Women and children engaged in various stages of processing and separating the metal columbite from dirt. This footage, taken by the physical anthropologist Norman Tindale in 1953, shows the columbite alluvial diggings at being worked at Pilgangoora, where about 70 people were living. The blond-haired young woman is Maildu, a Manyjilyjarra speaker. Tindale wrote in his journal that ‘They dig the old creek bed deposits 3-4 feet deep and take the six inches or so of alluvial above bed rock, dry it on swept places on the bank, then winnow it to remove dust, yandy it in wooden, or more often metal dishes, shaped like their old wooden dishes’.

Women and Children Process Columbite at Pilgangoora

Pilgangoora Rare Earth Mining, Film footage taken by Norman Tindale, 1953, South Australian Museum, AA 346/9/16/2/6.

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