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Broome and North Broome
Western Australia

  As a child, I have been fortunate to spend quality time in my father’s country Broome and North of Broome, Western Australia - a place I am proud to call 'my country'.  Being saltwater people, we spent most of our time along the coastal waters spear fishing and shelling.  Many of times we travelled long way by foot to reach our fishing spots that endurance was essential.


(left photo) 'Sand dunes', Broome, W.A.


Our travels involved walking across the mud flats to collect cockle shells, long bums or pippies.  On the mudflats, sometimes dad would sink in too much that he went on his belly to slide across the mud flats.  On the other hand, we kids were much lighter so it was easier for us to tread across the mud without sinking.  When we reached our destination, we collected the cockles that would be lying on the surface of the sandy or muddy banks.  We could never stay clean though because the sand-flies would start attacking us and as mud was our only sand-fly repellent, we too ended up covering our body with mud.  
(right photo) Jess with a bucket of pippies.




When crabbing, sometimes we climbed high on top of the mangrove roots looking for mud crabs and periwinkles (shell meat).  The toughest journey was where we were bare footed running over the surfy sand dunes to the beaches.  If we weren’t burnt from the hot sand, we were most likely to end up with thorny prickles in our feet known as Bindi-eye’s. 
(left photo) Coastline, North of Broome, Western Australia.  

Along the coastlines, we walked along the reef to fish in the trapped water holes where the water would be crystal clear.  While dad went spear fishing, us kids either went swimming or accompany mum to look for shell meat along the reef.  Bunjman and lee were the most common shells we collected.  However, we would find ourselves feasting out on the fresh milky oysters found between the rocks. 
Some mornings we would wake up with the birds and head out fishing to catch the early morning tides.  We started with throw netting for fresh bait along the inlets of the sandy banks.  After catching a bucket full of bait (mullet, garfish or whiting), we walked out to the furtherer’s point on the reef and fished.  Our hand lines were rigged up with live bait and a float.  In no time, our lines would take off and sometimes it took two men to pull a fish in.

(right photo) Jonathan Parriman throw netting. 
 
  On the land, bush animals, plants nuts and fruits were the main food sources.  Boab tree is a fruit tree that is resourceful for its water, shelter and fruit.  When travelling through the boab tree country we would see all the brolga birds amongst the escarpment eating all the bush onions that spring up. These scenes are capturing and take form in my art.

(left photo) Climbing the boab tree for it's fruit.
When out fishing we always took one of dad’s handmade spears to await for the perfect opportunities to catch a fresh feed of fish or crab.  Other uses were for our own protection as we would come across close encounters with many dangers such as snakes, crocodiles, sharks, jelly fish, stonefish and blue ring octopus.  It also came in handy when crossing water ways as we would push the spear in the water to check the depths as we travelled along.  Other times we used it for support and balance. 

(right photo) Leticia drawing in the sand with a hand crafted spear.
 
  It is important to understand the signals of what you hear and see when out in country as it is the key indicator of survival.  These signals change with the natural environments seasons environmentally, culturally and spiritually. When understood these changes can help you travel safely and eat wealthy while out on country.

(left photo) Dragon flies indicate change of season.
When painting I share many of these stories and knowledge of the country to my children.  And each year, my husband takes me and our children back home to my country so they too can continue teaching the next generation the knowledge’s of our land, sea and our ancestors that once walked on this land.  We are very fortunate to have this opportunity as I feel our children are proud of their Indigenous culture which keeps them strong in our society and in our identity.

(right photo) My three daughters waiting for the tide to settle.
 
 

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