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“This is a rock hole coming- people coming this side and people coming round this side, coming to that water hole.

This painting is about every rock hole in Mulialla where I used to work and we would walk and get some water from the rock holes and go away back home- get that water from these rock holes when we were working. My father and mothers surname was Mulialla, they were named after that place.”

– Lorna Linmurra

This work depicts a waterhole within the artists’ ngurra (home Country, camp), typically represented with circular forms. Waterholes are sites that require maintenance, including digging to increase flow, clearing out surrounding growth, and cleaning up after sullying by camels or cattle.

During the pujiman (traditional, desert dwelling) period, knowledge of water sources was critical for survival, and today Martu Country is still defined in terms of the location and type of water. Each of the hundreds of claypans, rockholes, waterholes, soaks and springs found in the Martu desert homelands is known through real life experience and the recounting of Jukurrpa (Dreaming) narratives by name, location, quality and seasonal availability. This encyclopedic knowledge extends even to the nature and movement of arterial waterways, and sustained Martu as they travelled across their Country, hunting and gathering, visiting family, and fulfilling ceremonial obligations. They would traverse very large distances annually, visiting specific areas in the dry and wet season depending on the availability of water and the corresponding cycles of plant and animal life on which hunting and gathering bush tucker was reliant.

Name: Lorna Linmurra

Community: Warralong


“I was born in Hedland hospital. I grew up, Marble Bar area, we were staying there with nomad people, I was going to school. Nomad people would take us everywhere. We then went to Roebourne, everywhere we go. I started working making tins for lollies, for a few years I did. We didn’t know anything [then], we were young people"

- Lorna Linmurra

Lorna was born in Port Hedland. Now she lives at Warralong Community with her family. Warralong community is located 120 kilometres south east of Port Hedland and 50 kilometres north of Marble Bar in the Pilbara. The community lies between the Shaw and De Grey Rivers.

© the artist / art centre