This paper presents a selection of stories and commentaries by Aboriginal people of the Turkey Creek area, collected for a community social impact study.
The accounts extend from the early impact history of the area, about a century ago, through the pastoral working era, leaving cattle stations in the 1970s and building up new communities, to Aboriginal aspirations in the present. These present Aboriginal points of view; further historical information is presented in historical notes by Clement.
'The storytellers emphasise that there were both 'good' and 'bad' kartiya, people who treated them with constant consideration, as well as people known for violent behaviour. 'bad kartiya' evidently had little risk of being found out. Police were represented in both categories, some intervening on Aborigines' behalves, others killing Aboriginal people on occasions'.
'The introduction of award wages was used as a rationalisation by many of the cattle stations in this area for evicting resident Aboriginal communities. Some workers were permitted to remain, but many chose to leave with their extended families. The pastoral industry's miscalculation that the workers they required would remain without their relations caused loss of its stable workforce'.
'People moved to Halls Creek, Wyndham, and Turkey Creek (many Miriwoong and Gajirrawoong people were already in Kununurra following the flooding of Lake Argyle in the 1960s)'.
'In 1979-80 the new community was confronted with the imminent development of the Argyle Diamond Mine. Sacred sites were damaged, and the people feared the effects of a large mining town nearby. Their attempts to use legislative rights were unsuccessful, the Sate Government of the day being firmly behind the mining company. This was a traumatic and divisive period'.
'Nowadays members of the community prefer to emphasise their limited gains in negotiating protection of some of the sacred sites and obtaining some recompense from the company. They recognise that they had no hope of stopping the mine, and are relieved that many of the potential effects have been contained by ADM's avoidance of a town and control of it's workers'.