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Book spine

John in class

Betty Patric

Sade illustrating

Sade drawing

Art jedda


Choose art

Kids in helicopter


Making the Book

THE COVER ILLUSTRATION is of the topography of the area in which the women's sacred site was located, it is now a diamond mine. The red dots represent the trail of the totemic species that was significant to this site, detail on this relationship the women had with this species is contained in Queenie's story in this book.

The location that Queenie's story and this book covers is a vast area in the East Kimberley, shown within the map below, at the top of Western Australia. This area is known intimately by the traditional owners - Indigenous people - of the area, who are now known as the 'Texas Mob'.


"Every rock, every hill, every water,
I know that place, backwards and forwards, up and down, inside out.
It's my country and I got names for evey place". QUEENIE

Peter Devenish Kimberley based photographer Peter Devenish provided many of the stunning landscapes in the book, with well developed knowledge of the Kimberley and its many moods Peter was able to capture the environment in a way that people connect with it. Peter traveled by helicopter with the author and elder Patrick Mung to visit and photograph the sites that Patrick considered were most important to Queenie's story.
Geoscience Australia This stunning satellite image, showing Argyle Diamond Mine, became the beautiful end papers of the book; the image was generously contributed by Geoscience Australia and prepared by John Creasey. Acknowledgement also goes to Gayle Young for her professional advice during the development of maps within the book, particularly her revision of the map depicting the trail of the Barramundi.
Landgate Ken Leighton and Stuart Djilkin of Landgate generously created the maps that are at the commencement of all of the book chapters. Each of these detailed and beautifully presented maps contain the area that depicts Queenie's life story in that chapter.
Mike Britza
Mike Britza also a Kimberley based photographer, specialises in bird photography. MIke generously provided all of the bird images for Queenie's book, to show the species that were encapsulated in her stories, such as the story of Owl - that is also depicted in the rock art shown in the book.
Greg Weight
The Black and White photograph of Queenie shown on the slip cover of the limited edition (see book sample) was taken by award winning Photographer, Greg Weight A version of this photo is held in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery Canberra, Australia
Jennifer Joi Field, the author, photographed the Kimberley on her many walks, and bush trips with the women of the community, while working and living in the Kimberley such as the images of Purnululu.


A small oral history project was carried out with the high school aged kids of Ngalangangpum School. The intention was to teach the kids how to interview their elders from Texas Downs to gather stories about Queenie. Patrick Mung and his wife Betty told the class about their memories of Queenie when they all lived on their traditional lands. Betty told of the story of how Queenie saved her life as a tiny baby when she had rescued her from an ant nest, a story that had been passed down over many years without a need to write it down. Betty did not say why she had been left there, she was more interested in telling how much she owed her life to Queenie, and how Queenie had picked her up and brushed the ants and dirt from her tiny face.

Betty's daughter Sade also came into the classroom to teach the kids about the Ganggamerl story where the mythological woman stole a boy. Sade then drew a picture of the old woman in the story. Patrick and Betty then decided that if the kids painted the story Sade told them that they would choose the best two paintings, one done by a girl and one a boy, and the winners were to go on a trip.

Boarding helicopterThe owner of the Kimberley based helicopter business, Heliworks, had generously offered to provide a helicopter for a few hours so that elder Patrick Mung could take a couple of the high school kids out to see the place that the Dreamtime woman Ganggamerl had flown across the cliffs when she stole the boy - a distant place they had never seen. For Patrick to drive out to this place takes a very long time, and as it is now part of the large cattle station Patrick was eager to find a way to get back out there, to one of his favorite places that is now so hard for him to visit. Patrick is also very concerned, as most elders are that the kids are now not getting to be taken out to visit the special places that hold the stories of their ancestors, and slowly these are being forgotten.

Jedda and Walon were the lucky two and they all boarded the helicopter to fly out to Red Butte, the magnificent red mountain where Ganggamerl still to this day inhabits a cave hidden in the back of the cliff. This is also the place that Queenie's grandfather was buried in a tree many years ago, at the base of the cliff overlooking the mighty Ord River.

Class lesson

This was a bittersweet day for all of us who flew out to Wirdim (Red Butte) on Texas Downs Cattle Station. Patrick and the kids were overjoyed with the opportunity to visit their ancestral land. As we stood at the base of the enormous red cliff of Wirdim Patrick began to tell the stories handed down to him by his elders, as had been done in the exact location for hundreds of years. Jedda and Walon listened intently as they each stared at the huge red cliff across the mighty river. Finally they were seeing the home of the scary women from the Dreamtime that they had heard about all of their life from all of their elders, the story that Sade so dynamically brought to life in her drawing.

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