Cranky Iti, Leaving Warrawagine

Righto, races-karti we went, Malyurta ngalayi. Yanalayi races-ja we saw them, Moolyella-nga. phew, all strike people, all from station-jarrangu, station-jarrangu. All there wanikinyi. Nyungu nganarna ngalaya coming. We see’m nyampali pala, Dooley yaku.

‘Munu warlirniyinganinyi, yarti turlpulupiyiyirni. Ngalaya nyungu kulpulupalayi, pipurru yankulupulayi’.

Walypilingipa palanga, Bill Shepherd and Jim Lewis wurrarnarnapulaku, ‘After races I’m going’.


Come-back-jarrinyalayi, right up kulpanyiyirni races-ja. Races-ja kulpanyiyirni kajarniyirni. Palanga japirrmarnangalayinya yarlipala japirrmarnangalayinya, ‘wunyjurrujarrulu nyumpulurti?’

‘We’re going. We only yawarta nyungu kanyalayi yakujarninyi racehorses. When I hit this station I’m going back Moolyella,’ wurrarnalayili.

He’s a good bloke again, Bill Shepherd and Jim Lewis, manager. ‘What about you-two fellas wait, Saturday. Wait, get your rations, after ration you two fellas go’.

Kalkunaku ration-jirri, pakingi sugar self, little one, about that much-rrangu, little one, sugar and tea leaf, and tobacco, half. Packet we cut’m half, well, half each. Well we had a one full one, that’s half each. We went. We went right up. Yanalayi right up. He’s a cheeky fella, Yirrirrinya bloke, pajikutu, palanga marra travelling all night, he’s a station bloke, purrjapinakata with a stockwhip. Palanga all night we went, right up camp other side. Ngurrangajarrinyalayi ngurnarrikartingi. Ah, right up Moolyella, kajarnalayijanaku, big mob. Jinta turlpanyikinyiyi again station-jarrangu, Yarrie-japa Makanujapa all meet up there. Palanga kajarnirnangu. Jipi.


Righto, we went to Marble Bar to the races, Malyurta [Kujupurra’s brother, whom he refers to as Malyurta because he is one of his mother’s middle children] and I. We saw them at the Moolyella races, and saw, phew! all the strikers there from all the different stations around about. They were all there. We went to see them, and saw the boss, Dooley, my yaku [classificatory brother-in-law].

‘They can’t hold us, after this we’re walking off’, we said. ‘Me and my brother are walking off as soon as we get back’.

At the races I told Bill Shepherd and Jim Lewis, ‘After the races, I’m going’.


We went back again after the races for a while. One morning the boss asked us, ‘Well, what are you two going to do?’

‘We’re going. We’ve only come back to bring the race-horses back, but now we’re going back to Moolyella’.

But he was a good bloke, Bill Shepherd, and so was Jim Lewis, the manager. ‘Why don’t you two fellas wait until Saturday, and get your rations before you go?’

We did, and got rations; a little packet of sugar, about that much, and tea and tobacco. We had a packet and we cut it in half and took half each. We had a full packet and we got half each. Then we left and headed back to Moolyella. The owner [Harry Greene] of Yirrirrinya (Talga Talga Station) had a missing arm and he was hostile [to people travelling through his station]. He’d chase you with a stockwhip if he saw you. We travelled all through the night right around that station and camped on the other side of Yirrirrinya. At Moolyella we joined all the strikers — there was a big crowd of them. Others were also arriving from other stations, from Yarrie and Muccan, all meeting up there. Everyone met up there.


Audio: Cranky Iti (Kujupurra), tape 1, Nyangumarta, recorded by Anne Scrimgeour, Mijijimaya, June 1993, translated by Barbara Hale and Mark Clendon, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.
Photo: Cranky Iti (Kujupurra), Board of Anthropological Research, South Australian Museum, AA346/4/22/1 Marble Bar R356.

Related Sources

Caroline Jula, Striking from Warrawagine Station

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Exhibit Analysis: 

During the second half of 1946, groups and individuals walked off stations and other workplaces to join the strike camps. Caroline Jula, who had worked as a domestic servant at Warrawagine station, joined the strike camp at Moolyella in late 1946.

The Western Australian Department of Native Affairs tried repeatedly and persistently to end the strike and return workers to stations. The strikers held out, however, using successful non-violent strategies to maintain their stand.