Charlie Tjaruru's family were among the first Pintupi people to migrate east, in the 1930s, to Hermannsburg Christian mission. He was well-known for his camels, taking supplies to his countrymen still living on their traditional lands. His long acquaintance with Europeans made him a spokesman for the Pintupi group, mediating their interactions with the Papunya Tula art centre managers. He was one of the founders of Papunya Tula Artists and the first to have a retrospective of his work, in 1987.
During the Dreaming a woman ancestor travelled alone towards the Gordon Hills from lands far to the west. In the claypan and hill country near Wanatjalnga she tracked a small bird to its nest, a hole in the ground into which it disappeared. The woman made a digging stick, cutting the wood and removing the bark, which formed the surrounding rocky hills. The woman killed and ate the bird, then climbed the hill from where she saw emus. The nest is now a claypan where water gathers and is named after the small bird.