By TED JABANGARDI EGAN
I was Superintendent at Yuendumu from 1957 to 1963.
In 1959, an outstanding group of children finished their primary education at Yuendumu. One of them was Jagamara Nelson, aged about 15.
They were all full of energy and we slotted them into “apprenticeships”.
Jagamara (pictured) trained as a mechanic under a lovely chap named Max Trenowden and they remained friends for life. He was a competent mechanic and a superb welder, oxy and arc.
We were just embarking on the development of Yuendumu Cattle Company and Jagamara made all the stockyard gates, among many other things.
I started Yuendumu Football Club (Aussie Rules) in 1958 and Jagamara was undoubtedly the best footballer to emerge, from absolute scratch. He was a tenacious rover. In later life he was an inspirational worker for “Community Footy”.
He left Yuendumu around 1960 to attend Kormilda College, Darwin, as a trainee teacher.
He was an outstanding student at Kormilda and returned to Yuendumu briefly thereafter.
Jagamara was in much demand for the many “land rights” gatherings convened around Australia in those turbulent years.
In the late 1960s Professor Colin Tatz began a course of “Aboriginal Studies” at all Teachers Colleges throughout Australia and for two years Jagamara and I were on Colin’s team.
Jagamara was very popular, particularly as he painstakingly took trainee teachers through the intricacies of the Warlpiri kinship system.
Over recent years as we grew old together. Jagamara and I did not see all that much of one another, but I always knew I had a wise, knowledgeable friend to discuss issues with.
Photo courtesy of theCentral Land Council, with permission of Mr Nelson’s family.