Patrol Report J Harman 24 August 1965


National Archives of Australia Series unknown Item R22.005 and / or R145.034 Royal Commission into British Nuclear Tests in Australia Collection of documents relating to Aboriginals 21. 1.1947 - 29. 8.1984 AIATSIS B G646.83/R1 Volumes 1-17 Patrol Report J Harman 24 August 1965 Report on Joint Patrol of the Central Reserve Objects of Patrol In accordance with arrangements made at the March Central Reserves Committee meeting, a patrol of the Central Reserve was commenced on July 21st and concluded on August 8th. The purposes of this patrol were similar to previous patrols to this area, namely : 1. Establish contact with nomadic natives in the area, ascertain their welfare, their kinships, classifications and future movements. 2. Arrange transport to Warburton Ranges Mission or Papunya Native Settlement of those contacted who expressly wish to join their relatives already at those centres. 3. Arrange transport, if so desired, for those natives who have been previously assisted to Warburton Ranges Mission by previous patrols over the past eighteen months, to their former areas. Personnell The patrol was led by J J Harman, Divisional Superintendent, Eastern Division and comprised as follows : Western Australia Mr G Budge, Assistant Superintendent, Eastern Division Mr L Fletcher, District Officer, Laverton Andrew Lawson, native guide and interpreter from Warburton Ranges Mission Northern Territory Mr L Penhall, Assistant Director Southern, Social Welfare Branch Mr J Jennings, Patrol Officer, Social Welfare Branch Two Pintubi guides from Papunya Settlement Weapons Research Establishment Mr W MacDougall Yaparula, a native guide from Warburton Ranges Mission Area Traversed The patrol was divided into two areas. The Northern section of the Reserve previously inhabited by Pintubi natives was patrolled by the Northern Territory party. The southern section was patrolled by the Western Australian and Weapons Research Establishment officers. Both parties met at Jupiter Well toward the end of the patrol and travelled together to the Giles Meteorological Station. Northern Section The Northern Territory party visited all the known water holes close to the Papunya - Jupiter Well track and except for Walla Walla in the Pollock Hills, these water holes were dry. Mr Penhall also reported no signs of nomadic natives. Shortly before I arrived at Jupiter Well, I contacted the members of an oil search geophysical party, who had been traversing the area between Well 35 and the Western Australian / Northern Territory border for the past eight weeks. Included in this group was the pilot of the helicopter used by this party. They had not seen any evidence of natives in this area. The observations by Mr Penhall and the information obtained from the geophysical party seem to suggest that there are no further Pintubi groups in this area. This is supported by the Pintubi guides who do not know of any remaining relatives still uncontacted. Southern Section A far different situation faced the Western Australian and Weapons Research Establishment parties in this section. Prior to the patrol leaving Warburton Ranges, three meetings were held between the officers and the Nadajarra group now at Warburton Ranges, but who had been assisted to that Mission by previous patrols over the past eighteen months. These meetings were held to establish whether these new arrivals wished to return to their former 'country' and remain there. The matter was discussed in a completely unbiased manner, but, an undertaking was given that future patrols would be made to contact them at regular intervals and, of course, that on this occasion transport would be provided for their return journey. During the past 18 months, a total of 41 natives (including women and children) were assisted to the Warburton Ranges Mission. The meeting held on the eve of the departure by the patrol for the Nadajarra 'country' established that only 11 natives including 5 children wished to return. The following morning the two Forward Control Landrovers went to their camps to collect the 11 natives. In fact, a total of 25 natives placed themselves on the vehicles. I had to ask one Nadajarra man to remain as his wife and child were in Kalgoolie Hospital and their return was iminent. This man agreed to remain without demur. Another man, Mulyumara, aged about 50 years, was also requested to remain at the Mission. This man was not a recent arrival and, in fact, had been at the Mission for several years. He was intending to leave his two wives at the Mission and could advance no reason to make this journey, other than for the ride. After I insisted he get down from the vehicle he did so begrudgingly. As the party commenced to depart, this man, Mulyumara, threw a spear from his woomera at the vehicle in which I was travelling. The spear landed in the group of natives in the rear of the vehicle. It struck a dog in the neck. The incident has been reported separately and the Inspector of Police at Kalgoolie has been requested to take action against Mulyumara. The group of 23 natives was transported to Tika Tika that day without further incident. The soakages at Tika Tika contained little water and the natives wished to continue with the party to Badjar, some thirty miles to the north. The following morning we arrived at Badjar, which would seem to be in the Clutterbuck Hills. This area was well grassed and had received some benefit from recent rains. A creek containing two large pools of clear water ran from a division in the low hills to the flat open country. On our arrival, it was evident that a group of natives was camping near the creek, but were away hunting. Several of the women brought with our party went off to seek this new group. Whilst awaiting their return, the natives sat by our vehicles. Shortly afterwards Andrew Lawson, our interpreter, informed me that the group we had brought did not now wish to remain at Badjar and wished to return to the Warburton Ranges Mission. He could advance no reason for their change of mind, other than they considered they would fare better at the Mission. About midday the new group commenced to arrive. They had no game. One man was partly clothed, but the four women were unclothed. Another young man, not fully initiated, wore a lap lap and had a bone through his nose. There were 5 children in the group. Patrol Officer MacDougall recognised the group as the same group he had contacted the previous month and who also had been seen by the Film Unit from the Institute of Aboriginal Studies, at the same time. This new group went to their camp site. A short while later, one of the women from the new group and two from the Warburton Group approached one another, shouting and waving their arms as if in anger. They then fought together, hitting each other on the head with rocks held in their hands. This incident ceased as quickly as it started. The men took no part, although the young man with the bone through his nose suddenly ran towards the Warburton group and threw a spear. The spear was directed at the ground about fifteen yards in front of him and about forty yards from the Warburton group. The explanation for this incident could not be confirmed, but it appeared to be a custom to be observed because of some previous infedility on the part of one of the women. A short time after this incident, the man in the new group walked from his camp to the men of the Warburton group who were seated in a half circle on their own and about forty yards from their women and children. This man went to each of the men in turn, taking their right hand and rubbing the palm against his penis. Each man looked down during this ceremony. The last man was not fully initiated and the Badjar man merely patted him on the head. The Badjar man then returned to his camp. No words were spoken during this ceremony. The ceremony has been previously described by Professor Berndt and others and is regarded as a form of introduction. It has been said that should any of the men seated raise their heads during this act this could indicate some type of grudge exists between them and it should be settled as soon as possible. Following this incident the Warburton men moved over to the camp of the new man and began talking. A little later our party went to this group and began discussions with them. It was obvious that this new group wished to travel to Warburton Ranges Mission and I have no doubt the man was influenced by the Warburton group. This group was in good physical condition. They were also the group seen several days previously by a helicopter working for Union Oil Co. As it would have been impossible to transport both groups to the Warburton Ranges, I suggested that some of the Warburton group remain with the new group and they would be contacted in fourteen days time at Tika Tika. This was finally agreed, although the young man with the bone was allowed to accompany his uncle with our party. It was presumed that his circumcision would be arranged at Warburton Ranges. Late that day, the party commenced the return trip to Warburton Ranges and arrived without incident the next day. After refuelling, the Western Australian and Weapons Research Establishment parties commenced the journey to Jupiter Well, via the Carnegie Road, the Gary Highway, Well 35 on the Canning Stock Route and Gary Junction. All the known water holes en route were visited. They were virtually dry and showed no signs of recent visits by nomadic natives. It is believed, however, that one or possibly two groups still frequent the area from Yiril to Tika Tika. The Northern Territory party were met at Jupiter Well and all the parties then continued to the Giles Meteorological Station. The opportunity was taken to inspect the proposed site for a mobile settlement to be established by the Northern Territory Social Welfare Branch near the Docker Creek in the Petermann Ranges. The site has been equipped with a mill and storage tank. Plans for further improvements are now under consideration. The Northern Territory party departed for Alice Springs and our party returned to Warburton Ranges via the Blackstone Ranges. The windmill and tank at Blackstone Ranges has been frequently used by natives from Mt Davies and by those natives travelling to and from Warburton Ranges and South Australia. A group of such natives numbering twenty one was contacted seventy miles easy of Warburton Ranges Mission and was travelling to Blackstone Ranges. Their previous camp site had been at Purgatory Well, which was put down by this department eighteen months previously and is 56 miles east from Warburton Ranges Mission. This route of 200 miles from Warburton Ranges to Mt Davies now had five sources of permanent water for use by natives. There was evidence of a good deal of game and this was supported by the group we contacted. The patrol arrived at Warburton Ranges on August 6th and departed the same evening for Laverton. Arrangements were made for the District Officer at Laverton to return to the Warburton Ranges on August 10th with the two Infant Health Sisters and to then continue to Badjar to pick up the remaining natives as arranged previously. The District Officer departed Laverton on August 10th but when 180 miles from Laverton the vehicle met with an accident and was extensively damaged. The occupants suffered varying injuries, but none seriously. In view of this, I had to request WRE Patrol Officer MacDougall to proceed to Badjar and pick up the natives. This was done and the newly contacted group at Badjar was transported to Warburton Ranges Mission. It appears from reports from Patrol Officer MacDougall, that the other group left with the Badjar group decided to continue to remain in the area. This group will be contacted by Patrol Officer MacDougall when he visits the area in late September - early October. The names of the new group are listed in the Appendix. Reserve Signs During this patrol, ten signs were placed at all entry points to the Central Reserve. The signs are 5' x 3' and are supported by two lengths of piping, well bedded in the ground. THIS AREA IS A PROCLAIMED NATIVE RESERVE IT IS AN OFFENCE UNDER THE NATIVE WELFARE ACT 1963 TO ENTER THIS RESERVE UNLESS PERMISSION HAS FIRST BEEN OBTAINED FROM THE HON. MINISTER FOR NATIVE WELFARE IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA. PERSONS AUTHORISED TO ENTER THIS RESERVE MUST ADHERE STRICTLY TO THE CONDITIONS IMPOSED WITH THEIR PERMIT. F E GARE COMMISSIONER OF NATIVE WELFARE Conclusions Regular patrols of the Central Reserve since 1963 by all administrations have increased our knowledge of the area and of the natives. It has been evident that the natives contacted by these patrols have wished to rejoin their relatives who have previously travelled to the Missions and Settlements. They have been informed by our guides of conditions and way of life at these centres and this, coupled with their curiosity, their need to rejoin other groups to continue social customs and tradition has influenced these nomadic natives to make their decision, especially when this is weighed against their present way of existence. Once having lived in a Mission or Settlement it seems that they prefer to remain at those centres, although at times they may consider a return to their former nomadic life for a short period or even a 'ride'. While on this occasion it would seem our party was 'taken for a ride', it is possible that some other explanation for their sudden change may be the case, and careful enquiry of this over the next few months should not be overlooked. Although no contact has been made with any natives in the Pintubi country since September, 1964, I would hesitate to state that the area is uninhabitated. As we do know at least one other group exists in the Nadajarra country, it is obvious that patrols should be continued in this area. The group contacted at Badjar should be closely questioned after they have settled at Warburton Ranges and have sorted out their relationship. During the incident on this patrol, I suggest we continue to discuss with these new groups their desire whether to return to their 'country' or not. To this end it is recommended the District Officer Laverton undertake another patrol in January, 1966. Temporary Mining Reserve In 1955 a Temporary Mining Reserve was granted to South West Mining Co by excising the area shown in yellow and green on the attached lithograph from Native Reserve 17614. This excision has never been regarded as a happy one, either by this Department or the natives of the area. The excised area includes a large number of places still retaining important significance in the native mythology and still used as ceremonial places or as stories associated with theid mythological heroes. As a consequence, there were objections voiced by the natives when the men employed by the Mining Company began travelling all over the Mining Reserve in search of nickel and water. In addition there was the unfortunate incident when one of the men employed by the Company became sexually involved with one of the native women. Recently the size of this Remporary Mining Reserve was reduced to the area shaded in green. The area shaded in yellow is now vacant Crown Land. In view of the above, it is now strongly recommended that the Lands and Surveys Department be requested to increase Native Reserve No 17614 by the addition of the area shaded in yellow. Appreciation I am grateful for the splendid co-operation received from Mr MacDougall of the Weapons Research Establishment and Mr Penhall of the Northern Territory, which together with the assistance of the West Australian officers and our guides made possible the success of this patrol. J Harman Superintendent, Eastern Division Appendix Particulars of natives contacted at Badjar Name Sex Remarks Djagamara Male Manuba Female Wife of Djagamara Njanjawa Child of Manuba Gadabi Female Wife of Djagamara Ngindagadjugur Male Child of Gadabi Nuni Male Child of Gadabi Ngambugudju Male Child of Gadabi Danara Female Child of Gadabi Djungubi Female Wife of Djagamara Djanangu Female Wife of Djagamara Manyi Female Child of Djanangu Nayungu Male Young man not fully initiated and son of Reggie who previously went to Warburton Ranges but returned with this patrol to meet Nayungu.
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