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'Not Just Painting' by Kenneth "KJ" Martin 04:43
'Bush to Beijing' by Kenneth "KJ" Martin 5:36


An Indigenous writers workshop with Anita Heiss in November 2010 offered participants a chance to write their own response to the Yiwarra Kuju: the Canning Stock Route exhibition. This poem by Samantha Faulkner was selected for publication on the Museum's website.

Yiwarra Kuju – The Canning Stock Route

I think about my country
I think about it all the time
Yiwarra kuju – One Road
Connecting people and story

From the rabbit proof fence, 1901
To the Canning Stock Route, 1906-1907
He surveyed the world's longest road
To carry 800 head of cattle

The horror of the times
The victims and the crimes
Stories to remember
Stories to forget

Healing begins today
The paintings, film and stories
Reveal the songlines and peoples
Bringing us all together

I think about my country
I think about it all the time
Come visit the NMA
Yangkurla – let's go !


A dark pink toned painting on canvas with a face like motif in green, yellow, orange, purple, pink and blue to the right side. Above this there is a circle with two concentric circles within it side by side, in pink, red, and yellow. The left side and lower section of the painting is filled with pink, red, purple and blue concentric shapes with an orange squarish shape in the bottom left corner. - click to view larger image

Yiwarra Kuju: The Canning Stock Route

The Aboriginal people of Australia's Western Desert lived in their homelands for thousands of years.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the expansion of the Western Australian mining and pastoral industries led to the surveying of a track along which cattle could be driven from Kimberley stations to markets in the south.

This track became known as the 'Canning Stock Route'.

In July and August 2007 nearly 70 artists travelled up the stock route on a six-week return to Country.

Over 100 canvases were produced on that expedition, and more stories and artworks have since been added to the collection, which was acquired by the National Museum of Australia in 2009.

Yiwarra Kuju includes beautiful plates of the complete Canning Stock Route Collection and for the very first time tells the story of the stock route's impact, and the importance of the country around it, in Aboriginal voices and interpreted through Aboriginal eyes.

It is a story of contact, conflict and survival, of exodus and return. Above all, it is a story of family, culture and Country.

First published 2010 by National Museum of Australia Press
Cover image: Sunday Well (detail) 2008, by Dadda Simpson, Martumili Artists

ISBN: 9781876944780
Paperback with dust jacket, 256 pages, 285 mm x 235 mm, colour
Published July 2010

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