts
I was only a kid, what you call a little manga [girl]. I went travelling and left my Country. We walked a long, long way. I had to leave my mother behind.
Taku was born at Japingka. During a period of intense drought in the Great Sandy Desert that lasted from 1956 to 1964, she travelled north along the stock route with Nada Rawlins's family.
Ngalangka Nola Taylor
Ngalangka Nola Taylor, born 1956, Manyjilyjarra language group, Karimarra skin group, Parnngurr community, Martumili Artists
Nola works closely with Martumili Artists as a translator and adviser for Martu people. In 2007 she joined the 'return to Country' trip at Well 36. She has translated the majority of the Martu oral histories for the Canning Stock Route project. As a cultural mentor under the leadership of Martu elder, Kumpaya Girgaba, she has also provided guidance and support to curator Hayley Atkins, filmmaker Morika Biljabu and the whole project team. She has helped facilitate many trips in Martu Country.
Canning Stock Route and Surrounding Country 2008
Kanu Nancy Taylor
born about 1940, Manyjilyjarra language group, Panaka skin group, Parnngurr community, Martumili Artists
Kanu grew up around Karlamilyi (Rudall River) and the Percival Lakes where she married Jarran Jan Billycan's brother and raised a family. After meeting a white man near Oakover River, the family was taken to Balfour Downs station and then to Jigalong. Kanu now lives in Parnngurr with her second husband, Wokka Taylor, and their grandchildren.
Baskets 2008, Basket 2009
Karntakarnta Billy Thomas
born about 1920, 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.
Mayapu Elsie Thomas
born about 1934, Wangkajunga language group, Nampijin skin group, Wangkatjungka community, Ngurra Artists
Mayapu was born at Pinga and grew up in the Country around Kukapanyu (Well 39). She married Karntakarnta Billy Thomas's brother, Sheepman, and raised a family at Christmas Creek station. Today she is married to George Tuckerbox.
We used to walk until we came to the Canning Stock Road ...That was where [the bullocks] travelled ... along the wells ... That's where they used to spear bullocks, my father and Kuji's [Rosie Goodjie's] father.
Kurrkumalu 2007, Natawalu 2007, Ngurti (coolamon) 2007
about 1926 to 1998, Kukatja, Wangkajunga language groups, Joolama skin group, Warmun (Turkey Creek) and Kununurra
Rover Thomas was born at Yalta, a soak near Kunawarritji (Well 33) on the Canning Stock Route. He is the brother of Nyuju Stumpy Brown, and of Clifford Brooks's father and Miyapu Mary Meribida's mother. His adult life was spent in the
Kimberley, where he worked first as a stockman and later as an artist. In 1995 Rover returned to his desert Country one last time, travelling back to Kunawarritji and to Yalta, his birthplace and the burial place of his parents.
Canning Stock Route 1989
Pija Peter Tinker
born about 1946, Manyjilyjarra language group, Purungu skin group, Jigalong community, Martumili Artists
I was born in the desert, near Kunawarritji. I grew up in Marble Bar and went to school there. Later I moved to Jigalong. I worked as a stockman on Hillside, Balfour Downs station. My Country is Kunawarritji.
Peter Tinker joined the 2007 'return to country' trip at Kilykily (Well 36). As he painted his Country, he recalled his childhood in the desert, including the first time he saw aeroplanes flying overhead.
Kunawarritji to Wajaparni 2007
Richard Yukenbarri (Yugumbari) Tjakamarra
born 1958, Kukatja language group, Tjakamarra skin group, Kiwirrkurra community, Papunya Tula Artists
Richard is the son of Balgo artist Lucy Yukenbarri, and the stepson of Helicopter Tjungurrayi. Lucy was pregnant with Richard as she walked north along the Canning Stock Route after Helicopter was taken away. He was born at the end of this journey, at Parnkupiti Creek, which runs into Lake Gregory. Richard grew up on old Balgo mission and now lives in Kiwirrkurra with his wife, Takariya, who, in 1984, was one of the last people to leave traditional desert life.
Kalyuyangku 2007, Kunawarritji to Wajaparni 2007
about 1924 to 1997, Kukatja language group, Tjapangarti skin group, Balgo community, Warlayirti Artists
Wimmitji was born at Kurtakurta, near Nyirla. In 1957 he was at Natawalu (Well 40) with his family, including his daughters, Lucy Yukenbarri and Miriam Napanangka. While they walked ahead into Balgo, Wimmitji and his first wife, Wongwiya, were the last of their family to go to the mission. In a famous partnership with his second wife, Eubena (Yupinya) Namptijin, Wimmitji became a pioneer of Balgo art in the 1980s.
Jukuja Nora Tjookootja
born about 1940, Wangkajunga language group, Nyapajay skin group, Wangkatjungka community, Ngurra Artists
Jukuja was born at Piparr. Her mother worked as a cook with drovers on the stock route. Her father took her to Billiluna, where she was promised to her husband, Donkeyman Benny, from whom she learned the songs and stories for Kaningarra (Well 48), the site for which he was the last senior custodian. Today, Jukuja is one of the senior singers for this Country.
Ngurti (coolamon) 2007
Charlie Wallabi (Walapayi) Tjungurrayi
about 1937 to 2009, Manyjilyjarra, Kukatja language groups, Tjungurrayi skin group, Kiwirrkurra community, Papunya Tula Artists
Walapayi was a maparn (traditional healer)who was famous throughout the desert and beyond. As a young man he once ate poisoned meat left by drovers in retaliation for spearing a camel. He left the desert in 1957 to look for his brother, Helicopter Tjungurrayi, who had been taken to Balgo. Walapayi eventually returned to Kiwirrkurra to be closer to his Country.
Kunawarritji to Wajaparni 2007, Nyaru 2007
Helicopter Joey Tjungurrayi
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.
Kunawarritji to Wajaparni 2007, Natawalu 2007, Waruwiya 2007
Kamara Brandy Tjungurrayi
born about 1930, Manyjilyjarra, Kukatja language groups, Tjungurrayi skin group, Balgo community, Warlayirti Artists
Father (Alphonse) told me to go back to the bush and get all my families.
Brandy walked to old Balgo mission as a young man, and then returned to the desert to collect his family. In 1958 he brought them to Billiluna station, where he earned his name branding cattle. Brandy raised his family in Balgo, but moved to Kiwirrkurra in the 1990s to be closer to his Country. Today he lives in Balgo with his daughters and many grandchildren.
Patrick Olodoodi (Alatuti) Tjungurrayi
born about 1935, Manyjilyjarra, Kukatja language groups, Tjungurrayi skin group, Kiwirrkurra community, Papunya Tula Artists
Patrick was born at Mayilili, between Kunawarritji (Well 33) and Kiwirrkurra. With his older brother, Brandy, he walked the desert east of the Canning Stock Route. They regularly crossed the stock route and in 1958 Patrick followed the wells north out of the desert. After many years in Balgo, he returned to live near his Country at Kiwirrkurra. Patrick continues to move between Balgo and Kiwirrkurra, painting for both Papunya Tula and Warlayirti artists.
Canning Stock Route Country 2007, Kunawarritji to Wajaparni 2007
born about 1950s, Wangkajunga, Kukatja language groups, Japangarti skin group, Wangkatjungka community,
Tuckerbox is the brother of Wimmitji Tjapangarti. He was born near Kiwirrkurra and travelled to Paruku before settling at Christmas Creek station. He worked as a drover and spent time in the Northern Territory shooting buffalo until Cyclone Tracy hit in 1974. His sister, who was living in Darwin, was killed. Tuckerbox lives in Wangkatjungka with his wife, Mayapu Elsie Thomas and is a skilled carver.
Ngurti (coolamon) 2007
Paruku George Wallaby
about 1930 to 2001, Walmajarri language group, Jangala skin group, Kununurra, Red Rock Gallery
Paruku was born near Paruku with floodwater Dreaming. As a young man, he worked the Canning Stock Route droving cattle and, when stock work ceased after the introduction of equal wages in the 1960s, he moved to Kununurra. A respected law man and painter, Paruku was known there as the 'rainmaker'.
Mitutu Mabel Warkarta
born about 1920, Warnman language group, Milangka skin group, Parnngurr community, Martumili Artists
After Mabel's mother and father died, she was 'grown up' by one of her aunts. She walked around Karlamilyi and Warnman Country, and when she was older she travelled with her promised husband. After walking into Jigalong, she worked on various cattle stations. Mabel married twice more after the death of her first husband.
Canning Stock Route and Surrounding Country 2008
born about 1945, Warnman, Kartujarra language groups, Purungu skin group, Kunawarritji community, Martumili Artists
I saw whitefellas first time in Parnngurr. We were climbing up the hills [to get away].
Bugai was born at Balfour Downs and grew up around Kartarru (Well 24), Wantili (Well 25), Tiwa (Well 26) and Wuranu (Well 29). She travelled around Karlamilyi with her husband, and later with drovers on the stock route. In 1963 her family met surveyor Len Beadell, who was grading roads. They were taken to Jigalong.
Minyipuru Claypan 2007, Canning Stock Route and Surrounding Country 2008, Kunkun 2008
Mantararr Rosie Williams
born about 1943, Manyjilyjarra, Mangala language groups, Milangka skin group, Punmu community, Martumili Artists
Rosie was born at Kurupu, near Kurturarra in the Percival Lakes. After her father died at Karlamilyi (Rudall River), Rosie and her sisters, Jugarda Dulcie Gibbs and Muni Rita Simpson, met up with some Martu people who told them that their relatives were at Jigalong, and so they moved to the mission. In 1982 Rosie returned to her homelands at Punmu, where she lives today with her children and grandchildren.
Minyipuru (Seven Sisters) 2007, Basket 2008, Basket 2008, Baskets 2008, Canning Stock Route and Surrounding Country 2008
Japurra Wendy Wise
born 1960, 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.
born about 1935, Manyjilyjarra, Kukatja language groups, Nungurrayi skin group, Kunawarritji and Balgo communities, Martumili Artists
Wompi was born with 'pussycat' (feral cat) Dreaming at Pingakurangu rock hole near Kunawarritji. As a young girl, she travelled north with the drovers to Billiluna and Balgo. Today she lives at Kunawarritji, but continues to travel regularly between Well 33 and Balgo, where she has many relatives. Wompi paints for both Warlayirti and Martumili art centres.
Kunawarritji 2007, Canning Stock Route and Surrounding Country 2008, Kunkun 2008
born about 1950, Manyjilyjarra language group, Karimarra skin group, Kunawarritji Community, Martumili Artists
Marjorie was married to senior Martu man Jeffrey James, who died in 2008. After establishing Kunawarritji community in the 1980s, she and her husband raised their children there. Marjorie lives at Kunawarritji today with her children and grandchildren.
Canning Stock Route and Surrounding Country 2008
born 1977, Kukatja language group, Nakamarra skin group, Balgo community, Warlayirti Artists
Christine is the daughter of two of Balgo's most respected artists: Helicopter Tjungurrayi and Lucy Yukenbarri. Having learned to paint in the kinti-kinti (close-close) style of dotting pioneered by her mother, Christine has gone on to become one of the leading younger artists in the Western Desert. She lives in Balgo with her father and her sisters.