Behind the wheel driving through the mining fields, Norman tells us that they used to get into his old Landrover to hunt kangaroo for meat, sometimes hitting the animal with the car. They would take about five or six 'roo back for the old people. Norman would go with a pick and crowbar to dig around where a white man in a bulldozer had dug a trench to search for opals. But, says Norman, that was before grog. When the pub opened in Coober Pedy in 1966, the old people started drinking then, and his friends 'humbugged him to chuck in for booze’. Summary by Romaine Moreton.
An interesting glimpse into the shift in lifestyle that occurred as the result of the introduction of alcohol. Norman Hayes Jagamarra presents as a responsible individual who resisted alcohol abuse and did not compromise his responsibility in providing for the old people. Norman is an elder who refuses to not work and receive ‘sit down money’, and whose personal beliefs challenge the mainstream stereotype of Aboriginal people.
A documentary about Mr Norman Hayes Jagamarra who was a 'noodler’ on the mining fields of Coober Pedy.
Norman Hayes Jagamarra takes us back to the mining fields of Coober Pedy where he was a noodler after droving and brick making work dried up in his young years. An interesting tale of one man’s experience of noodling, and the sense of community he shared with other Indigenous people whilst doing this work. Most importantly, he refers to the old people who were already there, and gives recognition to the Indigenous people of the area. It allows us to ponder the effects of the dispossession that opal mining caused for the peoples who were the original custodians of the Coober Pedy area.
This program has also screened on NITV, National Indigenous Television.
Notes by Romaine Moreton
This clip shows Norman Hayes Jagamarra driving through the country around Coober Pedy, recalling when he and the old people hunted kangaroo and searched for opal, a time he describes as being ‘before grog’. A long tracking shot of the township of Coober Pedy filmed from a moving car has a voice-over of Jagamarra talking about the introduction of alcohol when the pub opened in 1966. Jagamarra’s narration is in Aboriginal English and accompanied by English subtitles and nostalgic music.
Education notes provided by The Learning Federation and Education Services Australia