Kongk Walter Eatts


Ngany woomboodin-kadak bibool-ak maar-koorl- abiny. Bibool baalap ngardi karnadjil ali mining wiring moroyit –kadak, ngalak kalyakoorl maar-koorl ngalang warn-midi. Worayin maar-koorl-kadak, baalap ngardi moordooyin-kadak. Ngalang kaat yira barang wer ngalak woomboodin-kadak djakoorl.

Ngany koolang-kwart Derby, 1937. Ngaangk baal Aboriginal wer Stolen Generation. Maambart baal koolang-kwart Andalap (Busselton) wer kalyakoorl kaadatj Maambardang moort baalap wadjila. Manda moorn wer djardak, ngany nyordo-kadak yoowart djardak, yoowart moorn, yoowart koordakan.

Ngaangk baal yoordjang moort-ool, 3 years-ngat wer nyin Beagle Bay Mission. Baal Jaru moort, People of Palm Springs near Halls Creek. Ngaangk baal yoowart waangkan kwedjang-ool, yalka ngolanga Doolan Leisha wer ngany kardo-kadak, Doolan Leisha yangaanan wer koongko ngany-ak wardiny nganyang Aboriginal koora-koora bardip wer wardiny boola boola moort-kadak.


Kwedjang koram koolang ngany nyin Kimberley, Charters Towers, Queensland wer yoodok bardook nganyang Maambart moort Kellerberrin-ngat. Ngany birdiya maar-koorl warn Kellerberrin-ngat wer nganyang yoodok 3 years maar-koorliny, baalap Channel Nine-kadak wer 6KY-kadak.

Ngany boola boola warn-kadak baalap ngort-kadak yambo djiraly-ak Australia. (Northern Australia) Ngany koodjir maar-koorl poetry, bibool, yeyinang-kadak warn, waangkan bardip, warangka wer yedi maar- koorliny.

Ngany NAIDOC Maaman Birdiya-ngat 2001 wer 2016. (NAIDOC Male Elder of the Year 2001 and 2016.) Ngany karnadjil djoorap ali 1987-ool, ngalang warn, Aboriginal Urban Services-ngat, Doolann Leisha wer ngany ngin wer koongko-kadak boola yeyinang noba wer yoka ali wara-midi-k baalap barang (Justice System) wer ngalak korangaanan baalabang wining.


I am proud of becoming an author. Books are important because no matter what hurdles we have gone through we can still write about these things. Words in print are powerful. We can hold our head up and walk proud.

I was born in Derby in 1937. Mum was Aboriginal and Stolen Generation. Dad was born in Busselton and we thought Dad’s family was white. Being somewhere between black and white, I felt not white, not black, not wanted.

Mum was taken from family when she was three and raised at Beagle Bay Mission. She was from the Jaru People of Palm Springs near Halls Creek. Mum would not talk about her past so it was not until Doolann Leisha and I married, that Doolann Leisha encouraged and supported me in researching my Aboriginal history and in finding many of my family members.

As a child, we lived in the Kimberley, in Derby, then Charters Towers in Queensland, and finally near Dad’s relatives in Kellerberrin. I qualified as a painter in Kellerberrin, and my last three years of painting were for Channel Nine and 6KY. I have worked as a stockman, a drover and horse breaker across the north of Australia. I am also a poet, author, youth worker, storyteller, singer and songwriter.

I was the NAIDOC male Elder of the Year in 2001 and 2016. I am especially pleased that since 1987, through our organisation Aboriginal Urban Services, Doolann Leisha and I have helped many young people caught up in the Justice system to turn their lives around.


Bwoka baal karnadjil koora-koora bardip kwedjanat wadjila-koorl. Ngany djoorap yang bandang-kadak ali bwoka ngalang moolyak-midi kaalangabiny – djookern baalabany boodja-k wer arn ngoornt-midi ka bwoka woondanginy.

Nganyang ngaangk boodja baal Boorloo, Wadjak boodja wer ngany woomboodin-kadak dalanginy nganyang ngaangk djena-djooroot. Baalang koomba kabarli baal Doolbak (Tulbak) wer ali naadjil nganyang ngin kalyakoorl nidja nyin. Balardong baal nganyang maambart boodja-k.

Ngany Stolen Generation koolang wer ngany yoordjang New Norcia-ngat. Ngalak boola warn mission-ngat, yoowardjil kaadadjiny-miya-p koorl. Mereny wedjaniny (olives and grapes), bwoka kakaloorniny aliny ngalak kalyakoorl warn-kadak. Ngolanga 16 years ngalak aliny djarnyak wandja wer ngany yoowart miya-kadak yalka keny yoka baal ngany-ak barang Bennett House-ngat. Ngolanga ngalak wandja mission, baalap yang ngalany-ak kwoba bwoka, djena-bwoka wer kooda. Aliny keny moorditj-midi!

Ngany yoowardjil wart nganyang ngaangk kwedjanat ngany kardo-kadak wer nidja moort-kadak Medina-k, wer ngalak miya-kadak. Ngaangk baal weyarn ali moondoong baalany-ool ngakayin – koolangka, kardo wandja, miya wer koodjir baal miyal djinang- broo.Winyarn! Ngolanga baal wart ngalany, baal waangkan, “God was good to me”. Ngolanga wandjaniny mission, bandang nganyang ngooni baalap nidja koodjir ali yoowart miya-p nyin.

Ngany maar-koorl wer malidji maar-koorl. Ngany boola boola kaadadjiny-miya-p-koorl, kaadadjiny ngalang nakolak, ngalang ngin wer marlak-ngat nyininy.

Ngany moorditj moort-kadak, Baalap bandang warniny wer ngany woomboodin-kadak baalabany- ak, baalabang warn, baalabang ngin. Baalap nganyang koondarm yalka yeyi baal karnadjil-abiny nganyang koolangka koondarm-kadak.


The booka shows our real history in the days before the pioneers. I like to show people that the booka was our main use of being warm – put them on the ground and cover them over the bed as well as wearing it.

My mother’s country is Perth, Wadjuk country and I’m proud to be following in my mother’s footsteps. Her great-grandmother is Tulbak. That’s why I lived most of my life here. Ballardong country is my father’s home.

I was a stolen generation child and I was taken to New Norcia. We were the workers at the mission, never got any education. Olive picking, grape picking, laundry was a full-time job. At the age of 16 when we had to leave there, I was like a street kid for a while until one of the girls took me to Bennett House. One good thing they gave us when we left the mission was nice clothes and shoes and handbag.

I never found my mum until I was married with my family here in Medina, when we had a home. She was saddened that everything was taken from her – children, husband left, home, but she was also blind. When she found us, she said, “God was good to me”. All my brothers was here too when they left the mission and had nowhere to go.

I’m a writer and an artist. I’ve been to just about all the schools teaching our culture and way of life and survival in the bush. I’ve got a great family too. They are all working and I am proud of them because with the work they do and the life they live was my dreams but it’s all coming true with my children.


Ngany koolang-kwart Jambinoo-ngat (Geraldton), 1948. Ngaangk baal Ngarluma Yindjibarndi, Bilybar- ool (Pilbara) wer Maambart baal Wadjak Nyoongar.


Ali koolambidi ngany warn boola warn-midi, karkalyaraniny wheat bins, yekaniny koomba kaditj- kaditj boonarook-kadak, (trucking supplies), warowiny railway lines-ngat Mt Newman wer Tom Price wer yekaniny koomba boodja-kadak kaditj-kaditj-ak (loader driver) Three Springs-ngat.

Ngany dandjoo-djinang kordo-ngat, Cheryl, Three Springs-ngat wer ngalak Jambinoo (Geraldton) koorl. Aliny ngalak moolyak WA-ngat warow miya boya- kadak Aboriginal Loans Commission-ool.

Ngany moolyak warn, 1978, National Park Ranger wer djoorap djoorap nganyang Ngaangk boodja-k – Millstream Chichester National Park – moolyak National Park baalap bandang dandjoo-warn Aboriginal-kadak.

Kwobadjil kaadatj-boya-bibool-kadak (scholarship), moolyak yang Gough Whitlam-ool, Department of Conversation and Land Management (CALM) yang ngany-ak koongko Canberra-koorl kaadatj Cultural Heritage Management 3 years-ngat.

Ngolanga korl-koorliny wer warniny CALM-ngat Narrogin-ngat, ngany moordidjil baranginy boola boola boya grant-ak koomba-warn-ak (projects) winirak warda-kaalak-ngat boodja-k karkalyaraniny.

Ngany koodjir waangkan Birdiya-kadak, Angus Wallam Narrogin-ngat wer moolyak maar-koorl Yedi-wiring (Songlines). Aliny koondaaminy bidi-k ali moort barn wer nyin, ali ngalang wirn nyedingal-ak baalap warba moordidjil warn-midi. Yeyi ngany maar-koorl-kadak boola-boola Yedi-wiring (Songlines) arn WA wer bandang baalap koordak baalabany-ak warn.

Ngany Cultural Ambassador wer Birdiya-bwora Nyin(Elder-in Residence) Edith Cowan University-ngat wer 2003 ngany-ak yang-kadak honorary doctorate bibool Murdoch University- ool. 2017, ngany NAIDOC Maaman Birdiya Year-ngat. (NAIDOC Male Elder of the Year)


I was born in Geraldton in 1948. Mum is Ngarluma Yindjibarndi from the Pilbara and Dad is Whadjuk Nyoongar.

I worked in many jobs when I was young, including cleaning wheat bins, trucking supplies for building the railway lines to Mt Newman and Tom Price, and as a loader driver in Three Springs. I met my wife Cheryl in Three Springs and we moved to Geraldton. There, we were the first in WA to build a house using a loan from the Aboriginal Loans Commission.

In 1978, I started working as a National Park ranger, and loved eventually working in Mum’s country – the Millstream Chichester National Park – the first National Park fully staffed by Aboriginal people.

Through a scholarship established by Gough Whitlam, the Department of Conservation and Land Management sponsored me to go to Canberra to study Cultural Heritage Management for three years.

Back working for CALM in Narrogin, I brought in half a million dollars of grants for projects such as cleaning up reserves. I also talked to Elders, including Angus Wallam in Wagin, and started to map Songlines. These are dreaming trails along which people moved and lived and where our spirit ancestors performed great deeds. Now I have mapped hundreds of primary Songlines all over the state and everyone wants to use them.

I was the Cultural Ambassador and Elder-in- Residence for Edith Cowan University, and in 2003, I received an honorary doctorate from Murdoch University. In 2017, I became NAIDOC Male Elder of the Year.


Ngany koolang-kwart Balardong boodja-k wer boorda ngany kaadatj nganyang moort baalap koodjir Wadjak. Ngany koolang-kwart marlak-ngat ali Nyoongar yoka yoowardja bwora menditj- miya-p koorl. Ngany nyin 9 years ngooni-kadak wer djookan-kadak wer nganyang Maambart-kadak, John wer nganyang Ngaangk-kadak, Gladys Burton, nee Bandry.

Ngany kaadadjiny-miya-p-koorl, York State School, yalka aliny yoowart high schools, ngolanga year 7 wer ngany wort-koorl.


Ngany warn barna-boodja-koop-ngat:- miya-warn woma windang yoka-kadak; bwora kookendjeri- miya-p; wer ngany yekan boodja-kaditj-kaditj –ak yaka 12 years-kadak. Nidja warn koongko-k nganyang moort-ak wer dandjoo-ngin.

Ngany djoorap-djoorap boola waabiny borl-boorn- waap (hockey), badjedborl, nedborl wer djenaborl.

Nganyang windang Moyran baal waangkan boola bardip; baal kalyakoorl waangkan Nyoongar bardip aliny-ak ngalak mining koorl ka warba yoowart koorl. Ngany kalyakoorl kakarook-koorl Koolbaroo-ngat (Coolbaroo) djookan-kadak Boorloo Town Hall-ngat wer boodja-p-ngat. Boola yoka woondang baalabang kwobidak bwoka kakarook-ngat.

Ngolanga nganyang Maambart wer Ngaangk Boorloo-koorl, ngany koodjir koorl wer warn-kadak Mexi-ngat Inglewood-ngat, kardjal doorak-midi kakaloorniny wer moorditj yidjowiny.

Kwedjang ngany kakarook-koorl djookan-kadak, ngany djinang nganyang mila-k kardo. Ngalak kardo- kadak wer 3 koolangka-kadak, 3 (‘grannies’)-kadak wer 5 koomba-mamal (‘grannies’)-kadak.

Nganyang moolyak warangan baal yang nganyang moort-ak kwobadjil kaadadjiny-miya-p-kadak.

Nganyang community dandjoo-warn 20 years-ngat Anawim Aboriginal Women’s Refuge. Ngany moolyak wardakadak Yorgum-ngat wer Nyoongar Embleton Catholic Church wer honorary Birdiya co-researcher Telethon Koolangka-ngat.

Ngolanga nidja yeyi ngany 80 years-abiny!!


I was born in 1941 on Ballardong country and I found out later my family also belongs to Whadjuk. I was born in the bush when Nyoongar women were not allowed in hospitals. I grew up with my nine siblings, and parents John and Gladys Blurton nee Bandry.

I went to York State School but there were no high schools so I left after Year 7. To help support my family, I worked on the farm - doing housework with some of the ladies - in the shearing shed – and I drove the tractor as a 12-year-old. I loved playing sports, including hockey, basketball, netball, and even football.

My old Pop told me lots of stories; he used to talk about the Nyoongar stories about where we were allowed to go or sacred sites that we weren’t allowed to go to. I used to go dancing at the Coolbaroo dances with my sisters - at the Perth Town Hall and in country towns. All the girls would turn up in their pretty clothes.

When my parents moved down to Perth, I came down too and got a job washing and packing cool drink bottles for Mexi in Inglewood. When I was out nightclubbing with my sisters, I ran into my husband. We got married, and had three children, three grandchildren and five great-grandsons. My aim is to achieve something for them so they can have better schooling than I had. My community work includes 20 years at Anawim Aboriginal Women’s Refuge, I’m a foundation member of Yorgum, and of the Nyoongar Embleton Catholic Church, and honorary Elder co-researcher for Telethon Kids.

I will be turning 80 next year.


Nganyang moolyak warangan baal Aboriginal moort- ak bandang kwobadjil.

Kwedjanat, ngin Aboriginal moort-ak wara-djil wer Native Welfare baalap kalyakoorl bandang-kadak waangkan moort-ak. Yeyi ngalang Birdiya wer woma Aboriginal maaman wer yoka moordidjilabiny wer ngalak warn Aboriginal-ngat baarnakwarang-ngat wer nakolak-ngat moort-ak mila-k nyininy.

Ngany koolang-kwart Narrogin-ngat, Koomba Kongal-ngat (Great Southern), 1944. Nganyang kwoba-kwerl baal Mookedi. (Moogeddy) Ali ngany 16, ngany barang kwobadjil kaadatj-boya-bibool (scholarship) kaadatj bibool-ngat wer boya-ngat boyiroyit James Street Technical College, Boorloo-k- ngat, wer koodjir koodjal year-ak kaadadjiny boyiroyit maar-koorl-kadak.


Ngolanga Boorloo-k kaadadjiny, ngany korl-koorl Narrogin-ngat wer warn Native Welfare Department-ngat ali baalap yoowarda koordaak Aboriginal maaman ka yoka baalabany-kadak warn. Koordoodjool-kadak, ngany yoowarda djinang Native Welfare bibool-ak wer djinang ali baalap nganyang moort-ak maar-koorl-kadak.

Moort-ak ngin, ngany kaaratj nganyang ngooni-k wer djookan-ak yalka Native Welfare baalabany yoordjang. Ngany mining yaka waangkan ali baalap koorl wer ngany waangkan Sister Kate’s wer yoowarda baalabany mission yidjow.

Ngany korl-koorl warn-kadak Boorloo-ngat, Native Welfare Department-kadak, wer karo ngany kaadatj menditj-yokabiny ali karnadjil yoowarda koordaak warn ali Kalkoorli (Kalgoorlie) yoowarda nganyang boodja.

Ngany kardo-kadak wer 4 mamal-kadak. Ngalak nginow Jambinoo (Geraldton) 20 ka 30 years, wer mal-mal aliny ngany dombart ngaangk-kadak.

Ngany warn communities-kadak Public Health Department-kadak. Kwedjanat baalap yoowarda kaaradjiny Aboriginal community-ngat wer ngany kwobaanidjow Aboriginal-Birdiya wer community menditj-wowakin-ngin wer kaat-wowakin-ngin moort- ak, moolyak Jambinoo-k, boorda Broome-ngat.


My main passion is basic human rights for Aboriginal people. When I was younger, racism and discrimination were in full force and the Native Welfare Department called all the shots. Now, Elders and other Aboriginal people are very strong and we work for Aboriginal lore and culture for the generations to come.

I was born in Narrogin in the Great Southern in 1944. My nickname was Moogeddy. When I was 16 I received a scholarship to study office management at the James Street Technical College in Perth, and in my second year studied art as well. Afterwards I went back to Narrogin and worked for the Native Welfare Department as at the time no-one wanted to employ Aboriginal people. Frustratingly though, I was not allowed to look in the Native Welfare files and see what was written about my own family.

Due to family problems, I cared for my siblings, but then Native Welfare had them committed. I was only allowed to choose where they went and picked Sister Kate’s rather than have them sent to a mission.

I transferred back to Perth with the Native Welfare Department, then trained as a nurse, which I didn’t really want to do, especially out of my country in Kalgoorlie. I got married and had four boys. We lived in Geraldton for twenty or thirty years and some of that time I was a single parent. I worked in communities with the Public Health Department. At the time, Public Health wasn’t catering for the Aboriginal community so I was involved in setting up Aboriginal-community-controlled medical and mental-health services, first in Geraldton, then in Broome.


1940, Nganyang kabarli wer 8 kongk wer maam- yoka baalap yoordjang woondaberi-k Carnarvon-ool, Boorloo-koorl wer yidjow Moore River Settlement. Ngaangk baal boodjari ngany-kadak wer ngalak yoowart woondaberi-k koorl. Ngolanga ngany koolang-kwart ngaangk dalang baalang moort-koorl Moore River Settlement. Ngany nyin aliny 9 years- kadak wer Settlement-abiny Mogumber Methodist Mission. Bandang Catholic yoka baalap (ngany wer 3 nganyang maam-yoka) yoordjang Wandering Mission-koorl.

Ngolanga ngany yoowart korl-koorl Wandering Mission. Ngaangk baal bakadjoo-kadak Native Welfare wer Maambart baalang warn baalap yoordjang Mogumber Mission-ngat ali baal yoowart ngany korl- koorl. Nganyang moort nyin Moora Reserve-ngat wer ali ngany kaadatj kakarook.

Ngany moolyak djinang Albert Marawar Boorloo Markets-ngat(West Perth Markets). Ngany warn daatj- miya-p-ngat wer Albert warn wama mal-mal market- ngat.

Ngalak kalyakoorl Friday kedalak-ngat kakarook- koorl (hop-jiving) bardook menditj-miya-p. Ngalak kalyakoorl Saturday kabarla-k Embassy Ballroom-koorl wer kalyakoorl Sunday kedalak-ngat ngalak malidji- koorl, nyit boya-k. (cheap)

Albert wer ngany kardo-kadak 1962 Registry Office- ngat, windang government buildings Boorloo-k. Moolyak ngalak nyin Hay Street-ngat yirak 3 bangka (storeys) ngalang mamal-kadak. Ngalak kalyakoorl ngardak kanow-midi koorl djookern boya-k mining ngalak mereny-ak dookern.


Ngany warn Education Department-ngat 28 years- ngat, moolyak didja-ngin-ngat maawit koolangka- kadak. Ngolanga ngany warn karnadjil koomba kaadadjiny-miya-p-ngat (Head Office), kooramber koorliny wer warniny boola didja-kadak wer birdiya- kadak, baalabany-kadak kaadatj wer koongko yeyinang Aboriginal koolangka.


In 1940, my grandmother, and eight of my uncles and aunties were put on a boat from Carnarvon and brought down to Perth and put into Moore River Settlement. Mum was expecting me so she wasn’t sent on the boat. When I was born she followed her family down to Moore River Settlement. I was there until I was nine, when the Settlement became Mogumber Methodist Mission. All the Catholic girls, including me and three of my aunties who were about my age, were sent to Wandering Mission.

After a few years I wouldn’t go back to Wandering Mission after Christmas. Mum had to fight the Native Welfare and Dad lost his job at Mogumber Mission for not sending me back. My family lived on the Moora Reserve and that’s where I learned to dance.

I met Albert at the West Perth Markets. I worked in the butchers and he worked in another part of the markets. We used to go to the hop – jiving – not far from the hospital every Friday night. We went to the Embassy Ballroom on a Saturday afternoon. Then Sunday night cheap movie night.

Albert and I were married in 1962 in the Registry Office in the old government buildings in Perth. At first, we lived in Hay Street, three stories up with our son. You had to walk right downstairs to put a penny in the gas in the kitchen.

I worked for the Education Department for 28 years, first as a teacher’s aide in the kindy, then as liaison in head office, travelling everywhere to help teachers understand young Aboriginal children.


Ngany koolang-kwart boyal-boodja-k (Bruce Rock), 1950. Ngany nyin moyran-kadak wer kabarli-kadak, ali nganyang ngaangk baal bokadja warniny wadjila moort-ak.

Bina-k, moolyak kordor baal koolbardi wer mining ali djerap baal kordor warniny, ngany marabarn kaalak- ool. Nidja ngany kalyakoorl warn wer nganyang moyran baal kwerl ngany-ak yang, Koolbardi. Koodjir nganyang mamal baalang kwerl Koolbardi.

Boola nganyang kaadadjiny-miya-p, baal Merredin Primary School-ngat wer ngany kwobadjil warn-kadak wer barang boya-bibool (bursary) koorl kaadadjiny- miya-p Boorloo-ngat. Nganyang moyran kaadatj mining noonook waangkan 1-100 wer maar-koorl noonan kwerl, ali djinyaak kaadadjiny.

Kwedjang nyit boya wer nyit mereny wer ngany yaka kaadatj ali ngany doora warn mara-kadak ka born djowa kookendjer-ool ka barna-boodja-koop- ak warn. Ngany koodjir kaaditj ali warn baal ngardi karnadjil.


Ngany kooramber warn, boola warn-midi boya-k nganyang moort-ak koongko. Ngany warn Main Roads-kadak Murchison-ngat, Kimberley wer Carnarvon.

Ngany yoowart djinang maambakoort-ngat kwadjat 19 ka 20, yalka ngany koodjir warn woondaberi-k yala baranginy.

Boorda ngany djoorap-djil kwerl-kadak ali ATSIC birdiya-ngat 3 years wer karo national ATSIC birdiya- ngat (commissioner) 3 years.


I was born in Bruce Rock in the eastern wheatbelt in 1950. When I was young I lived with my grandparents, as my mother was away working as a domestic for white families. The first noise in the morning was the kulbardi, or magpie, and when that bird used to make a noise, I would crawl out of the tent. Because of that connection, my grandfather named me Kulbardi. I have given that name to my son as well.

I did most of my schooling at Merredin Primary School and won a bursary to come down to Perth to go to high school. But, my grandfather thought that if you could count to 100 and sign your name, you had enough education. Money and food were tight back then, and I only expected to work as a labourer, shearer or on a farm so I thought that work was more important too.

I have worked all over the place, doing everything to make money to support my family. With Main Roads I worked in the Murchison, then the Kimberley and then Carnarvon. Even though I didn’t see the sea until I was 19 or 20, I worked on a prawning boat as well. Later, I was really happy to be elected by my peers as ATSIC chairperson for three years, then national ATSIC commissioner for three years.


Ngany koolang-kwart Badjaling Mission-ngat wer kwedjang nyin Tammin-ngat. Ngany nginow 50 years djiraly-ngat mal-mal Boorloo-ngat (Perth northern suburbs).


Ngany dandjoo-warn community-kadak boola boola years-ak, koordoo kwobadjil kalyakoorl yeyinang- kadak, maaman wer yoka wer moort-kadak.

Ngany kaadatj Nyoongar nakolak koolangka-ngat kaadadjiny-miya-p-ngat, kaadatj Nyoongar waangkan wer yang Welcome to Country.

Ngany barang-kadak boola kwobidak bibool, nganyang-ak warn-kadak, koordoo kwoba, NAIDOC 2001 YOKA, Female of the Year.

Nganyang bibool baalap ngany-ak woomboodin- kadak. Bibool baalap karnadjil ali baalap koora-koora waangkan-kadak. Nganyang Kabarli baal koordakan ngany maar-koorl nganyang autobiography,aliny-ak baalang koora-koora waangkan wer nganyany.

Ngany woomboodin-kadak wiring-kadak nganyang windang Nyoongar -ngat bardook kaalak-ngat koora- koora kedala-k nyininy.


I was born at Badjaling Mission and grew up in Tammin. I have lived for fifty years in the northern suburbs of Perth.

I have been involved in community work for many years, especially working with youth and families. I have also run cultural programmes in schools, taught Nyungah language classes and performed Welcome to Country. I have won many awards, including NAIDOC 2001 Female of the Year.

I am proud of my books. Books are very important because it is our history. My Grandma caused me to write my autobiography, and it is her history and mine. I am proud to have links to my dear old people around the campfires from those days long ago.


Ngany koolang-kwart 1938 Walebing Reserve-ngat, manda Moora wer New Norcia, aliny boola ngalang Nyoongar koora-koora koolang-kwart.

Ngany kaadatj ali ngalak koomba marlak kaalak-kadak Bayswater-ngat, 1940’s. Kwedjang baalap djoorabiny kedala-kadak, yalka baalap karadjool-kadak.

Ngalak maliyan barang kep birl-ool. Aliny boola ninim-kadak. Ngalak doora yang ngalang yoodok mandjarli –k wer yongka wer ngalak doora ngardang djildjit-ak wer yaakin-ak. Mining maambart baal yoowart warn, baal doora born karba-midi bwoka- madji-k, yoka-ngat koodjal boya-k (‘bob’), wer warn kalingwin-midi bilara-kadak. Ngalak kalyakoorl djoorabiny bardook kaal-ngat nyininy, malangwin, waangkan Koondarminy-ak.

Mining Native Welfare koorl, baalabany-kadak manatj koorl. Ngalak marlak-ngat wort-koorl. Baalap ngalany- ak wart, wart, wart. Woma kwibidji wer woma barang. Yalka ngolanga ngany barang. Winyarn! Ngany yoordjang New Norcia-koorl wer boorda Moore River Native Settlement-ak.


Boorda, ngany warn Aboriginal Catholic Ministry-ngat. Ngany kwadjat warn Maambart Tiernan-kadak (RIP), 20 years-ak ka karbayin woorabiny, djinang woma menditj-miya-p-ngat wer ngining woma doorak-broo.

Ngany yang Welcome to Country, ngany nyin Deaths in Custody Watch Committee wer 2013-ngat ngany yang Order of Australia nganyang-ak warn-ak Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Rights. Ngany dandjoo-warn Board of HALO, kaadadjiny Aboriginal noba wer yoka baalabany birdiyabiny wer boyiloyit- kadak wer koodjir Wadjemap-koorliny. Baalap nyin, kaadatj ngany-ak ali ngalak kwedjang warn kaalak- ngat. Yoowart kedala-k ngoornt!


I was born in 1938 on the old Walebing Reserve, in between Moora and New Norcia, where a lot of our people were born those days.

I remember we had a big bush camp at Bayswater in the 1940s. We were happy times, it was hard times. We used to get our water from the creeks that run past. There was plenty of leeches.

We would all share our last bit of damper and kangaroo and we’d go hunting for fish and turtle. When Dad had no work, he went and cut props for the clothes lines for ladies for two bob, and make bush brooms. We’d have fun around the fire, singing, telling stories about the Dreamtime.

If the Native Welfare came, police came with them. And we’d all run through the bush. They’d have a job to find us. And you know, some escaped and some got caught. And I finished up getting caught. I was taken to New Norcia and then Moore River Native Settlement.

Later, I was in the Aboriginal Catholic ministry. I worked with the late Father Tiernan for twenty years or more, visiting people in hospital, and helping people get sober.

I do Welcome to Country, I’m on the Deaths in Custody Watch Committee, and in 2013 I got the Order of Australia for my work for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights. I was also on the Board of HALO, which supported Aboriginal boys and girls in developing leadership and skills, including taking kids out to Rottnest Island. They sit down, listen to me like we done around the campfire. No time to retire.


Ngany moorn-kadak woomboodin-kadak. Barang yira noonan kaat wer woomboodin-kadak. Yoowardjil kanya-kadak ali noonan boodja-k koorl wer noonan nakolak.

Ngany koolang-kwart Subiaco, 1944 wer nyin West Perth wer Subiaco. Nganyang maambart Albert, baal Ireland-ool wer baal warn ‘tram maaman’ wedjanginy ‘tram-bibool’. Nganyang ngaangk, Ruby Clinch, baal Yamaji wer koolang-kwart Wiluna-ngat. Baal yoordjang wer yidjow Moore River Native Settlement-ak, baal yaka dambart mika-kadak. Baal yoowardjil dandjoo-karo baalang moort-kadak yalka ngany aliny-koorl 65 wer baal koordoo kwobadjil ngany-ak.


Ngany warn boorn-kadak- midi. Bandang nganyang koolangka mar-warn-kadak warniny.

Ngolanga nganyang warn-kaadadjiny, ngany nginow aliny 7 years wer birdiyabiny. Kwadjat Nyoongar maaman-ak, baal moroyit warn- kadak wer ngany-ak kalyakoorl wara kwerl waangkan.

Yeyi ngany dandjoo-nyin Local wer Regional Co-Design Group, Federal Birdiya-k Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt. Ngany Honorary Birdiya-k Telethon Koolangka-ngat. Ngany dandjoo warn-kadak City of Boorloo-k, Walyalap-ngat wer Armadale-ngat wer Richmond Wellbeing wer Looking Forward.

Baalap waangkan ngany doora nganop warn yalka ali wara worayin ngany-ak!!


Irene wer ngany dandjoo kardo-kadak 1962. Ngalak 5 noba-kadak, 3 yoka-kadak, 19 ‘grannies’-kadak, 11 koomba ‘grannies’-kadak wer yeyi June, 2020, 4 koomba, koomba ‘grannies’-kadak.


I’m a proud blackfella. Hold your head up and be proud. Never be ashamed of where you come from and of your culture.

I was born in Subiaco in 1944 and we lived in West Perth and Subiaco when I was a child. My father, Albert, was from Ireland, and he worked as a tram conductor. My mum, Ruby Clinch, was Yamitji and was born in Wiluna. She was taken away and put into Moore River Native Settlement when she was three months old. She never reunited with her family but I did go back there when I was 65 and it was a good experience.

I’m a wood machinist-cabinet maker by trade. All my children have got a trade. When I did my apprenticeship, I stayed seven years and became a foreman. Being Aboriginal it was hard to get a job and I used to get called a few names. Now I’m on the Local and Regional Co-Design Group for the federal Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt. I’m an honorary Elder for Telethon for Kids. I’m involved with City of Perth, Fremantle and Armadale, as well as Richmond Wellbeing and Looking Forward. People say I should be retired but that’s a swear word for me!

Irene and I have been married since 1962. We have 5 boys, 3 girls, 19 grandchildren, 11 great grannies, and in June 2020 we will have 4 great-great grannies.

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram