Cross cultural histories—a desert perspective - Jan Turner

When: 05:15pm - 21/08/2019

Location: Stirling House 49 Broadway Nedlands

The launch of Early Days 2018 will take place at 5.15pm

In any discussion of another culture, another’s country, others’ stories, there are many challenges both for those whose lives, culture and country are being discussed and for the presenter. This talk seeks to present a fresh perspective on the period of first contact between Indigenous people in the Gibson Desert and foreigners. Significantly, this Contact dates from the 1960s through to 1987 and was associated with the arrival of strangers descending from the air in helicopters, satellites and vapour trails appearing in the skies, with the lights and sounds of aeroplanes. Over many years the stories of first Contact have been told, often in fragmented form, on location, around the campfire and more recently have been recorded on film. Between 2009-2014 Jan and Daisy Ward began working with film makers on the Indigenous Community Stories project, operating through the Film and Television Institute and ScreenWest. More details were collected during native title research. These stories, as Indigenous oral historical research materials, now have the potential to become accessible to a wider audience.


Jan Turner began working with desert people of Central Australia in 1987 when she was employed as an anthropologist with the Pitjantjatjara Council based in Alice Springs. Over the years she made lasting friendships whilst working for several employers on a diverse range of projects: mineral exploration, women’s health, native title. These friendships have focussed particularly on Ngaanyatjarra and Mantjiltjarra families associated with the Ngaanyatjarra Lands and the Gibson Desert of WA. In Daisy Tjuparntari Ward, Jan found a friend, sister and colleague. Together they have developed cross-cultural methodologies for research using oral histories, Indigenous artforms and films to represent non-English speaking, orally transmitted desert cultures.

Event information: Cross cultural histories—a desert perspective - Jan Turner

Booking information

Refreshments available from 5.30pm; Bookshop open until 6pm.

Cost $5.00 donation at the door