The horse and jinker
Many Martu completing oral history recordings have remembered the horse and jinker (wagon) that was a part of their lives back in the mission days. Kennedy Finlay found this photo in the Martu archive. Here he shares his memories:
“In Jigalong my father, Friday Finlay, bought a wagon and three horses. One horse was called ‘Tampangalku’ who always ate the damper! In the holiday time, we would load all the camping gear on to the wagon, including the flour, tea, sugar, blankets and swags - everything. It would go ahead and all the Martu would walk out to the camp. The first camp was on a claypan, Palanya flat. We would drink dirty water from the claypan and used that water in the damper, which made it a brown-colour, and we stayed out camping for a couple of weeks. We then moved to the second camp, Mirtikanya, where we collected minyarra (bush onion) and wild potatoes. At Ngujapunya, where the rabbit proof fence is, we got a flat tyre. We camped there in the claypan. The tyre got flat and my old man would put the spinifex inside and a bit of dirt or sand, patch it up and then we would be off again. A second horse helped to get over the sand dunes when the tyre was flat or the sand was really soft. We travelled with the horse and jinker to Noreena Downs station. It was a smooth ride, you couldn’t feel the bumps at all. When we came back, we let the horses go. The wagon couldn’t go any further. It’s old and rusty, but it’s still there in Jigalong.’’
Cindy Robinson and Timmy Paterson remember travelling from Wiluna to Jigalong along the Rabbit Proof Fence with a big mob of family. They travelled up and down many times, with a few horses and the jinker. They would climb onto the jinker instead of walking Timmy says, it was like the droving days, travelling slowly so that the horses didn’t get worn out.
It seems the horse and jinker were bought or given from one family to another over the years. From the stories shared, it seems it was once owned by George Beatty and then Sambo Samson who fixed it up. After that it was bought by Friday Finlay. Lily Long remembers the old people going out to collect emu eggs on it.