Iconophilia was excited to receive this contribution from anthropologist Lindsey Langford, (Central Desert Native Title Services), via a mutual friend Bill Kruse. Lindsey’s account of his encounter with this spectacular drawing makes enticing reading. But then again not many of us are likely to make it all the way down the Gunbarrel Highway…
“Wongawol Station station is located close to the Western edge of Lake Carnegie [north east of Wiluna]. The area is known as Pukutu country by the Martu [-speaking] people who are the traditional owners and custodians for the area. These photos were taken during a Return to Country trip with Martu elders from Wiluna and Jigalong [once a Mission, now a community] who related their stories of working on cattle stations as young men and women.
The photos are from the inside of the old station quarters where several Martu station-hands had spent their nights while mustering at Wongawol from the early to middle part of last century. Pictured here is Mr Frank Wongawol who grew up and worked on Pukutu/Wongawol. By the late 1970’s most of the Aboriginal stockmen in the area had moved into Wiluna and mustering was no longer performed on horseback but with motorbikes and 4WD’s.
Watabu Handley’s art was pointed out by some of the elders in attendance who remembered him as a good stockman with whom they had worked with on Wongawol and other stations residing on their homelands.
[One of the visitors on this occasion was Mr.] Friday Jones [whose] name [was] inscribed there [and dated] 1972. Friday was born on Carnegie station, which is just east of Wongawol, and worked as a stockman all through the area. What makes the autograph special is that Friday was with us on this trip and stood squinting up at his name and picturing his younger self in that act.”