Narional Archives of Australia
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, W MacDougall 19 June 1957
Patrol from Maralinga to Colona Mission
19th June, 1957
I left Maralinga with Mr Gillespie on Thursday 13th June to
learn from Kuntjinti the route he and his family followed on their journey
2. The party consisted of a man, his wife and two children;
Kuntjinti male 45 years
Milparti female 35 years
Kuntjarri male 12 years
Rose female 2 years
They are Jangkuntjara people not Pitjintjintjara. The Jangkuntjara tribal
country is contained in an area bounded on the East by Long 133 deg 45 min East,
on the West by Long 130 deg 10 min East, on the North by Lat 24 deg 20 min South and
on the South Lat 28 deg 40 min South.
3. Kuntjinti is a bush type who deplores the gradual breaking
down of tribal law and custom. Approximately fifteen years ago his first
wife died and he travelled into a neighbouring tribes country to Ooldea.
At Ooldea he married a Jangkuntjara woman whose husband had died whilst on
a visit to Ooldea; later they returned to the Everard Ranges.
4. Approximately last June he left the Everard Range because of
the behaviour of the younger members of his tribe and travelled west. In
the vicinity of Mt Bonyboninnya he witnessed the killing of a bullock
by his tribesmen. Not wanting to be involved he travelled further west to
Pooratinna called Moolipinna on the map and from there to Tepata or Tepala
at Mt Sir Thomas. At this stage he saw the Emu Mt Davies Road.
5. Largely from curiosity he followed the road south through
Tjartaman to its end, signs of their occupation of Tjartaman were seen
by me a few weeks ago. At the end of the road he saw the bulldozer left
there by Mr Beadell.
6. Whilst travelling along the road he noticed hunting fires to
the west. Because he did not know who was hunting he decided not to go
further west. At this stage he based his hunting excursions on a water
supply called Nguntjuanna which is near Wright Hill.
7. Having followed the road to its end he decided to visit friends at
Ooldea. He knew of white man activity at Maralinga but was not unduly
8. He travelled South across sandhills and found another road
running East and West. He crossed this and continued South. Note : This
road would be that made from Emu to meet the one from Mt Davies. He
apparently travelled to the West of Emu as he did not see any more signs
of white occupation until he reached the Maralinga area.
9. From Nguntuanna he travelled to Pitijara, Karuala, Kupitji
and Wi:narra, he intended travelling to Ooldea soak via Puntala which is
the current name for Yardina which is marked upon the map at approximately
Long 131 deg 20 min East, Lat 29 deg 58 min South.
It was on this stage of the journey that they were found.
10. Whilst discussing incidents of their trip I suggested that as
they had accidentally seen somethimg of a whiteman's ceremony they should
not declare anything to other white men.
The family are from Everard Range not Ernabella, all of whom know of
Maralinga activity. A series of incidents combined to suggest a trip
to Ooldea. The greatest factor being a North South road where there had
never been a road before.
Despite the dry conditions there was sufficient water for
the trip. Bush natives who have not been spoilt by the abundant supplies
of both food and water available in white communities do not hesitate to
depend upon small supplies and mallee roots.
The man is not very concerned in regards to his experiences but his
wife is worried about the possibility of punishment for trespassing on what
was obviously a male area and therefore probably a ceremonial ground taboo
It is not likely to happen again but there are natives living
West of the road who may follow it if they find it.
It is interesting to note that the report of hunting fires
from Sergeant Frank Smith whilst he was at the Mobile Met Site established
near Mt Lindsay was correct. Mr Macaulay and I at the time decided that
he was mistaken. Kuntjinti assured me that hunting fires to the west
accompanied him during his trip south. He had decided that they also were
travelling to ooldea but they turned back aboout the time he was passing
to the west of Emu.
To make a better check and to insure that no other party unknow-
ingly trespass I suggest that I, later this year, take Kuntjinti back the
way he came as far as Wright Hill thus establishing a reasonable Land Rover
track which could be patrolled periodically by myself or Mr Macaulay.
W B MacDougall
Native Patrol Officer