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Mary Tjaatju

Biography

Mary Tjaatju - Born: 1935 Location: Kardamardi near Koodal (Hellena Springs) Language Walmatjarri and Kukatja Skin: Napangardi

Mary Tjaatju was born at Kardamardi south of Yagga Yagga in Western Australia where she lived the traditional nomadic way of life. When she was about 12 years old her family began moving up the Canning Stock Route and stayed for some time at Kaningarra before "coming in" to Billiluna Station. There she was taught various domestic skills and worked in the kitchen baking for the station manager's wife, also doing sewing and making mud bricks.

In the 1950s she moved to Old Mission, one of the early Balgo sites, where she married and worked making bread with her young daughter Gracie Green. Her first husband died and she moved to Fitzroy Crossing with her second husband Sundown Ellery who was a stockman. They lived and worked at Wangkatjunka, a small community near Fitzroy Crossing before moving back to Balgo in 2000. Sundown was a regular painter but Mary did not start until she moved to Balgo and since then has become a prolific and successful artist.

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Aboriginal Art (991)