Territory Stories

Debates Day 5 - Wednesday 17 October 2007



Debates Day 5 - Wednesday 17 October 2007

Other title

Parliamentary Record 17


Debates for 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; Parliamentary Record; ParliamentNT




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





Publisher name

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

Place of publication


File type



Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



Parent handle


Citation address


Page content

DEBATES Wednesday 17 October 2007 4896 commitment from this government to invest in that work paid off in both ways because the dam is full, 13 m deep, so it was a fantastic occasion. Also on that day, the minister had the privilege of awarding one of the local lads, Norm Hagan, his certificate. Norm is a great young fella, his family are from there, he is a local young Anmatjere man. I had the pleasure of playing football with Norm many years ago. It is good to see young blokes like this step up. Norm has become the Essential Services Officer for his community. The minister had the pleasure of presenting Norm with his Certificate II in Remote Area Essential Services, which he had completed through Charles Darwin University in partnership with Top End Group Training. On top of that, we had the opening of the dam, and it was great to see plenty of water in there, but it was a great occasion when Norm could show the minister his skills in turning on the new engine of the pumps for the dam to get the potable water in the dam flowing through the tanks and through the community so that people can now drink from taps. I acknowledge those young fellows, working on CDEP at the time, who participated in the dam project. On one of my trips out there, the young fellas raised the concern that they were not being included in the construction of the dam. One of the main parts of the dam project was to lift the walls around it to increase its capacity. The young fellas are great operators of graders, dozers and water trucks so it was a pleasing result to be able to get eight weeks work for these young local fellas to work alongside the contractors and get certificates out of it. It was a great occasion and means a great deal to the people of Yuelamu after three years of drinking bottled water. It was a great commitment from this government to invest in the dam so it created employment and jobs for the locals. To see Norm Hagen get his certificate was a great achievement for the whole community. The other event I would like to mention I attended at the community recently was a book launch. On 17 September this year, I had the pleasure of launching a book, Anengkerr angkety which are the Anmatjere words for dreaming stories. It based around the history and knowledge of an old man there, Jack Cook Ngal. It was published by Batchelor College Press. I will quote a couple of paragraphs from the book. It gives a bit of background and history about the old man, Jack Cook Ngal: Jack Cook Ngal was born around 1930 at Napperby Station. He grew up in that region, and like many Aboriginal men of his generation he spent much of his younger life working on cattle stations, often for rations or for little money. He worked at Napperby, Aileron, Pine Hill, Coniston and Mt Allan. Jack speaks both Anmatyerr and Warlpiri, although he regards Anmatyerr as his first language. His grandparents were from areas in the western part of the Anmatyerr country, close to neighbouring Warlpiri country. He is a well-respected elder who now lives at the community of Yuelamu on Mt Allan Station, 280 km north-west by road from Alice Springs. This area is known as Arlwem in Anmatyerr and it is Jacks mothers fathers country. Mt Allan Station is now Aboriginal freehold land, title being granted to the Traditional Owners in 1988. The stories in the book were told in Anmatyerr language by Jack in 2004 as part of the Mt Allan school project to record histories of Anmatyerr people. These stories are Anengkerr or Dreaming stories, and Jack tells them as he remembers them being told to him by his grandparents when he was young. The word Anengkerr has many meanings. In the Anmatyerr world the Anengkerr is fundamental to an understanding of the origin of stories, songs, ceremonial designs and dances. In the Anengkerr lies the explanation for the land and all its life forms. It provides the foundation for human behaviour, kinship and social conventions and it simultaneously includes the past, the present and the future. The book is a fantastic achievement not only for the old man, the Anmatjere people and Batchelor Press, it is great for the kids as well. Some of the art work in that book is fantastic. At this stage, I acknowledge some people involved in developing the book, including: Jenny Taylor, Lecturer in Art and Craft at Batchelor College; Jenny Green, who compiled it, is well known as a linguist and her work on the late W Rabuntjas book A Town Grew up Dancing; Gail Woods, Lecturer for the Centre for Australian Languages and Linguistics at Batchelor College; the artists who did the great art work in this book were local Anmatjere people including Rowena Larry Ngwarray, Veronica Tilmouth Kemarr, Lisa Cook Mpetyan, Caroline Stafford Pwerrerl, Rowina Stafford Pwerrerl, David McCormack Penangk, Loretta Abbott Ngal, Amarantha McMillan Pwerrerl, Susie Stafford Pwerrerl and Shaun Quinn Penangk. Briefly, that is a summary of the Anmatjere people at Yuelamu and two great events, the opening of the new dam and the book launch.