Our History

Our History

1969
1967 – 1974
1967
1964
1965 – 1974
1956 – 1965
1954
1935 – 1954
1946 – 1949
1900 – 1970
1863 – 1910
1863
Pre 1863

1969

To provide water for towns & industry, Pilbara Water Supply Scheme began piping water from Millstream National Park (in Yindjibarndi country).
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1967 – 1974

Without work, no longer able to access their country, and forced to live in continuing poverty in the midst of the riches of first mining boom, many adults took up alcohol. This had a terrible effect on families and culture, until the emergence of the Pilbara Aboriginal Church, with its focus on two way culture and giving up alcohol, helped Elders to restore people’s confidence in Cultural Law. Three new...
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1967

Australia granted Aboriginal people citizenship. Local Ngaarda recall that citizenship did not improve their employment opportunities and that the introduction of equal pay for Aboriginal stockmen resulted in those still working in the pastoral industry losing their jobs. With no employment elsewhere, and no way of staying on their traditional lands, more were forced to live on welfare rations on the Roebourne Reserve.
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1964

Beginning of the first Pilbara Mining Boom. Government, mining & resource companies began extensive infrastructure development and construction across the west Pilbara, investing some $2,200 million in iron ore production facilities, roads, railways, ports and new towns. Many thousands of hard living construction workers arrived to live in camps in Dampier and Roebourne, yet very few Ngaardas got any kind of employment.
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1965 – 1974

By 1965, some 300 Ngaardas from different language groups and traditional countries across the PIlbara were living on the old Roebourne Reserve, many in extreme poverty, yet Elders and Custodians maintained Ngaarda Laws,  memories, culture, languages and ceremonies.
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1956 – 1965

Many Ngaardas worked in the asbestos industry – as truck drivers, wharf laborers, and mine workers. Many later died of asbestos related diseases. When the Wittenoom mine closed, many Ngaardas remained unemployed, there being no other work available in the region.
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1954

The Roebourne Reserve begins to be home to Ngaardas from across the Western Pilbara. By the late 1950s, Roebourne Aboriginal Reserve is the largest in Western Australia. Most families, without work or possibilities of work, were forced to live in humpies on meager rations in extreme destitution. Seeking to make a difference for Ngaarda children, Ngaarda Elder, Old Tumbler insisted education be made available for Aboriginal children living on the...
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1935 – 1954

In the 1930s, and increasingly after the Second World War, old people and those unable to work were forced to moveto government ration stations and then to the old Roebourne Reserve. After the 1950s fall in wool prices, many had no work and were put off the stations. Because few of those living on the Reserve were able to find work, Reserve life was marked by desperate poverty, illness, and...
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1946 – 1949

Supported by Don McLeod, 800 Pilbara Aboriginal Stockmen Strike for wage parity and conditions. “ (Under Section 26 of the Native Administration Act, a native could not quit his employment without committing a criminal offence: the native was bound by a contract even though he did not sign it.”
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1900 – 1970

Most Yindjibarndi families continued to work as stockmen and house servants in order to stay on their traditional lands. This enabled Yindjibarndi to sustain their language, families, and their cultural and spiritual obligations to care for their country, and maintain their ceremonial Law practices. Their stock working skills were highly prized by pastoralists.
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1863 – 1910

1866 – establishment of Cossack and Roebourne as colonists quickly take up land for pastoral stations across the West Pilbara, Within a short time, most Ngaardangarli land & water resources were taken up by pastoralists. The loss of traditional hunting and gathering grounds, access to water, and liberty to move freely across ancestral lands caused great stress upon all Ngaarda. This led to the killing of sheep and skirmishes between...
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1863

The first white colonists arrive at the mouth of the Harding River
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Pre 1863

The Pilbara has been home to Ngaardangarli since the beginning of time Ngurra Nyjunggamu: the time when the world was soft.
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Gifts of the Maarga from Juluwarlu on Vimeo.