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Got his swag, put me in the saddle-bags and we went walking towards Larrimah way, there was an Aboriginal camp there, the compound for the Aboriginal people that used to work for the army. My father got a job there and he used to work with the Army at Gorrie near to Wubaluwan now. There were still a lot of Army, a lot of Americans camped everywhere at Larrimah then.

After my father finished work there we went to Mataranka then we went to Maranboy. You can still see where the old army camp was and all the old mines. Later we went to Barunga and we were staying then we all ran out of tucker there — we were starving for a feed. I was still a kid then. Then two men found my father and we went to Old Delamere Station and I grew up there. My father put me in the stock camp on the station. That was my first job. I was learning how to ride a horse and how to muster cattle. We used to just go out to the river, on the sand.

We used to get thrown everywhere — but on the sand. After that we been really good — good cattlemen, good horsemen. I never got broken leg or arm nothing. I learned how to fall off good way. I had a lot of rough horses.

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I heard stories from Wave Hill about us stockmen at Delamere. They used to say that us mob at Delamere can handle those rough horses. They used to send those horses, real wild ones, you know? Nobody been ride them for three years or so and they used to send them to Delamere for us. I was good on a horse. I learnt that all from my Dad.

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I got initiation at Willeroo. At holiday time they came and got me and put me in the ceremony, made me a man at Willeroo. I worked through all that country. My foot-track is all through that country. I foot-walked from Delamere to Willeroo and all over. That Vestey mob, they was real tough people. They could be cheeky bastards, they used to fight with us and we used to fight back. From Limbunya we took those horses over to Waterloo Station. When we had to sell those horses at Waterloo we was really crying for that horses.


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We used to like those horses, they were just like a father for us. We used to learn from those horses, they used to buck and jump and we worked hard with them and make them real quiet. They were really like family, real mates for us. I miss those days. Later I went to Wave Hill and we stayed there. Then the manager wanted me back at Manbulloo Station, so I went back there. I was married up by then.

My wife was going to marry one half-caste bloke from Queensland, but she left that old fella.

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Me and her used to love each other, you know, real friends. After that I went to that half-caste bloke and we been arguing and arguing. I pulled that girl off that bloke and me and that bloke had a big rip. I grabbed that girl and came into the bush. After I got married traditional way. We had two kids to start with. My eldest is in Kununurra and another one is at Kalkaringi. We had two while I was working there at Wave Hill. Then when we went to Limbunya we had three blokes born at Limbunya. Four really but one been pass away.

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The other thing that is important is country. I have been in a lot of land claims and native title claims. I teach a lot of other people, about the right way to behave and all that. That head stockman and my father had a good go in the yard. He wanted to beat my father but my father been too good for him. After my father knocked that bloke out he got a rope and jammed that bloke in the bronco panel — made that head stockman squeal. Got his swag, put me in the saddle-bags and we went walking towards Larrimah way. I caught up with Jimmy at Timber Creek earlier this year.

My bush name is Nowandja.

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I was born in the bush. My father was called Left-hand Charlie. His blackfella name was Mulyungarni. They were from Daly Waters and Newcastle Waters. They used to be travelling together before I was born. When I was a little boy I used to hear the elders, you know, just talking. That used to go into my brain when I was growing up. Those stories came into my brain then. When I grow up I just want to do things just like my father does. I can speak and hear Mudbura, Jingili, Alawa. I never been to school.

It was Welfare time then. I was learning in the stock camp. I was travelling with my father. I was only a little boy.


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  • We started from Nutwood Downs Station and we got to Maryfield Station and they were mustering the cattle, branding and all that. My father used to do the bronco horses and roping all the cleanskins and take them to the bronco yard. I was watching and learning all the time. My father was a top man with a horse and with cattle. Everyone was off working. Anyway, I went out and was playing with those two dogs. That head stockman seen me and he came out from the yard and smacked me hard on the bum. I was crying and crying. My father was in the bronco yard and my father saw what that bloke done to me.

    After my father knocked that bloke out he got a rope and jammed that bloke in the bronco panel.

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    He made that head stockman squeal. My father and I pulled out from there. Got his swag, put me in the saddle-bags and we went walking towards Larrimah way, there was an Aboriginal camp there, the compound for the Aboriginal people that used to work for the army. My father got a job there and he used to work with the Army at Gorrie near to Wubaluwan now. There were still a lot of Army, a lot of Americans camped everywhere at Larrimah then. After my father finished work there we went to Mataranka then we went to Maranboy. You can still see where the old army camp was and all the old mines.

    Later we went to Barunga and we were staying then we all ran out of tucker there — we were starving for a feed. I was still a kid then. Then two men found my father and we went to Old Delamere Station and I grew up there.


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    My father put me in the stock camp on the station. That was my first job. I was learning how to ride a horse and how to muster cattle. We used to just go out to the river, on the sand. We used to get thrown everywhere — but on the sand. After that we been really good — good cattlemen, good horsemen. I never got broken leg or arm nothing. I learned how to fall off good way. I had a lot of rough horses. I heard stories from Wave Hill about us stockmen at Delamere.

    They used to say that us mob at Delamere can handle those rough horses. They used to send those horses, real wild ones, you know?