Narional Archives of Australia
Western Australian Natives - Alice Springs Hospital 1957
COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA
Northern Territory Administration
12th March 1957
Commissioner for Native Affairs
Native Welfare Department
WESTERN AUSTRALIAN NATIVES : ALICE SPRINGS HOSPITAL
I wish to advise that in late January this year two aborigines
were brought to Alice Springs by the Flying Doctor Service from the Giles
Meteorological Station in Western Australia.
The two natives are father and son, the father Kulati being aged
approximately 50 years and the son Narwina or Yarlu about 25 years.
The natives were admitted to the hospital with severe spear wounds
and are likely to require treatment for some months.
It appears Narwina had caught a kangaroo and, together with
Kulati, was eating it, when the couple was approached by Nudanunda who re-
quested that he be given part of the kangaroo. The request was refused by
Kulati and an argument ensued. The argument developed into a spear fight
in which Kulati said that he attacked Nudanunda who replied in kind. Seeing
that his father was being beaten in the fight Narwina went to his assistance
but in turn Narwina's participation ended when he received a spear wound in
the right knee.
Kulati said that he was wrong in refusing to give portion of the
kangaroo to Nudanunda and that by doing so he had actually caused the fight.
The wounds suffered by Kulati injured the femoral artery of his
left leg. This injury, added to the elapsed time until he received medical
treatment caused a gangrenous condition as a result of which it became
necessary to amputate the leg well above the knee.
The Medical Superintendent (Dr Watsford) said that it was likely
that an artifical leg would be fitted in due course. Dr Watsford suggested
that, because of treatment which will be required subsequent to the fitting
of an artifical leg, it would be advantageous if Kulati could be induced to
reside at a station or Mission close to Alice Springs yet within his tribal
Narwina or Yarlu suffered a spear wound to the inside of his right
knee as a result of which the leg will permanently remain stiff.
Because of the serious nature of the injuries suffered in each case
the two men will no longer be able to adequately fend for themselves in the bush
and will therefore require such assistance as may be available at a Mission
Station or Government Settlement, and the two men have indicated to the District
Welfare Officer, Alice Springs, that they wish to return to St Margaret's
Mission in the Warburton Ranges, WA when fit to travel and I would appreciate
your views on this suggestion. I would also request your advice indicating
whether you would support the fitting of an artificial leg to Kulati as in the
event of this action being taken it is apparent from Dr Watsford's comments
that Kulati will need some guidance and treatment from Medical authorities.
I ask for this advice because it may be necessary for this advice to be given
from Alice Springs as being the nearest centre where a doctor is stationed to
St Margaret's Mission, in which case the views of Dr Watsford would need to
As an attachment I furnish particulars of the families of the two men
as provided by them.
H C Giese
Director of Welfare