Mick Jawaljic1920 - 2013 Jawula Daburru – Gija country 2011
- ochre on board
Mick Jawalji was born at Yulumbu, in western Gija country, around 1920, just before the establishment of Tableland cattle station. Yulumbu is the Gija name for the place where the Tableland station airstrip lies.
Jawalji was the senior traditional owner of the Banggurr region of western Gija country. Banggurr is the name of the huge flat-topped hill on the way to the Tableland homestead known as Black Person Hill in English. Jawalji's father was one of the main workers who built the Tableland station homestead. Jawalji grew up on Yulumbu and learnt stockwork. Like most old Aboriginal people in the Kimberley he worked with cattle, mustering and droving. As well as being head stockman, he was a renowned horsebreaker. Jawalji and his stockmen drove cattle from Tableland to the Glenroy meatworks and as far away as Derby and Wyndham.
While he was living and working in his country, Jawalji learnt about all the places in that country. He learnt the stories of these places and the meanings of the rock paintings found there. Each wet season he and his people would meet to practise law, sometimes walking as far as Mt House station. This helped maintain their country and culture.
Jawalji also spent a number of years working on Mornington, a station west of Yulumbu. He lived with the Andayin people and learnt much Andayin law and culture from his stepfather and mother. Jawalji speaks for Andayin country, now that the traditional owner has passed away.
As well as Tableland and Mornington stations, Jawalji worked at Fossil Downs, Brooking Springs, Mabel Downs and Lansdowne stations.
He joined the other Gija Warmun artists in 2002 continuing to paint his boards in Imintji but paying frequent visits to Warmun, where he has family. Gallery owners and art collectors quickly recognised the value of the paintings of this strong law man and his boards are in high demand.
Jawalji's paintings feature places in his Banggurr country and dreamtime stories from those places.
Source: Warmun Art Centre