An important pilgrimage


Forty-one participants came together from Jigalong, Punmu, Parnngurr, Kunawarritji, Wiluna, Hedland, Karratha, Nullagine and Newman to be a part of this year’s Kalyuku Ninti trip. This was an important pilgrimage for the Girgiba, Crusoe, Patch, Watson, Atkins and James families.

The group travelled from Kunawarritji through to Kumpaya’s country kakarra (east) of the Windy Corner road, visiting many important places over eight days on the way to Wurlkurta. This was also an important trip for the Gibbs and Bidu families as we visited places such as Wikiri and Pinpinjanu.

Elders Kumpaya and Ngamaru were front and center throughout the trip, sharing their ninti (knowledge) of country and family and their stories of pujiman (bushman) days with everyone on the trip. They pushed through the long days with a great sense of humour.

The convoy travelled along the Gary Highway visiting Kuny Kuny, Karingkarra and Nyakarilpa, and even located and ground-truthed Julyjarru, a rock hole that hadn’t been visited since pujiman days. The group then headed kakarra (east) and visited Pinkari, Ngankakaja, Ngarilyi, Wuukal and Kirriji. Kumpaya identified two additional waterholes at Ngarilyi that had not been mapped before.

The route continued to Wurlkurta, a very special place for the Crusoe family where there were a lot of emotions as the family approached the soak for the first time. Camp was set up here for two nights, allowing enough time for everyone to dig out the soak. This was an immensely hard task in the hot sun that took all day and required everyone’s help. All manner of tools - shovels, hammers, tyre levers and hands - were employed to get through the solid material. The dedication and work ethic shown by everyone was impressive.

That night everyone was able to look at family trees together and to talk about how all the families are connected through their old people.

Making the way back to the Gary Highway, the group visited Wukarn and Wulkal rockholes where Kumpaya was able to confirm place names. Hitting the Talawana Track on the home stretch, we visited Wikiri windmill, Jaturti, Wikiri soak, and made our final camp at Pinpinjanu rock hole.

The trip was a chance for new ranger coordinators Tex (Bridget Kujarra), MG (Michael) and Cluggo (Shane) to get to know and work with their ranger teams. The Parnngurr and Kunawarritji teams didn’t hesitate to show their new coordinators how it’s all done on a KJ camp.

It was a very successful and happy trip thanks to a number of Martu who stepped up and took on responsibility in leadership roles. Everybody was a team player and pitched in with work at camp and waterholes. Many young people who don’t often work with KJ made the most of this opportunity to learn from their old people on country and about their family’s special places. Thank you everybody for a great trip!