Wijiji Anna Johns
Born about 1949, died 2013
Ngardi language group, Nakamarra skin group
Paruku Indigenous Protected Area
I was schooling there until I got married in 1968. That’s how I got out of the dormitory.
Anna was born at Old Balgo but was taken by nuns and raised in the mission where she learned English before her own Ngardi language. She and her husband, Rex Johns, worked on stations, raised five children and lived at Balgo before setting up Mulan community.
2007, by Veronica Lulu, Anna Johns, Shirley Brown, Lyn Manson, Wendy Wise, Bessie Doonday, Chamia Sammuels, Daisy Kungah and Kim Mahood
acrylic on canvas, 310×146 cm
Paruku Indigenous Protected Area Collection
In 2001 the native title rights of the Tjurabalan people were recognised by the Federal Court of Australia. More than 4300 square kilometres of their traditional lake Country was declared to be an Indigenous Protected Area.
Today the Paruku Indigenous Protected Area is managed by Tjurabalan traditional owners. Its diverse activities focus on protecting cultural heritage, managing the Paruku (Lake Gregory) lake system’s ecological biodiversity and passing on traditional knowledge to younger generations.
Kartiya used to keep him, that land, but people knew it was for them. My brother [Rex Johns] said, ‘We gotta keep the stories alive, the land alive. We all staying in Mulan now, that’s our country.’
Kurpaliny Bessie Doonday, Halls Creek, 2007
As part of the management of their lands, Paruku artists have been producing extraordinary hybrid maps, which fuse the topographic detail of Western mapmaking with fields of intricate dotting. This map of Paruku shows the rich plant food and medicinal resources surrounding the lake country and the traditional burning practices still employed by Tjurabalan people to maintain its vitality.