Peggy Patrick

Warmun Art Centre

Peggy Patrick, has done just about every job that anyone in the Kimberley, man or woman, could have done during the twentieth century apart from helicopter pilot. She has been stockman, drover, station cook, brick maker, windmill mechanic, electrician, barmaid, housekeeper, dressmaker, fencer, nurse, midwife, painter, teacher, singer, dancer, story teller, hunter and keeper of traditional law.

She grew up in the bush learning everything practical, artistic and spiritual connected with traditional life and has the respect of her peers as a law woman. She has been involved in the political and cultural life of the East Kimberley in many ways including time as a member of the Kimberley Land Council (KLC), the Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre (KALACC) and the Warmun Executive Committees. She was chairperson of Nine-Mile Community (Gooda-Gooda) at Wyndham for nine years. She was also chairperson of Daiwul Gidja Culture Centre working in association with Argyle Diamond Mine to run a successful cross-cultural exchange program.

She has been involved in or touched by all kind of significant historical events. Her family was deeply affected by the tragic events associated with the invasion by Europeans, losing many relations in the Mistake Creek massacre and other relations in the poisoning described in the Joonba first staged at the Telstra Art Award in September 2000. She was a signatory to the first Argyle agreement when the diamond mine started and was deeply involved in the development of the new agreement signed in 2005. She was in Paris dancing Lirrga and the Gurirr-gurirr dreamed by Rover Thomas when Princess Diana died and she met Nelson Mandela in America.

Patrick was born near the Ord River close to the site of present day Kununurra. Her bush name Dirrmingali refers to the brightness of the red rock of Kelly’s Knob in the late afternoon. Her other name Barratjil belongs to women of Naangari skin and the eagle dreaming that goes with that skin. It refers to the way the eagle dives to grab his prey with feet outstretched.