We Walk This Way

We Walk This Way

In May of 2005 a couple of friends of mine, Rosemary Crumlin and Pauline Clayton, were planning to spend some time in the Bungle Bungle Ranges in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Rosemary is a writer, curator and art historian, and Pauline, who has since passed away, was an artist and teacher. The purpose of their trip was to visit their friend Hector Jandany, a Warmun elder, who was an important artist suffering from a terminal illness. He had sent a message via Pauline to Rosemary that she should hurry as he was ‘just about stuffed’. Along with Pauline’s daughter Sam, they also planned to spend time with another friend, Dillon Andrews, a Bunuba man, and were going to camp for three days in his country. I asked if I could tag along, as I’d never experienced that part of Australia. They agreed to take me under one condition, namely that Pauline was in charge and she’d be doing the driving. I couldn’t refuse such an offer and joined them for ten days of adventure. After we arrived at Darwin we traveled by light plane 825 kilometres south to Kununurra, then a further 150 kilometres by four-wheel drive south-west to Warmun (Turkey Creek) in the heart of the Kimberley. After the first night there I woke to discover that Rosemary and Pauline had taken the early bus back to Kununurra, as they had heard from the community that Hector had been taken to hospital a few days earlier. Sam and I stayed at Mirrilingki Mission, awaiting their return that night. The next morning the news on Hector’s health...