Jakayu Biljabu

Jakayu was born a little way north of Pitu around 1937 and grew up around Pitu, Wikiri, Rarrki, Wantili and Nyinyari on the Canning Stock Route. Drovers would kill a bullock and give food to Jakayu's group. Jakayu and her sister married the same man (Jakayu's sister was the first wife). Jakayu has two sons who were born in the bush, and one daughter born in the mission. Her father was very wary of the Europeans who increasingly travelling along the Canning Stock Route building new roads and her family waited longer than most before leaving a traditional life. Jakayu was travelling with her three children and a group of other people in 1963 when they were contacted by Len Beadell, who made the roads for the Woomera rocket range. Some people in the group Jakayu was travelling with had been to Jigalong previously and Len told the Jigalong mission staff that they all wanted to come into the mission.

Jakayu worked as a baker at the mission and several stations before moving to Strelley station for a time. In 1982 she moved to Punmu community. Jakayu has painted primarily in Punmu community, where she has continued to live surrounded by her children and grandchildren, teaching her granddaughters about their history and country.

Photograph courtesy and copyright Tobias Titz.

Photo of Jakayu Biljabu

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