Billy Thomas, We Just Help Ourself Out
On Mosquito Creek old Jack Tatham, what bloke, he used to cart our tucker in an old Chev 6 truck, old one. We give him- people go with a bit of gold and go and get it from Nullagine, bring’m and he put it in a road, he didn’t have to go anywhere. Anyhow, top of Mosquito. Big mob of young fella we used to walk down there and carry all that back to the camp, walking. We used to do that. Another time old Don McLeod went and- Snowy and Don and they broke down or Don got sick at Mt. Edgar. Oh we were down Nullagine River now, round Mosq- Cooke’s Creek. They tell us, Old Don bin broke down, and got sick really, and they went back to hospital. Snowy was sick too, from the hospital. And, ah, oh about twenty young fellas, we start walk, about twenty or thirty mile I think it was, we walk to the place, load of tucker and covered by calic and a few old fellas was sitting there. We carry about ten bag of flour and two bag of sugar, and tea, and God knows what. We walk back with those to the place where the big mob people was. We walk all day, carry all them tucker, right back to the place. We got there about sundown. Everybody was starving. Carry them, no motor car, no horse, no nothing [laughs]. Terrible, eh? Well people never try and do that this time, they have to have a motorcar to go and pick up. That was hard time. And Don bin walking with the people too, looking round. We find a wolfram up here, next to Cookes Creek, he was walking too, no shoes, battling, and he find that place alright. Old Maurice McKenna bin come and tell us, small place where he bin working on that place. Blue Bar they call it now. We was getting, what’s-a-name, wolfram, from that place. Oh, a lot of fellas work, everybody work, kids and all bin working. That’s how we bin making a living, you know. But we walk, no motorcar that time, carry everything. We used to carry water in the yoke, you know, make a two might be eight gallon, we used to carry’m might three or four miles to the working place. Walk. A hell of a lot of job that time. Never worry about, we just help ourself out.
Audio: Billy Thomas (Pitpit), tape 1, recorded by Anne Scrimgeour, Warralong, 6 October 1993, soundfile Pitpit 2A, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Library.
Photo: Billy Thomas (Pitpit), Board of Anthropological Research, South Australian Museum, AA346/4/22/1 Marble Bar R352.