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When I was a little Girl with all my mates, 2018

by Shirley Purdie

“This was when I was a little girl, and my mum bin working la station doing housework, I would sit a long way from the house, across the creek, near two trees and play with my mates. I had one pussycat, one galah, one little black dog and a kangaroo (joey). Because I am the eldest for the mum and my dad and I didn’t have no brother or sister at that time, when I was a little girl, so I had these mates instead. One time one walgaman (old woman) came along and she had a lot of dogs and they killed my cat. And I used to go up la station house to get some milk and one day the station owner asked me ‘where’s your cat’ and I bin told him that the dogs killed him. So the station manager went out with his gun and shoot all them dogs from that walgaman.”

Courtesy of Shirley Purdie (Nangari) and Warmun Art Centre

© National Portrait Gallery 2019
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Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia


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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Ngunnawal people, the traditional custodians of the land upon which the NPG stands.