"My name is Mervyn Numbagardie. I’m from Rama, Yinajarra and Pujurrjarti. These are our jilas [waterholes]. I was born in Wirrtiny. I grew up in the Walmajarri country and Pikarrang [Johanna Springs] in the Mangala country next to Wirriwirlki my father’s country. Long time before Kartiya [non-Aboriginal] come to take us, we walk with no clothes. They gave me mayi [food], then put clothes on us. We are happy but we miss our country. Long time we never see country. But when I got older, I went back to see country. Smell bush life. [...] Father McKelson came and picked me up for school. Father taught me Kartiya language and Kartiya mayi. Then I don’t like but now I like. I only attended school for one year and after that I worked here at Kurlupariny Station and then worked here at the mission as a brick layer making bricks."
Mervyn Numbagardie grew up around his father’s country in the desert, before coming to Bidyadanga. His father walked the family through Anna Plains Station where Mervyn was given a job straight away riding horses and fixing the tanks, windmills and trough’s. He also taught the young men how to break horses and ride them. Mervyn lives with his wife and one daughter at Bidyadanga. His other daughter lives at Fitzroy Crossing.
Courtesy of Jacky Cheng at KTI & Bidyadanga Community Art Centre