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This report indicates that Dolly is not happy with the ‘Balanggara’ representing her or the Kwini people for the Faraway Bay area. There is also evident confusion over that area that represent Gumboot Bay to the King George Falls area some ? kilometres away. (Comment by Lee Scott-Virtue, archaeologist and present during the interview.)

That further oral traditions research be undertaken with Dolly and other older members of the Kwini Language Group.



Kalumburu, September, 2001.

By Janelle White

Robyn Ellison: What do you remember about Kalumburu, when you were here first? Where were you born Dolly?

Dolly: I was born in Londonderry and my father and mummy brought me to the mission when I was just born – 3 or 4 days old…and we went to the mission, Pago Mission. Then we stayed there, and we went when I was big girl, we went up and down to our country, to see the places. Went to the Faraway Bay - the white people call it ‘Faraway Bay’; it is not ‘Faraway Bay’. It is ‘Yiila’. That’s my father’s name, Yiila. Yiila Midi (?) is my father’s name. …So, we went with the canoe, with the big canoe, we went right up to the King George…where Magdelan’s father and other families was there. They called themselves there all brothers – Magdelan’s father, May’s father and Martin’s father …we all are related one country – we stay in one country. That’s our country, all that area. Come to that ‘nother place…close to that Faraway Bay – I forget the name of that country now. We came back to Pago Mission, my father and mummy. My father’s name, Christian name, is Rociendo Moraldet(?) and my mummy’s name, Christian name, is Julia Mrs. Moraldet, now…she was Mrs. Moraldet. So, my name was Moraldet before, before I got married to my husband, Cheinmora. We was only 4 family: my brother, my twin sister and brother, and I’m the last one. They all died. My brother got accident in Kulumburu - that’s David Moraldet’s father and husband of Magdelan…

Robyn: Who came to Faraway Bay, yeah…

Dolly: Yeah that’s the husband of Magdelan, my brother. That Faraway Bay to King George, all that area is ours. It’s not from Oombulgurri or any place and if they put themselves, that’s for trouble. They see the money and they own that places. And they call that King George, half of the King George, they call it “Barded River”(?), “Beaded River”(?)… the (???) call it “Beaded River”. It’s not the Beaded River – it’s Forigwall(?). We own that place…that water runs to your place…

Robyn: That little creek?

Dolly: Yeah…

Robyn: You do.

Dolly: Yeah…That’s Forigwall. That’s Forigwall River go to that place. We own that place! It’s not other people don’t own it.

Robyn: No….And, we’ve known that, Dolly. But then there’s this big group has been formed and you’re just a little part of it.

Dolly: Yeah…

Robyn: But we know that’s always been your country, to the King George.

Dolly: Yeah…All that area, even that airport and all that places is we own it.

Robyn: That’s right.

Dolly: Come to that way the tourists go, you know? Tourists always go with the seaplane and land it there…

Robyn: Yeah…

Dolly: …still our country.

Robyn: In the Drysdale River.

Dolly: Yeah, that’s Mary Colman’s(?) with us then, see…all that area, we own it.

Robyn: So. Dolly, who speaks up besides you? …Clement? He can speak for that area?

Dolly: Clement, Magdelan, myself …and May. You know, May? May was there. You remember? May?

Robyn: Yeah, that’s Daryl’s mother. May Smith.

Dolly: Yeah, not Vernon(?)…Vernon had nothing to do with those land. I tell you! Just because Martin – (Martin own that place too, you know? Martin used to be (???)) - He died, he was very sick. And, he told that man to look after his wife, to help him, you know, because the wife is belongs to that place – that’s Martin’s wife. And he think that he own everything!

Robyn: Now what is her name, Dolly? What is Martin’s wife’s name?

Dolly: Um. I forget…

Robyn: She’s still here though, isn’t she.

Dolly: She’s in Oombulgurri, somewhere there. We’ll have meeting with them next week.

Robyn: So, Daryl, May’s son, Daryl Smith, he understands this, doesn’t he. He knows that you and Clement and Magdelan and May should speak for that area.

Dolly: Yeah…

Robyn: Daryl knows…

Dolly: Yeah, I’m going to tell them now, when they come here to this meeting. Just because they see the money, they think that they own the place!

Lee Scott-Virtue: Do they know the place? Do they know anything about it?

Dolly: What you mean? Say it again?

Lee: Daryl, and some of the other people, do they know this area of yours?

Dolly: Yes, Daryl is son of May. He belongs to that place, King George. Martin’s son, he got too many kids and son too Martin, you know? He’s from that place. Then there’s Eugene and (???) with Mary Therese – on that place where the tourists go, with the boat from Wyndham to that cliff, they get fish and everything.

Robyn: Is this to the Drysdale?

Dolly: No.

Bruce Ellison: Berkeley.

Dolly: Ay? Berkeley. That’s the places from Mary Therese and Eugene. Half of it’s, you know, faraway already, to Wyndham. Pointing to the Wyndham or Oombulgurri.

Robyn: Yes, I don’t know why they bring you all together and make it confusing. I mean, you know that area, and, Dolly, can you remember much when you were small and you went down there with you father?

Dolly: We went with a canoe. They used to make a canoe. We went there 3 or 4 months spending in that place area, going round, looking for things, stay there. During the rain – because we cannot cross with the canoe, in the big seas – we went back to mission, to Pago. We was there, then the old people died. All of them was died. You see? Nobody never lived there any more. They came. So we went there again – before 3 or 4 people was living there – still they wanna live in their countries, you know. We went there; we came back again. During the war, we didn’t go because it was war time. We stayed there, then the soldiers said you mustn’t stay in Pago. We came here to Kalumburu, then from Kalumburu we went to Doongan – it’s another area there, this King Edward River, in the middle of King Edward River, we stayed there. Then the war finished, we came back here.

Robyn: Just to this spot…And, Pago wasn’t used anymore? After the war?

Dolly: After the war, still we go there for holidays and stay there. Until later, all children and old people had to go first to Kalumburu. Then the some people was staying there still. They liked to stay in Pago, yes, because we are Kwini. I am Kwini tribe, I like to be with my Kwini people.

Robyn: That’s right.

Dolly: So I was there, I came back here, during the war I stay here and I got married in that other area there with my husband. It was already, …the war was not…little bit over, you know? Little bit over? There was all that shifting from airport to Pago, from Pago to Drysdale(?), from Drysdale to the, you know (???) Islands. So I got married and my first baby is Theresa Carradada. She married to Mr. Carradada.

Lee: And, the Carradadas are from your country too?

Dolly: No, they’re from Drysdale. Only we used to be Kwini and Walbi, Walbi people. It’s our relations…

Janelle White: So, the Kwini people were round the King George area.

Dolly: The Kwini people was the people to come to the mission; from there, we came here, all our people came here; go back to Pago again; go back to Kalumburu again. All year round, Kwini and Walbi was the first one – not Pulari! Pulari came after. During the…after the war, Pulari came. They call them Pulari.

Lee: Dolly, were there any special camping spots in around about Faraway Bay that you and your people camped at when you were a little girl, in the canoe?

Dolly: We get the water from that place – where it is, you (ie.Robyn & Bruce) getting it.

Lee: How far up did you go, to that special water place? Did you take the canoe all the way up? Or did you walk up that gorge?

Dolly: To that place where that – it’s a water, that creek comes to that place – it’s another water there too. There was going to put the barge coming in – in that place, t’other place…

Robyn: That’s right, there’s a creek comes down there. A lot of fresh water there, too.

Lee: Did you go up into that country when you were a little girl? Did you walk up to that country, up that creek?

Dolly: Yeah, far as King George – that waterfall. There is a lily pond there, on top of it…in King George. The camping area, they used to make a big thing there: dancing and getting mungari. Mungari means the fruits, yams or anything. Just near that airport, where the airport is. You see that big rock there? In King George airport, you see that?

Bruce: Oh, that’s…No, that’s on the King George at Geebung airport. Where Vernon’s got his house. That rock?

Dolly: No. That airport, yeah. And from there you can look that big stone there. The end of it, the end of that big stone…You don’t look… I’m not talking about your (Robyn and Bruce’s) airport. I’m talking about my airport, that every time we go there we land, OK?

Bruce: Oh, that’s the Striker one.

Dolly: Yeah, Striker one.

Bruce: …which is Geebung…Yeah, that big rock at the back where Python Pool is. And where Vernon’s or Martin’s camp used to be. Is that right? On the other side of the King George?

Dolly: Yeah, and the one building is there.

Bruce: Yes.

Lee: That’s a special area, is it Dolly?

Dolly: Yes.

Lee: What’s the story for that area? Can you tell us the story?

Dolly: The story is that it’s still ours. You see that water there? Blue water? That’s where all the people drink the water.

Lee: And did lots of people meet there at that spot?

Dolly : Pardon?

Lee: Did you have… Was it like a holiday camp? Big meeting…?

Dolly: Holiday camp and big meeting and big dancing and everything was there!…Just near that airport, I’m telling you. Where that road run to the airport. In that place, swampy place. They used to get Lola, they call it Lola, you know?…It’s a potato. They used to get potato.

Lee: Do you know if there’s a big boab tree at the King George? A special boab tree, was there a special boab tree?

Dolly: I didn’t see it.

Lee: Is there a special boab tree in your country? In that area, that was very special? A meeting place?

Dolly: No.There were boab trees further down.

Lee: Further down the King George.

Dolly: Mmm. …Well, maybe all the things are different now because the white people cleared the land, see?

Lee: So it’s changed a lot.

Dolly: Yeah, changed a lot. …Last time I looked for ‘nother thing and I couldn’t find it.

Lee: When was the last time you were in that country? When you were little? You walked all that country and …

Dolly: I was big too.

Lee: Big too.

Dolly: I went with my husband with the… I got married then we got the dinghy to look around, see? To get the grubs for Broome. That’s our grub, that we caught them. The eggs and father sent them to Broome. …Myself, my husband one Mary, aunty Mary. You know Mary? Mary Patillo(?) … Famous lady, first born in Pago Mission.

Janelle: With those special areas around the King George River, you said like ceremonies and songs – do you have any stories for that country that you’d like to tell? I mean also in your language, in Kwini, in your language.

Dolly: That waterfall where the people from the boat, you know, they come and get the water? In King George Falls? You see that, it’s now I think it’s three. The last I saw it’s three: one big one waterfall, another one and ‘nother one – three. They reckon that big waterfall, ‘nother waterfall should be there, see? But it’s not there. That Wunggurr, understand Wunggurr? …Wunggurr is a snake. He travelled to that place and in that place they found oil in that desert over there – what is that place? Nukembar (?) And the people didn’t want to destroy that thing, the Aborigine people. Because they reckon that’s the part from the Wunggurr. And they didn’t want to destroy that. That thing travelled from there, I saw them. Well, they showed me – I went with Dr. Crawford and aunty Mary again. And the old men tell me that “you see this white thing? That’s the part from that Wunggurr. And you see the eggs?” And the eggs was the same like a snake egg. The funny egg – one here, ‘nother one there, ‘nother one there. And I wanted to get that egg, you know? And that old man tell me not to touch it – “Leave it, leave it!” – and I left it again, same place. That was Dangal, old man tell me that, Dangal…my brother. I wanted to bring it for museum. He said “Oh no, no. Don’t touch it!” I didn’t touch it then. Leave back again.

Janelle: So, that was Dangal, your brother?

Dolly: Yeah, old man. Cousin-brother, from Walbi. You know, from this place Walbi they used to call that place to our place.

Janelle: So, that was a special place?

Dolly: Yeah, they got the special place between Drysdale and Sand Crossing. They old time meet oneanother there and dance there…men dance or woman dance.

Lee: Was this before the war or after the war?

Dolly: Before the war, before the war started. The old people, that is their culture – they do it. Anybody cannot stop them for that. They beliefs and our beliefs was Woloror(?) and Namali. Namali is the son and Woloror is the father, who made the sea – everything he made it! That’s our beliefs on Kwini side, you see? That is while Pulari side they believe that Wanjina. You know Wanjina? We don’t believe all those things; we believe our own beliefs.

Dolly continued talking for another half hour about the marine foods she enjoyed hunting and eating along the coast - dugong and turtle. Then, she spoke for a little on her experience of WWII, when bombs were dropped on the area around the mission and some people were killed or injured.


Comment on transcript by Janelle White (M.A. Applied Anthropology):




Wanggurr is the rainbow serpent who lives in water holes.

Wanjina are ancestral beings painted on caves.