Western Australian Natives - Alice Springs Hospital 1957

Narional Archives of Australia Canberra Office A6456 R136/006 Western Australian Natives - Alice Springs Hospital 1957 COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA Welfare Branch Northern Territory Administration Darwin, NT 12th March 1957 Commissioner for Native Affairs Native Welfare Department Perth, WA 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 area. 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 be ascertained. As an attachment I furnish particulars of the families of the two men as provided by them. H C Giese Director of Welfare