Kayang (Hazel) Brown

Kayang Brown was born in 1925 and grew up in the lower south-west region around the Porongorups in Western Australia. She went to school for a while at the Gnowangerup mission until she was called ‘a heathen’ for speaking in her language. Kayang learnt how to farm from her father from a young age and could turn her hand to almost anything – from fencing to driving tractors to looking after the sheep at lambing time. In 2005, she had her stories published with Kim Scott in the book titled, Kayang and Me, published by Fremantle Press.

I am an Elder from the Wilomin Noongar. I was born in 1925 at Kendenup. My mother, Nelly Limestone married my father, Freddy Yiller in 1921. My father died in 1930 and my step-father, William Roberts (Noongar name, Tjinjel) reared me up. My parents worked on farms, such as for the Dunns in the Porongorups and the Moriarty family.

When I was seven I went to school for a while at the Gnowangerup mission but was called a heathen for speaking in language. So I left, and mum gave us lessons in reading and writing. We lived out in the bush during the Depression years. It was a hard life and my parents kept the family going on five shillings a week. We stayed at Needilup in Jerramungup, on farms, went everywhere. You went where the work was. My father taught me how to clear the land and work on farms. I did all types of work – mallee root picking, driving tractors, fencing and clearing. When I was 15 years old, I looked after a farm for seven weeks while my father was in hospital. This meant looking after 2,000 sheep when the ewes were lambing, and 40 pigs.

I married Harry Brown in 1947. Our children were born in Borden and went to school there. In the 1970s I moved to Perth. Kim Scott and I published our stories in Kayang and Me in 2005.

Kayang Brown and the Quaalup bells in Fitzgerald River National Park

Kayang Brown and the Quaalup bells in Fitzgerald River National Park



Kayang (Hazel) Brown talks about bush tucker

Kayang (Hazel) Brown talks about family

Kayang (Hazel) Brown talks about getting food from farms

Kayang (Hazel) Brown talks about making fire

Kayang (Hazel) Brown talks about respecting the Elders

Kayang (Hazel) Brown talks about the foods available growing up




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