Kongk Farley Garlett – Kulbardi

Eva Fernández
Uncle Farley Garlett – Kulbardi, 2020
Digital print on Ilford Galerie Pearl paper
80 x 120cm
City of Perth Cultural Collections


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.

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