Tracker Mick Kapetye was from Etwerrpe Country and spent much of his life working on cattle stations. In his later years he lived at Alekarenge, where he did a lot of work with linguist Harold Koch. In this story Tracker Mick recalls a droving expedition in which he and Don Ross were part of, probably in the 1940s. They took cattle from Murray Downs station to Alice Springs. Mick told most of the story, getting confirmation on things from Don as he talked. At the time of this muster, Alf Morris was the manager at Murray Downs station.



Artweye inengepe alpenherre ahangkwerrepe, alpenhengerne alpenhengerne atantherre alpenhelke.

The Aboriginal men had returned from a fight; they came back and then went again.


Arlwename musterem-ayley-ernalpenhe.

They were all mustered up again (by a station manager).


Arntewantarrenherre alpenherre aynernantheee, Antyimele-warle.

We separated into groups and came back to Antyimele.


Aylenepe repe rlwampe repe, erlkwe awelengke Alf Morris-kwange,

We, that bossy Alf Morris and I,


we bin mpel-arenherre artweye-therre atherrarte arlwenarre alpenherre tyangkwerre.

we saw and followed the tracks of two men, who then turned and went that way.


Renhelke repe ampilenye aylene.

We then followed the tracks again.


Part-aperte intarenhe.

But we let them go.


Artweye-therrepe apenherre Aharlpere-warle.

The two men went back to Aharlpere (near Near Store, Utopia).


Erlkwe bin there again. I think.

That old man was there too.


Erlkwe Ned, akarntenge wenharte old 'Kwetyepetyange'.

Old Ned, that short one "Kwetyepetyange".


He bin there again he bin working Jack Bohning-we.

He was there too, he was working for Jack Bohning.


Jack Bohning repe apenhengerne again nthewarlarte,

that Jack Bohning he came there too.


Jack Bohning now apenhengerne nthewarlarte.

Jack Bohning, yeah he came there too.


Aynekanthe short musterem-ayleyayne apmere ntharenyartepe.

We were all mustering at that place.


Tyelarte Amperentyele aneyayne, manager.

He was the manager at Amperentye (Singleton Station).


Old Ned-pe Errtywerlenyenge-theye apenhengerne,

Old Ned he came from Errtywerlenye.


Errtywerlenyeng-arenye-rtame re.

He was from Errtywerlenye.


Nthelartepe aynanthe aneyayne.

He used to stay there.


Pwelekepe ileyaynenke-eee, no arrerew-athathe nhartepe turn, nhartepe arril-arrile nhartepe alpeyayne.

We mustered the c


"Ya, akngerrake-rtame aynanthe arlwene apmere Arreparlere-warle Arreparlere-rtame water hole repe Johnson's Hole-rtame re.


Nthelarte aynanthe aneyayne.

We got the cattle from around that area. The manager was staying there at Amperentye (Old Singleton station, east of where the station is today). Old Ned came from Errtywelenyenge (Old Greenwood station), he's from Errtywelenyenge. We stayed there at Old Singleton station. Then we got the cattle that weren't close by, we had to turn and go past them. "Yeah, we'll go east and return back to Arreparlere. Thats what they call Johnson's waterhole, Arreparlere. We stayed there.


Nthetheyartepe twep-twepe alpenherre pwelekepe alperinenyerre.

From there we went around with the cattle.



We went to Atnhamere.


Apmere Atnhamere tyewarlarte.

To this place Atnhamere



To Ertnwareye we went


(Akngerrake) Ertnwareyelke aynanthe aneyayne.

Ertwareye is to the east and we stayed for a bit.


Nthetheyartepe pwelekepe ileyayne-ee. Nthetheyarte kwenel-aperte alperineyayne mpelarte.

From there we mustered the cattle. Then we would take them from there down hill like that.


Nharte alperinenyerre kwenelepe.

We took the cattle down hill.


Erlkwerre aynanthe arrtyeyalpenhe pwelekewepe.

We stopped halfway with the cattle.


Ngwetyanpe aynantharre kwerarl-apertame musterem-ayleyayne apmere Alewatyerratyentye-arle? NOT SURE AROSS.

In the morning we mustered the cattle at ?


Warratyentyele watchemaylenyerre nthelarte last-lke arenge.

We watched the cattle at Warratyene for the last time.


Nhartepe aynanthe Alf Morrisele waylpelele aynekantherre warle-warle aperinenyerre.

Then after that Alf Morris that whitefella took us to the house.


Wante aynekantherre etnyenyerre? Mantarre.

He gave us some things like clothes.


Arrerewathenge mpele.

it was for a long journey.


Nhartepe aynantherre alperinenye antekerre-penhelke.

Then he took us all the way to the south.


Alpenhe aynanthe-ee elkwerre enwey-alpenhe.

We travelled for a while then we camped halfway.


No more... Make-rtame aynantherre aperineyayne road-le,

No more, you think we travelled along a road.


arlenge-angkwerre aynanthe aperineyayne artety-angkwerre, rlwanth-angkwerre.

We took the cattle along thick mulga scrublands.


No road-le aperineyayne kwereyengewe, peyake-rtame.

We didn't take the cattle along the main road.


Tneyele apmere-warle artwey-alpeyayne alhileyayne erlkwe repe cook-rtame anter-anterineyayne.

From there we took the cattle right around to Atnhamere, to there, Atnhamere. And then to Ertnwareye (a pound north of Murry Downs) and we camped there. From there we kept taking the cattle. We took the cattle downhill. The old man was happy because he had his cattle. In the morning we went back and mustered again, taking them to Alewatyerretyentye, where there is a waterhole and a gap. Alewatyerretyentye was the last place we would be watching them. The whitefella took us back to the station. What did he give us? Clothes. The house wasn't close by. We took the cattle south. We kept going and camped halfway to the station. It wasn't really a road, only a long bush track though the mulga, through the scrub. There was no road to take them on. Eventually we got to the station and took all the things off the horses. There were a few cooks at that place.


Kweretheye aynantherre alperineyayne apmere Arrelthartnenge-warle aynanthe watchem-ayleyayne.

After that we took the cattle down to New Barrow Bore and watched them there.


Nhartepe aynanthe alperineyayne wele-warlelke arntwe etnyenyerre.

Then we took the cattle to the well to water them.


Nhartepe aynanthe anteyerr-apertame alpenherre dinner-penhe apmere nhantewarle?

Then after dinner we travelled down south to that place?


Apmere Arratherrketyenge kwerarle now.

To that place Arratherrketyenge now.


Mpelarte altemarle aynanthe pweleke arrtyey-alpenhe altemarle.

we watched the cattle on the west side.


Arrtyeyayne, Arratherrketyenge kwerarle nthelarte altemarle alpawele. Arrtyeyayne.

After we took the cattle to New Barrow and watched them there. We took them to the well to give them water. After lunch we took them south to Arratherrketyenge, a waterhole on the 9 mile creek. We minded the cattle west out there, where those big open spaces are at Arratherrketyenge. We minded them there.


Nharte rlwampe erlkwe-yene, atnkwarengele ahalaytnewene you know,

There was this old man who would wake us up very early like when the morning star was just coming up.


akwerralye wenharte lwematnenkepe, rlwenewepe.

Just as the morning star was coming up.


Artnpenhengerne ayenge erlwepe ayenge nhartepe pwenge-rtame.

I got up and ran, my eyes were not wide awake.


Dish-larlenge atye artwampelenye arntwelke wenhe nante repe erlwarre wenhe washem-ayleyayne.

I went and bumped into a dish full of water, one he used for washing faces in.


Erlkwe atyenge angkenhe "Hey arntwe-rtame nhartepe mpele"

He said to me "hey that is water you know.


Arrkantepe ayenge anyaperte thapele-thapele alperineyayne.

I went back laughing to myself.


Rlwenepe ayney-alpenhe.

I went back and ate my food.


Blanket-pe atye rollemup-aylenyerre.

In the early hours of the morning that old white man used to call out. When the morning star was just coming up. I ran there with my eyes still closed. I bumped into the dish of water where the old man used to wash his face. The old man said to man "Thats a dish of water!". Well I was laughing so much I couldn't walk straight. I went back and ate my breakfast. Then I rolled my swag.


Nantewe atye arntarrtyenhe.

I had to saddle my horse.


Nhartepe aynantherre apenherre apmere Awele-warle.

Then we went to a place called Awelhe.


Awele-leke dinner-pe ayneyayne.

We had dinner at Awelhe.


Awele-theyepe aynanthe apenherre mpelarte. (which way ?)

From Awelhe we went that way.


Awele-theye aynanthe alpenhe atnhant-arenge?

From Awelhe we went ? NOT SURE AROSS


Pernenanthelke, apmere Pernenanthelke aynewantheyenge Kaytetye-arenge apmere.

We went to Pwernenanthelke, to Pwernenanthelke we a place on Kaytetye country.


Pernenanthelke nthelarte aynanthe watchem-ayleyayne pweleke arrtyeyayne.

We watched over the cattle at Pwernenanhelke.


Nthetheyartepe ngwetyanpepe aynanthe pweleke alperinenyerre Yerntelengkwe-warle arntwarle wel-arle wetharlarte.

Then in the morning we took the cattle down to water at the well Yerntelengkwe.


Atnetherrpewarle wetharle.? NOT SURE AROSS

\k Atnetherrpewarle wetharle.? NOT SURE AROSS


Government wel-warle.

To Government Bore = Burns Well


Anthwenginenyerre nthelarte pwelekepe-ee.

We watered the cattle there.


Nhartepe aynanthe alpenhe arrerewanenye antekerrepenhe.

Then we travelled a very long way to the south.


Arrtyey-alpenhe pweleke.

I looked after the cattle. Then we went to Awele, where the Taylor Creek meets the Neutral Creek. Yeah we ate dinner at Awele. From Awele whose country did we go to? yeah Pernenanthe (near Limestone Bore) then, our country, Kaytetye country Pernenanthe. We minded the cattle at Pernenanthe. In the morning we took the cattle to Yerntelengkwe (where the highway crosses the Taylor creek). To the well there,at that place called Atnetherrpe (Burn's Well) where there is a government well. We gave the cattle water there. Then we kept going, a long way south, minding the cattle.


Nhartepe aynanthe alpenherre,

Then we went off again.


Alarreye-lkertame aney-alpenhe.

Then we stopped at Alarreye ( Stirling Station)


Stirling arrkerarre kwene apmere Alarreye ayerrer-ampenye.

Alarreye its near Stirling Station on the northern side.


Nthelarte aynanthe arrtyeyayne pwelekepe.

We watched over the cattle there.


Nthetheyartepe aynantherre alpenherre,

From there we took off again.


Stirling-lke rtame aynanthe arntwepe etnyey-alpenhe,

Then we watered the cattle at Stirling.


amarl-amerne arntwepe tank-warlepe yatheyayne,

Some women were getting water from the tank.


amarlinengele, artwey-inengepe alpenherre stockmen-inenge twerarte alpenhe.

It was only the women left, all the men had gone out on stock camps.


Dinne-pe nthelarte aynenyerre.

We headed off again and the next stop was a waterhole called Alarreye. Just down from Stirling, on the north side, is the place called Alarreye. We minded the cattle there. From there we went to Stirling and gave them water there. The women would fill the tanks with water, and the men, the stockmen would all leave. Thats where we had dinner.


Wele repe erlkwengepe arenhe nyartepe amarlinenge paperte mpele.

Well the old man(boss man) saw that there were women only at the camp.


No more arrere, aynekanthe akake tywerlele enwenhe.

He took us a long way from the camp to sleep. amarl-arlertame arlwene alperninenyerre?NOT SURE AROSS atnkwarengele.


Nhartepe alpenhee apmere mpwareyalpewethe Arlperrite well ampelarte. Arlperrite ? no more arrerre amarle-warle alwerne alperrtnyeme-ketye atnkwarengele Yeah Arlperritepe?NOT SURE AROSS now. Nthewarlarte enwey-alpenherre nthelarte. Apmere Artnperrepenhe aynanthe enwey-alpenhe.

Nhartepe alpenhee apmere mpwareyalpewethe Arlperrite well ampelarte. Arlperrite ? no more arrerre amarle-warle alwerne alperrtnyeme-ketye atnkwarengele Yeah Arlperritepe?NOT SURE AROSS now. Nthewarlarte enwey-alpenherre nthelarte. Apmere Artnperrepenhe aynanthe enwey-alpenhe.


Nthelarte erlkwenge akalty-etnyenyerre aweyawele ngkapmarlele, mpelangkerelarte nhartepe.

That old man who passed away did this before(went looking for women)thats why he (boos) took us a long to camp.


No arrere nharte aynanthe alpenherre nthepelartepe.

We went and made camp a long way.


Artnperrepenhe-theye Elepamperle-theye elkwerr-aperte enweyayne Elepamperle ngwetyanpe anthwenginenye.

From Artnperrepenhe we went onto Elepamperle but camped half way the we watered(the cattle)in the morning at Elepamperle.


Apmere Elepamperle wenhe, anthwenginenye ngwetyampe.

At this place Elepamperle, we watered in the morning.


Akngerrakelke aynanthe alpenherre mpelarte.

The we went off to the east.


Enwey-alpenherre aynanthe akngerrake.

It wasn't close. They might bring back a woman at night time. Yeah we camped at Arlperrite, north of Aileron. (The well is on the west side of the gap.) That old man, your uncle taught you about that (bringing women to camp). It wasn't close by where we camped. From Arlperritepe we camped halfway at Elepamperle, where we gave the cattle a drink in the morning. Then we went east. We camped east of there.


Nhartepe aynantherre ngwetyanpe anthwenginenyerre nantele? Then we were going to water(the cattle) in the morning where?

\k Nhartepe aynantherre ngwetyanpe anthwenginenyerre nantele? Then we were going to water(the cattle) in the morning where?


Apmere Aileron I think. Tyapenyeye.

I think it was at Aileron this time ( to water the cattle)


Akngerrakelke aynanthe alperinenyerre wethelarte nante-rtame apmere wanterteyange etnepe artweyarenge?

We took the cattle towards the east to that place I don't know the name of.


Swamp wenhe alkenhe?

It is a big swamp.


Nthewartelke etnyey-alpenhe pwelekepe.

It wasthere that we gave water(to the cattle)


Nthetheyartepe aynanthe enwey-alpenhe arrerewanenye apertame.

From there we took off and camped not far from that place.


Apmere wethelarte Arwelthele, atwatye wethele.

At a place called Arwelte, in the gully(we camped)


Mpelarte mwernakeletheye enwey-alpenhe.

We made camp on the other side.


Aparte erlkwepe alpeyayne Ah, nthetheyartepe aynanthe alpenherre

That old man(boss) he went very fast.


kartartelke aynanthe alpeyayne amarle-ketye amarlinenge-ketye aneyayne arlengertame.

From there we went along slowly and if there were women around , we would make camp a long way.


Arrewethelke aynanthe enwey-alpenherre.

We went and camped at Arrewelthe.


apmere Nhamernele aynanthe enwey-alpenhe alpawele, alpawe-theye ngwetyanpe runem-lkaylenye apmere Arrkeyamernewe.

We camped at Anhamere which is sandy country, then in the morning we ran the cattle into Arrkeyaneme.


Arntwepe (arntwenge) anthwenginenyerre arrertame Arrkeyaneme.

Then wherabouts did we give them water? At Aileron I think, yeah at a place like that. Then we took them east to where? Whats the Aboriginal name for that place, that big swamp? There we went to give them water. From there we went and camped a long way. We camped at Arwelthe, Native Gap. We camped north of the gap. The old man was worried we might run into women, all those women, but they were a long way. And so we camped over there at Nhamerne, where there is a bore, at that big open country. From there we took them to Arrkeyaneme where there is a government bore.


Arrkeyamerne kwerenge (Alyawarr), |

From Arrkeyaneme.


alperlewew ? (Alyawarr)aynanthe alpenhe aynantherre, apmere Etnyekenhe.

We went onto a place called Etnyekenhe.


Etnyekenhe-rtame aneyayne, etnepe Etnyekenhe rockhole-rtame alkenhe arnerre.

We stayed at Etnyekenhe, Etnyekenhe is a big rockhole.


Arnerre-rtame re alkenhe.

It is a big rockhole.


Arrertame re Gillen Bore lke kwere etnewerrantye waylpelele.

It is now called Gillen Bore by the white man.


Nthelartelke aynanthe arrtyey-alpenhe pwelekepe.

We watched over the cattle there.


Nthetheyartepe aynanthe apmere Burt-warlelke aynanthe alpenhe.

From thee we went onto a place called Burt well.


Dam-lke wenhe alkenhe mpele altemarle.

There is a big dam to the west of there.


Nthelarte aynanthe arrtyeyayne.

We watched over the cattle there.


"Ah nantewarenyeletherrelke arrtyewernawe, pwelekepe" Alf Morris-le waylpelelepe angkenke!

From Arrkeyamerne we went to Etnyekenhe, Gillen Bore (on Yamba estate). Thats a rockhole, a big rockhole called Etnyekenhe. In English they call it Gillen Bore. We went there minding the cattle. Then we went to Burt plain. There is a big dam there on the west side. We minded the cattle there. "OK, you two horsetailors mind the cattle here" That old whitefella, Alf Morris said.


"Errwanthe pwelek-areny-inengele washem-aylewerne shirt" (mantarrinenge) mpele.

'You mob who look after the cattle can wash your clothes now'.



This was Saturday.


Washem-ayleyayne-ee aneyayne nthelarte.

We did our washing and stayed there.


Nharte Sunday-lepe nantew-arenyele washem-aylenye,

Then on Sunday it was time for the mob who looked after the horses to do there washing.


aynanthe-rtame pwelekelke arrtyeyayne.

Then we (who done our washing) would go back to watch over the cattle.


Monday-lepe rtnterarrenhe (monday-pe aynanthe apenhe).

On Monday we took off again.


Errernperne elkwerre wethelarte wanterteyange?

Half way at Errerperne ?


McGrath atantherre etnewerrantye,

I think you call it McGrath Creek.


kwerarlarte now arrtyey-alpenhe pwelekepe nthelarte enwey-alpenhe.

We stayd there now with the cattle and camped there for the night.


Kwerelarte aynanthe arrtyey-alpenhe.

"You mob who have been working with the cattle can have a day off to wash your clothes". It was Saturday. We washed our clothes there. On Sunday the two horsetailers washed their clothes while we looked after the cattle. On Monday we set off. Halfway at Errernperne (Burt Creek, at Burt Well) there we camped - whats it called? McGrath they call it. Thats where we camped and minded the cattle.


Nthetheyartepe aynanthe alpenherre,

From there we went to.


kwerewarlelke nant-arenge?

To where not sure?


Apmere wanterteyange etnepe artweyarengepe 16 mile artntwerantyenke.

That place that man call 16 Mile.


Artweye arenge etne there atye alwenkinenye kwere (Atekerre). Nthelarte aynanthe enweyayne.

I forgot the aboriginal name for tha place. Its where we camped.


Nhartepe ngwetyanpe aynanthe anthwenginenyerre nharte borepe atnteyerre.

Then we watered the cattle in the morning at a bore on the south side.


Nhartepe artnteng-aperte arrtyey-alpenhe kwerele.

we went on to a gully and watched the cattle there.


Nthetheyartepe akngerrakelke aynanthe alpenhe.

From there we went east.


Dinner-pe aynanthe ayney-alpenhe apmere nantele?

We had dinner at that place?


Wiggely-le (Altyarte). Pwelekinenge anthwengineyayne.

At Wiggley we watered the cattle.


Nthetheyartepe aynantherre alpenhe altemarlelke arrtyey-alpenhe pwelekele atwatyelelke.

from there we went west and watched over the cattle in a gully.


Aynanthepe altyarrenherrearrerelke aynewanthe apmere, arrerelke mpele.

we were feeling happy as we knew we were getting closer to home.


Aynanthe finish-arreyep-arreme. Arrerelkame.

Its getting closer to finishing the job.


Kweretheyarte aynanthe alpenherre, tneyele trucking yard.

We kept going until we reached the trucking yards.


Pwelekepe akwenherre.

We took the cattle into the holding yards.


Erlkwe aynekanthe angkenhengerne.

The old man(boss) spoke to us.


awenyerre-penhe rlengke watchem-ayleye now, watchem-ayleyayne alel-aperte.

"you mob have only one more nihgt to watch over the cattle".


Watchem-ayleyayne aynanthe alele.

You mob stay here and keep watch


Erlkwepe angkenhe "alewe-rtame awenyerre-penharte rlengke watchemayleye" erlkwe repe angkenhe, Ipmangker-arenye.

The old man said"You mob can watch just for tonight one night", that old man (boss) from Murry Downs.


"Awenyerrepenhe boys, awenyerrepenhe" mpele.

After that we went. Where did we go to? Whats its Aboriginal name, that place they call 16 mile. (Atekerre). We camped there. In the morning we gave the cattle a drink from the bore, the bore just to the south. We minded them at the hills there. From there we went east. We ate lunch where? at Wiggleys, Altyarte. We gave the cattle a drink there. From there we went west with the cattle, to the gap. We were feeling really happy then because we were nearly there, town was very close now. That was where we would finish up. "Oh we'll finish soon" From there we went to Trucking yard. We put the cattle in there. Our boss said "You've got to watch them for one night now" That old white fella, our boss from Murry Downs said "OK boys, one more night." like that.


Altyarrenhelke aynanthe. Watchem-aylenyerre aynanthe no yard-warle akwenherre apeyakaperte,

We got happy. When we watched over the cattle in the open and not in the yards.


anwenger-aperte aynanthe arrtyenyerre.

we just kept them outside in the open.


Mpelarte watchem-aylenyerre ankwe enwengewanenye (?) atnkwenge atengewanenyele, peyakelelke.

We were so happy that we didn't feel tired and sleepy.


Like we bin alperninenyelke altyarrenhe you know,

We were happy because it was time for us to come home.


alperninenyelke altyarrenhe aynernanthe.

We were happy to come back home.


Nhartepe aynanthe pwelekepe ngwetyanpe alperinenyerre Trucking yard-warle.

Then in the morning we took the cattle to the trucking yards.


Truckem-aylenye-ee akelye-akelye tangkwele

We put the calves on first and then the rest of the cattle.


alkenh-alkenhe-ee aytnarretheraytenye. (?)

We were so happy, we were watching the cattle, as there was no yards, and not even sleeping. We were so happy from bringing the cattle all this way that we didn't even sleep. In the morning we took the cattle to Trucking yard. We put them in the trucks then, the small ones first and then that was the last of the cattle.


Nyartepe tyangkwer-arenyelke.?

Nyartepe tyangkwer-arenyelke.?



They were from Undoolya.


Kwereyengelke akwenherre pwelekepe train-pe awenyerrarte-rtame.

Both herds of cattle from Murry Downs and Undoolya were put on the one train.


Kwereyenge antengetheye akwenhe-ee finishem-aylenyerre.

His mob of cattle went on until the last of his cattle.


Then cattle form a different station went on, the Undoolya cattle. They put their cattle on one train. Theirs was the last mob of cattle to be trucked. Then we were finished.END OF TAPEam FINISHED TAPE ON 30TH JUNE AT 9;00 PM BY AROSS

Then cattle form a different station went on, the Undoolya cattle. They put their cattle on one train. Theirs was the last mob of cattle to be trucked. Then we were finished.END OF TAPEam FINISHED TAPE ON 30TH JUNE AT 9;00 PM BY AROSS