LANGUAGE GROUP: Wangkatjungka
COMMUNITY: Wangkatjungka, WA
Biddee Baadjo, a senior Wangkatjungka woman, was born around 1938 near Purrpurn, a natural spring waterhole, in her ancestral country in the Great Sandy Desert, Western Australia. When Biddee was just a baby, she was snatched by an eagle from her coolamon, a dish-shaped vessel made of hardened bark, while her parents were hunting for bush tucker. Biddee's mother saw the eagle descend upon and swoop away with the child, and chased after it. The eagle dropped Biddee into a patch of spinifex grass where her mother found her crying. Biddee still wears the scars made from the eagle's claws.
In response to the formation of the historical Canning Stock Route , during the 1940's Biddee's family joined the exodus of people to what is presently the remote Wangkatjungka community located 120 km south -east of Fitzroy Crossing in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. A large part of the population travelled north towards Bililuna, or north-west following a trail of creek beds and waterholes, that headed toward the cattle station country of Fitzroy Crossing. Many found work on these cattle stations until the introduction of legislature in 1971 that demanded equal payment for Aboriginal station workers, which resulted in many worker s being displaced. Christmas Creek Station was established as what is now the historical gathering location for law ceremony and community meetings during the wet season.
Biddee currently lives at Wangkatjungka Community, located next to Christmas Creek station.
In 1994 the Karrayili Adult Education Centre was established at Wangkatjungka, which provided art materials to residents. Biddee became part of a group of community seniors devoted to painting the majestic stretches of sandhills and the sites of important waterholes that characterise their ancestral land. Biddees's bold bands of luminous colour stretch in every direction of the canvas, evoking the great expanse of desert and the all-important waterhole nestled between the rows of sand. She has exhibited her works extensively in Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Darwin. Biddee lives with her husband, fellow painter Luurn Willy Kew.