Margaret Katherine

Margaret was born at Joe’s Garden east of Katherine (now part of the Jawoyn Aboriginal Land Trust) where her mother and father lived and worked. She has lived in the Katherine region all her life, however her traditional country is the Dalakngalarr area of the Mann River. Margaret remembers spending her early childhood days walking the country with her mother and father along with a brother who was later taken away by the government men. They hunted, trapped and ate bush tucker. Margaret never went to school but was taught everything about her culture, language and traditions from her grandfather, father and mother.

When Margaret was about 8 years old, her mother and father went to Katherine to work at a local store and lived at the store for a while. Later they moved to Maude Creek near Katherine Gorge and spent time walking the country, hunting and fishing around Katherine and the Donkey camp areas.

When she was a “young girl” teenager, Margaret would walk a long way each day to the Katherine hospital where she worked for the Matron. She would boil up clothes in a copper and do ironing and other household work.

In about 1960 the police made the family move to Beswick Creek, which later became Bamyili and is now Barunga where Margaret still lives.

Margaret is a senior Jawoyn Elder and sits on the Jawoyn Council of Elders. She is of the Buyhmi clan group (Duwar moiety), and speaks Kriol, Jawoyn, Mialli, English and Ngalkbon. She has co-authored many books on Jawoyn culture, language, plants, animals and traditions.