Doolann Leisha Eatts

Aunty Doolann Leisha Eatts is a Ballardong woman. She grew up in the south-west, where she says, she was part of two worlds. Aunty Doolann tells stories of her life in the bush. How she made lanterns with her siblings from Sunshine Milk tins and salvaged Archie comics from the tip. She recounts the story from her grandmother of when the Europeans arrived on the Swan River. How they brought these strange and frightening looking creatures. When they came galloping, white men on their backs, down to Doolann’s grandmother’s camp, she knew, ‘they were caught between two cultures now’.

I am a Whudjuk Ballardong woman. I was born on 12th October, 1939 and grew up at Tammin and Badjaling Mission.

My earliest memory is of being Nyungah; sitting around the campfire with my grandmother, aunties and uncles, mum and dad, listening to Dreamtime stories. My grandmother told and retold me about growing up in Kings Park in the mid-nineteenth century.

My father worked on farms around Kellerberrin and Tammin, doing poison-picking, fencing and clearing the land; all for low wages. My family survived cooking dampers, kangaroo stews, collecting honey, and using quandong nuts to make jam.

As I was fair skinned, my mother was afraid the Welfare would take me away. I was admitted to Quairading Hospital for four days and the Native Welfare received information about me and came looking to see me. When my mother took the horse and cart into town, she hid me under blankets. Later, white farmers offered our family to live on their property. My dad always accepted so as to get away from the contact of the Native Welfare.

I taught myself to read from books and comics I found at the tip. I was forced to leave school at age fourteen and worked on the land with my parents. But I continued to borrow books and comics from my brother, Willy, and his partner, Amie.

I experienced racism in several country towns. Nyungah people weren’t allowed to eat or drink in restaurants or bars; we were served last when buying groceries and were sold the worst vegetables available.

In my story I like Nyungah spelt the way I spell it.

Audio

Doolan Leisha talks about Noongar people working together to protect children from being removed

Elder Doolann Leisha Eatts talks about her earliest memories of being Nyungah

Elder Doolann Leisha Eatts talks about her father working on farms and getting ‘rooked ‘(cheated)

Elder Doolann Leisha Eatts talks about her totem the bobtail

Elder Doolann Leisha Eatts talks about hunting and gathering

Elder Doolann Leisha Eatts talks about her Grandmother’s story of contact with the Europeans

Elder Doolann Leisha Eatts talks about Nyungah ways of knowing

 

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