Kongk Ben Taylor Cuimara
Uncle Ben Taylor Cuimara, 2020
Digital print on Ilford Galerie Pearl paper
80 x 120cm
City of Perth Cultural Collections
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.