Gillian Stewart shared information regarding Glenda Brown nee Kinchela of Moree district who’s relative (Wiragi/Kamilaroi origins) was one of the instigators of the original 1930s Day of Mourning, the precursor of Australia’s National Sorry Day. Glenda is currently employed as an Aboriginal Liaison officer with Port Stephens Police Area Command.
Gillian added that her own married name was Charchalis and that her husband was initiated by Walter Smith, first born son of Topsy and Bill Smith. She, herself was adopted by Walter and his second wife. Gillian wrote, “These events occurred in late 1966 after my husband Nick had been spending a lot of time with Walter Smith being taught Arrernte (Arunta) ways.”
Two of Walter Smith’s nieces are aboriginal artists Fay and Carlene Lavender. Their art is on display at the Arltunga Aboriginal Art Gallery. Fay wrote that Walter Smith “was the last surviving ‘Senior Lawman’ for the eastern Aranda people. When he died much of our people’s secret laws were never to be revealed again, as there was no one fully qualified to receive them.” Carlene was born in Alice Springs, home of Topsy Smith.
Christine Donnellan, the granddaughter of Topsy Smith, stated: Topsy Smith “was a tough lady, bringing her children and many goats to Alice Springs, the goats fed the children and there is a hill in the middle of the town name billy-goat hill after my grandmother’s goats, her four daughters was taken from her and taken to South Australia to work as domestics. Two of the daughters Ada (my mum) and Jean when they were old enough came back to Alice Springs and took their mother out of the Bungalow and looked after her.”
How wonderful to learn so much about these interesting Aborigines.
For more information, consider a book written by Dick Kimber “Man From Arltunga: Walter Smith-Australian Bushman.” It is an informative biography of Smith’s life.