Hooker Creek

Whilst I was at Lajamanu I would sleep in  a swag  on the verandah of the Learning Centre, rise before dawn, quickly  dress,  then  walk around the township  taking photos before the early morning  light became too bright.

I usually ended up in the Hooker Creek area and wandering along the dry river bed as this gave me more time  for photography. The township is on the eastern side of  Hooker Creek. The creek is normally dry and a flooded Hooker Creek is  a rare occurrence in the Wet season at  Lajamanu.

tree, Hooker Creek

tree, Hooker Creek

Lajamanu used to be known as Hooker Creek circa 1948 –1978 . That was when it was a government settlement which also included  a Baptist mission from the 1960s. Government here means the Commonwealth government since  1 January 1911 marked the date  in which the Northern Territory became the responsibility of the Commonwealth.  At the time there was a belief that Aboriginal people were an inferior and doomed race.

Some held the view that full blood Aboriginal people would die out in within a few generations, and the best thing that government policy makers could do for them was to provide a comfortable existence until that happened. Settlement meant the Chief Protector was empowered to assume the care, custody or control of any Aboriginal or half-caste if, in his opinion, it was necessary or desirable in the interests of that person for this to be done.

As the number of Aboriginal people rose rather than fell the Government’s policy after 1927  sought to convert Aboriginal people from being unproductive nomads to productive labourers in the pastoral industry.  This  helped lay the basis of assimilation which became official government policy 10 years later.

Assimilation meant that in the course of time all persons of Aboriginal birth or mixed blood would live like white Australians.  From around 1913 mixed descent children were  removed  from their families and placed in government institutions or transferred to church missions.

trees, Hooker Creek

trees, Hooker Creek

These Hooker Creek landscapes  were meant to be high tone.

One thought on “Hooker Creek

  1. Pingback: more Tanami landscapes | The Long Road to Lajamanu

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