Mayapu Elsie Thomas
Born about 1934, died 2012
Wangkajunga language group, Nampijin skin group
We used to walk until we came to the Canning Stock Road. At the stock road we speared bullocks. That was where they travelled on the Canning Stock Road along the wells to Kulyayi [Well 42] to Katajilkarr [Well 43] from there on to Kujuwarri [Well 46]. That’s where they used to spear bullocks, my father and Kuji’s [Rosie Goodjie’s] father.
Mayapu was born at Pinga and grew up in the Country around Kukapanyu (Well 39). Her family came out of the desert at Paruku and moved to Tarngku Springs where her father was killed. Mayapu married Sheepman, the brother of Karntakarnta Billy Thomas, and raised a family at Christmas Creek Station. Today, she lives at Wangkatjungka Community with her husband George Tuckerbox.
2007, by Mayapu Elsie Thomas
acrylic on canvas, 120×90 cm
National Museum of Australia
At Natawalu an Aboriginal man speared a kartiya [white man], then that kartiya got a rifle and shot him. Right [at] Natawalu. Before there was a well there. That’s the place I painted now. He was just coming to get water … then he saw that kartiya. He speared him then, near the water.
On the Canning Stock Route survey return journey in 1907, two men killed each other simultaneously at Natawalu, which would become Well 40. The team’s well-boring expert, Michael Tobin, shot an Aboriginal man, Mungkututu, and he speared Tobin in the same moment. Mungkututu was Mayapu’s uncle.