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Interview - Patrick Hume

Patrick Hume interviewed for the City of Cockburn Aboriginal Oral History Project (2001)

The City of Cockburn Aboriginal Oral History Project records and summarises the oral histories of eleven indigenous people with a custodial or cultural connection to the Cockburn district.



This is an edited transcript of the interview with Patrick Hume, speaking with Dr. Leonie Stella at Mr Hume’s home on 14 June 2001.

Leonie Stella (interviewer): Mr. Hume to test the tape would you please just state your name and date of birth?
Patrick Hume: Patrick Hume, I was born in 1926, the 6th of June.

LS: Thank you, so as I was just saying with Len, the most important thing that we want to get down in local history is the activities of Aboriginal people themselves in their own organisations, and things like that. But just to start with, can I ask you when you first came to Cockburn?
PH: When I first came to Fremantle it was 1933, and I have been here since 1933. I came here as a boy, and why we came here was the Aboriginal Affairs – Native Welfare – was taking the kids, and putting them in homes and that’s why Dad came to Fremantle. It was a working class city, a great Union place, and the unions stuck together. So we came to Fremantle, we came from Collie, we came in a horse and cart. From Collie we went to Armadale – I had cousins in Armadale, Mullarkies and Pryors, but they were Europeans. My Auntie married a white person, so we stayed there I think for 6 months, and then Dad rode a bike from there to Fremantle – from Armadale.

Then we got a house in South Lane, South Fremantle, from there we went to live in, I think it was Mandurah Road, South Fremantle just up from the Seaview pub, we rented a place there. And Dad was working for the sugar works then (CSR),casual work, and then he put up those big oil tanks used to be in Fremantle, those big concrete oil tanks, they’ve got some on the hill (near Steven Street) and they had some in that big cutting there at South Fremantle, the big quarry – some up on the hill up there near the Newmarket pub, behind there they put up those big oil tanks. Now it is all filled in though, that quarry. They took the oil tanks out, they stuck them up on the hill, see. If the Japs had bombed them it would have burnt Fremantle out. Yeah.

LS: So that was just before the war?
PH: Before the war they put them up, but then [later] they knocked them down. But when the war started – he used to go down to the Trades Hall, and they used to pick them up – they used to call them seagulls – pick them up as casual labour. They were bringing this Newcastle coal over in the ships and they used to put the coal in the holds. And then he got permanent on the wharf. And what they done, your name went into a barrel and if your number comes out you become permanent on the wharf – and he worked there until … I think it was ‘58 or ‘59 he got killed in a car accident. You know. But then he had bought a house in King Street, I think it was, he paid 82 pound for it, on a quarter acre block!


LS: Yeah, amazing…
PH: Yeah, amazing, so I grew up there as a kid. I used to play footie for the Fremantle Colts, I worked at Robbs on the chain, I worked on the chain, worked every season on the chain, I worked for the Apple Board, …

LS: Would you mind explaining for me what working on the chain means?
PH: The abattoirs, the sheep come along on a chain, you know. They had 6 chains going there, all the carcasses come along on a chain. So each one coming past…

LS: I see, like an assembly line?
PH: Yes, I used to work there every year – because it was seasonal work. Then there was plenty of work at the Apple Board, the Potato Board, Dalgetys, Elder Smiths, so there was plenty of work, you could choose your work anywhere. Yeah, you know. So you wasn’t tied down. But when the war started they manpowered you. You couldn’t do that anymore, you couldn’t leave your job, the factory or something like that unless you had a certificate.

LS: So they told you where you had to work and you had to stay there?
PH: Yep. You had to stay until the war finished. And they manpowered Dad you see, on the wharf, and he was a big-gun shearer, so where he used to go and shear, they wrote a letter to the manpower people – the government – this farmer said could he take 6 weeks off and go and shear his sheep. So they gave him a permit to leave the wharf and go and shear his sheep for 6 weeks. And also the petrol was rationed, and he was getting 3 gallons of petrol a week but then they bumped it up to 27 gallons a week, you know. Yeah, so he could go back and shear.
Well after that 6 weeks he came back to Fremantle but they manpowered everybody, you couldn’t leave. Then I worked for Mills and Wares’ making army biscuits. Milk Arrowroot, all those type of biscuits, chocolate biscuits, all that – granitas and everything, you know. I worked there and they manpowered me there – So I used to go to Police Boys you see, and I was in the gymnasium and I done me knee, so I couldn’t stand up, on that steel [flooring] all day.

LS: In that biscuit factory?
PH: Yeah, in Mills and Wares’.

LS: So they used to have you standing to make the actual biscuits?
PH: Yeah, you had to stand up all the time, mixing the dough, putting it through the rollers, they had stamping machines, takin’ the biscuits out of the oven to the other side, putting them in you know, on your feet all day, yeah on this steel floor. Well I couldn’t stand there, so I went to the doctor and got a certificate to get out of it. I got out of it, you know, and then when I got out of it I done casual work, like at the abattoirs chain, and worked everywhere – the old Dalgetys, Elder Smiths, Potato Board, Apple Board, just seasonal work. And then I used to go away with the shearers, go away with 20 shearers and when you went away you got on big money. So I stayed in Fremantle… I worked in Fremantle all my life…


LS: Did you go to school there?
PH: Yeah I went to school at Beacie – Beaconsfield Primary School..

LS: Did you go to high school?
PH: No, I only went to Beacie…and I was there when the war started. We sat in the trenches all day, because there were Jap planes out there, and they had trenches in that little park over the road from the school, they had trenches in there and we sat in there all day in the bloody rain. Because the Japs were out there, see?

LS: When you say we, who do you mean?
PH: All the school kids, the whole class.

LS: I see.
PH: And there were a lot of horses around those days, bakers horse, milk van, bakers van, all horses and when the air-raid warning came on they took the horses out of their carts and tied them up under the trees. Everything would stop, all the traffic stopped, Yeah. But I can only remember two Aboriginal people here, old Wandi, and Black Paddy.

LS: Do you remember Wandi’s full name?
PH: No.

LS: Was he Charlie Warramarra? (see 1921 photograph in Berson’s history of Cockburn).
PH: I don’t know, but he was from up North old Wandi – and he used to work out at Anchorage Abattoirs – he was a stockman out at Anchorage. And oh, there was also another one, old Charlie Windi, he was at Robbs, so there was only three. Black Paddy used to be a boxer, they sent him over Eastern states to fight over there, and he got stuck over there so they took up a collection for him and brought him back to Fremantle. And Charlie Windi, he worked over at Robbs [jetty] as a stockman. I have seen them all come and go but during the war South Fremantle school, South Terrace, was closed down.

So the kids at South Terrace came to Beacie, for half day schooling – they used to come for one half day and we used to go – you know, the other half, we never had a full day. Because – the South Terrace school, I remember there were Indians in the South Terrace School –their boat got torpedoed by the Japs, so they picked them up and put them in the school there. That’s why they moved the kids out of South Terrace. And they shared the school at Beacie with us, in the Beaconsfield, we only went half a day.
But I grew up in Fremantle, you know, I went away shearing – well first of all as a shed hand, then I learned to shear – but I used to go away every season and come back every season to work at the woolstores because they knew you. So they’d look after you – and then I worked on the wharf – I done 27 years on the wharf…


LS: Wow!
PH: Yeah, all my kids have lived in Fremantle, we lived in Willagee, and then my wife used to work for State Housing – she is the one that brought the Aboriginal Housing Board in, she brought that up through the State Housing. And because she worked for State Housing – Lorna – I can’t tell you what year it was, no…

LS: Can you tell what the circumstances where that led her to do that?
PH: Well she got a job with State Housing, they asked that some Aboriginal people work with State Housing, so there was two – her and ol’ Lizzie Henderson that got the job, in State Housing. And so she came home to me one night and was talking about houses, see, and I said to her, now listen you can’t work with Europeans – the money was coming from the government, the Aboriginal money was coming from the government and was supposed to be for housing for Aboriginal people, from Aboriginal Affairs or from the government. And I said, you should know where those houses are being built. So that is how she came to form the Aboriginal Housing Board, she said we have got to have an Aboriginal Housing Board – to look after the Aboriginal people, and we should not put Aboriginal people too close together – we have got to put them as far apart as we can – because you will have all the trouble in the world like what’s happening now, if they [people from different areas] are too close together. But she worked for the Aboriginal Housing Board for 8 or 9 years, and then they dissolved the Aboriginal Housing Board. When she moved out she was managing Director of the Aboriginal Advancement Council, so she put 10 years in there, the Aboriginal Advancement Council. So Jack Davis was there when I went there, Jack went East and I became President of the AAC, and I worked there for 10 years, you know. But there was a lot we done, but Aboriginal people don’t do that now. But we kept a list of all the houses, where they were, and then you knew where your houses were, but they don’t do that now. They just put you know, Vietnamese, all different people in Aboriginal Housing, you know? But that is how we worked. And we had put in 10 years and then we pulled out because it was too big a strain, you know, so we pulled out and I had my own flower – wildflower business.


LS: OH, where did you grow those?
PH: [laughs] I didn’t grow it, – I picked it!

LS: Oh yeah – [Laughs with him]
PH: I picked it, I dried it, I glycerined it and I had me own business. I had 10 people in the shed, and 15 pickers.

LS: Where did you have the shed?
PH: Up there in Roleystone – I did that for 5 years.

LS: And where did you pick the flowers?
PH: I had to …

LS: I mean did you have to have a license?
PH: Yes, I had a license to go and pick the flowers, the license was only 20 dollars then but now they have bumped it up to 100 dollars – but I used to go down to Busselton, and lease land from the Forest Department – you didn’t have to pay more money they just leased it so they knew who was on that land. You know, take account of people on the land, I did that for 5 years, and then…

LS: Did you sell to the public, or to florists or ?
PH: I sold all over the world,

LS: Did you really, mmm.
PH: To Bicks and Bicks in America, Holland, England, …

LS: So you were actually exporting them?
PH: Exporting, yeah, exported flowers all over the world.

LS: Did you have a company name?
PH: Aboriginal Wildflowers, yes. I did it for 5 years but it was too big a strain on me, I had to look after the shed, do the dying, look after the girls, but I had a good secretary, you know. And then I sold the business.

LS: Who did you employ while you were doing that? Where you able to employ Aboriginal people?
PH: Well, I used to employ Aboriginal pickers, but only two Aboriginal people in the sheds and the rest were European friends. Because the Aboriginal people knew the best what flowers to pick, and you couldn’t tell a European that, they wouldn’t know – you know, you had to know what type of soil that the flowers grew in and that is how I learnt because I had been picking since I was 6 year old – picking flowers down in Collie. But I done everything myself, dying, glycerining, you know…

LS: So you were picking boronia, and what else?
PH: Oh all sorts, bloody tea tree, book leaf, yellow morrison, Collie flower, kangaroo paws, red, green, yellow and black ones, and they had to be glycerined.

LS: What does that mean?
PH: To keep,

LS: So you‘d stand their stems in it?
PH: That’s right, and you’d see the glycerine come up and then they kept. And then they’d put them up in mixed bunches, you know. So I did that for 5 years and I got out because it was too big a strain on me – and then I went cutting strainers [strainer posts] – the what do they call it, up in the hills there? Not that bauxite – or I think it is bauxite isn’t it?

LS: For aluminium?
PH: Yeah, up in the hills?

LS: Jarrahdale?
PH: Jarrahdale, yeah, went cutting the strainers because they were burning all the timber.

LS: Was it jam trees, or …?
PH: Jarrah I think, all jarrahs. So I cut 37,000 strainers…

LS: And you thought that was easier than picking wildflowers?
PH: Yeah, it was, because I was working by myself and didn’t have to worry about anyone else pushing me around. And I had a Toyota, and I used to use a couple of chains and pull them out with the Toyota – And I got 25 dollars for each strainer. And a bloke come down and took a whole lot for tomatoes – I done that and then I went back to school to be an anthropologist…


LS: Yeah? Which school did you go to?
PH: You had to go to University, you know to do anthropology… But the thing is you can’t tell Aboriginal people about soils, and about rocks ..

LS: No….
PH: Its…

LS: They have got their own knowledge…
PH: Yeah, so they couldn’t tell me nothing about me own country, you know, so I have become an anthropologist, I work for Main Roads [as a consultant] different companies, and like the Water Board, Fremantle Shire, big building companies, Swan River Trust, and that’s all I do now, you know. Just going out and looking at sites.

LS: Yes, so did you say geologist or anthropologist?
PH: Anthropologist, yeah. See, I go here in Fremantle, the last 5 years I have found a tree down here at the old homestead, you know where the old homestead is?

LS: yes, the Manning homestead?
PH: Yeah down here on the lake,

LS: Yes,
PH: There is a tree there where Aboriginal people took the bark of off. Now that tree has been there years, because – and I found quartz down there, so I registered it. I also registered 10 mile well, and Clontarf Hill is registered see, I found quartz there. And I seen the Aboriginal people there – they used to come down on the old Koolinda, that was a State ship, and they used to come down and see old Wandi, and they camped there for a season and then went back. But they were full bloods, and I never ever met them, I had seen them there because I used to take my traps out there, rabbit traps. They didn’t interfere with me and I didn’t interfere with them. So I knew that area, and I have lived in Fremantle all my life. This place here, Coolbellup, I used to ride my horse through here – and there was beautiful tuart trees here, and they cut them all down.
And, you know the same up there at Willagee – that was bush. Cause dad used to come out there to the two-up school at the Melville camp. He used to come out there of a Sunday and we used to come out with him. See the big army camp was there in Melville –

LS: Was that on the intersection of Stock Road and South Street?
PH: Yeah, up there cross the road from the battery joint… and I think there is a Red Rooster, across the road from there, that was the Melville Army Camp – that’s were the soldiers were when the war was on. So we used to come out there and pick up cool drink bottles – get a penny a bottle [laughs] Yes we’d go round and pick ‘em up.
But I have been here all my life, and went away from Fremantle, for what – 8 years we went to Maddington, bought a place in Maddington, and then my wife died and I came back to Freo – Yeah. So all my family is buried in Fremantle, my wife is buried in Fremantle, and her father was Joe Mortimer, and she was born in the old Grovenor Hospital – you know the old Grovenor?

LS: Oh yeah down near the TAFE [Beaconsfield]?
PH: Yeah, she was born there, so she was a Fremantle girl…

LS: You said you first came to Fremantle because Welfare was picking up the kids, was that in Collie?
PH: Yeah, they was picking up people all round the country, chucking them in trucks and take them – yeah –

LS: Your Dad was working in Collie them?
PH: Yeah, Dad was working for a poultry farm, and we had 5 acres of land in Collie. We had milking cows, and we had to get out because he didn’t want the Native Welfare taking us, so we got out, you know. And it was a terrible thing you know, the Welfare would just take the kids, chuck ‘em in a truck and away they’d go and the kids would be crying – and he didn’t want that to happen to us you see.

LS: No.
PH: Well it was kidnapping wasn’t it?

LS: Yes, it certainly was.

LS: You said your Dad was a strong union man – knew the union would look after him?
PH: Oh yes, he certainly was, there was 1800 lumpers down there then and they stuck together.

LS: When you lived in Fremantle, before you married Lorna, you weren’t living in Coolbellup obviously, that was later?
PH: Yeah, when we got married we went away to Albany for 12 months, I worked in the Shire down there – 1952 we came back, and our first kid was born down in Albany. We came back and then I got work on the wharf for 27 years. But then I did my back in and was security watchman, cargo watch, gangway watch, fire watch – you know, working on the wharf. And then I gave that away to do the flower picking because the shift working was no good, flower picking was easier.

LS: While you have been living in this area have the local people ever talked about the earlier days here, about working with settlers, as shepherds or trackers or domestics or anything like that?
PH: There weren’t any Aboriginals here when I came here. Only the three I can remember. The Hayward boys used to play footie for South Fremantle – Billy and I don’t know the others, they used to live out there at Bibra Lake, camped out there and used to run into Freo. But there weren’t any Aboriginal people here [in Coolbellup]…

LS: Had to move earlier?
PH: Well yeah, then they started coming here, like when I was about 21 or 22, who started coming in then? There was Johnny Coomer, Billy Kahn, and Mrs. Yarran [Mrs. Ivan], she lived just up near the police station there, but I couldn’t tell you what year it was.

LS: Would you think that was people coming in with the State Housing ?
PH: Yeah, and then the Aboriginal Housing Board.

LS: Did you join any other Aboriginal organisations in this particular area or Cockburn?
PH: No, I always worked in Perth in the different organisations. You know, with NEAP, that’s an Aboriginal organisation, Aboriginal Lands Trust, NEAP [New Era?] did the same sort of work that the AAC did. But they didn’t know too much about housing.

LS: Do you know what NEAP stand for?
PH: No, I can’t remember….

LS: So you didn’t have anything to do with Southern Suburbs or the Homework Group that was started for the kids around here?
PH: No, that started later, and they wanted me to go to that other one they have got down here – but I just can’t work with Aboriginal people now, you know, there is a lot of money goes missing. A lot of the leaders you know, like those in the ALS – and others – they came out of the Aboriginal Advancement Council you know.


LS: Can you remember any of those that were involved at that time?
PH: Oh, crikey, um… There was Fred Collard and his Missus, that fellow Isaacs, old Mrs. Hansen, myself and my wife, and there was – I can’t think of the names of the lawyers – there was McDonald and Company, they’re lawyers, they started from the Aboriginal Legal Service, Fred Chaney – he came from the ALS and there was a lot of them that I couldn’t remember. But I know Fred – he became the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. Yeah, I know Fred well, and when I was in the AAC – the Advancement Council, I put into Fred Chaney for a body-van to take Aboriginal people back to the country. So I had to wait 5 years for this submission [to be funded] to get the body-van. So I got the body-van after 5 years, so I got $13,000 for the body-van, so I bought the body-van, put a freezer in the body van – [laughs] you know, so I could take the bodies back, and out of that $13,000 I think I only had to pay an extra 50 dollars, that’s all it cost me. Most of the $13,000 covered it, that 50 dollars – then I used to take bodies back. I would go as far as Geraldton. I would go to Albany, but I wouldn’t go past Geraldton, I would go to Kalgoorlie, Warbuton, Derby[ not Derby], Katanning, Albany, Bunbury, Busselton, Esperance, and Geraldton. But I done that for 5 years when I was in the AAC, Aboriginal Advancement Council …

LS: So you had to pick up the people from the hospital and then driven them home?
PH: Mmm, drive them back, and I had to make my own coffins, line them, and I used to buy me coffins in packs, just had to cut out the shoulders, you know and bend it around, had a mould and made all that and polished them…

LS: And did you have to do all that by yourself?
PH: Um, no my wife used to give me a hand, and my son used to give me a hand with it. See you had to have different coffins for different people, you had to measure their shoulders and how high they were, and how long they were, you know. So we had to work – you know, to make different coffins for different size people. So I done that and I done it for 5 years.

LS: Where did you set up the business?
PH: At the back of the Aboriginal Advancement Council, I set that up, I used to keep all me coffins in there, and I used to pick them up from the hospitals and take them back.

LS: And that was in Beaufort Street?
PH: Yeah, and I done that for 5 years but I just gave it away because you couldn’t get drivers,

LS: Yes,
PH: You know,

LS: Yes,
PH: No one wanted to do it, you know and I used to leave at 8 o’clock to go to Kalgoorlie and I would be back at 7 o’clock in the morning.

LS: Yes, a long way…
PH: Yes, even went out to Warburton, bloody long way and I can’t think of the name of the place out there… Derby – no not Derby, I can’t think of the name of the place…

LS: Laverton,or ..
PH: I used to go to Laverton, yeah… and out to the place near the Nullabor…the big Mission out there…

LS: Mt. Margaret?
PH: Mt. Margaret, yeah, I used to take them out there, because they had to go back home to be buried, you know. And I seen bodies you know, lying there in the morgue like for 4 months or 3 months because the people you know – they would ring me up when they had the money, you know?

LS: Yes…
PH: Because I couldn’t do it for nothing, it was too big a trip… but the people you know up around that area they always you know, would say … I would wait for the money and they would pay when they picked it up [from me]. And I had no trouble with them, not the ones up there, but the ones down South – bloody watch them! You know, I got caught a couple of times, mmm – you’d take the body round and they would reckon the money would be there and I would go round to the undertaker and they wouldn’t have the money. So I woke up to that, I wouldn’t take the body unless they paid me the money. Yeah. So I done that for 5 years, but you couldn’t get drivers because no one wanted to do it.

LS: No. And it would be important to do it, you would think the government would help some how. It must be hard if people live 300 miles or so out and have to come in to Perth to hospital… and then they pass away…
PH: Yes, they’d come down and die and they had to go back to the burial grounds, see –

LS: Very hard for the people at home to arrange that I would think…and very expensive…
PH: Oh look to take a body back to Port Hedland, I know we sent one back there and they go on the weight – you know, it is very expensive – but I wouldn’t go past Geraldton, that was my limit, but I could keep a body in the van for as long as I wanted to keep it there, but I wouldn’t do it now… I have done everything, I have dug graves, you know, taken up the bodies, and the ones that used to get me were the young kids, you know, killed in a car accident, got to take them back. But …

LS: Did you say your Dad died in an accident?
PH: Yeah he got killed out – just the other side of Mandurah there, that hotel …

LS: Ravenswood,
PH: Yeah, got killed just outside that, yeah. So all my family is buried in Fremantle.


LS: With the local land around here, I know that some people aren’t allowed to talk about the land unless they are connected, and that some things you wont want to tell me or put on tape, but are there any places around here that you know are special or that Aboriginal people still like to go to?
PH: There are special places around here, but I wont tell any European,

LS: Yes, I understand that.
PH: It will just stay in my family, and be handed down from generation to generation – It stays in my family, I wouldn’t even tell Lennie…nup.

LS: No, ok.
PH: Like there is this special place in Bedfordale that I wouldn’t tell people about, you know, there are three graves up there, up the top of Armadale, there is three Aboriginals buried up there so you know, so we have got to do something about them. We are going out next week to have a look at them, register them – they are in a cocky’s paddock see. But there are a lot of places that I know, like I go back to Dryandra because my grandfather – the old man Nipper Hume, that’s his country, well anything in Dryandra CALM get in touch with me when I go back there, ‘cause there are graves in Dryandra. And we had a red ochre mine there, that we opened up in 1947 – we were selling red ochre. You know what red ochre is?

LS: Well it’s a clay?
PH: Yeah and they make paint out of it, you know, coloured cement and we opened it up. Now when they opened it up – my grandfather killed three people in that ochre cave because they were stealing ochre. It is between Wandering and Narrogin, Dryandra – that his country [grandfather Hume’s]. He drove see from Wandering to Wickepin, and the old bloke that had a farm out at Wickepin – crikey I can’t remember his name now, but he had a farm in Wandering so my grandfather used to drive sheep from there out to Wickepin and then come back again. Time didn’t worry him, and there were fourteen in my fathers family – fourteen kids, so time didn’t worry him and time don’t worry me. I wont push time, [laughs] ‘cause time can kill you! So I take me time. I had to go back to Dryandra because CALM was doing things that they bloody shouldn’t have done. So I went to Aboriginal Affairs, Irene Stanton, and she stopped the work and we had to go down and see what they were doing. They were putting up breeding pens there for the animals, so they had to pay me 3 hundred in mileage up and back and I was down there for two days. Because that is my country,

LS: Yes.
PH: Yeah, and when I came here in the 1933 I never saw an Aboriginal person here, they all came later – and this was all bush – there was nothing here. I used to go ride a horse through there –[indicating across the road from his home] – Dad bought me a horse for 2 pound ten! I have lived here all me life but it’s changed. Bibra Lake just used to be bloody bush out there then, you know, and tomorrow you know they are going to put that road in – between North Lake and Bibra Lake – it’s a bloody shame isn’t it?

LS: It would be a crime yes, one of many.
PH: Yeah I had a winge the other day with Main Roads they are doing that Kenwick link, and it is still going through, yeah. But oh, I work for different organisations – Water Board, Main Roads, Swan River Trust …

LS: And they employ you for your knowledge of the area…
PH: Yes, and they have got to pay me consultancy fees – else I wont go out.

LS: And are you sitting on any committees at the moment, major boards or Aboriginal Affairs …
PH: No, but I am on Richard Court’s Elders – he appointed Elders …

LS: The Elders Council [Department of Aboriginal Affairs, State Government] …..
PH: Yeah, I sit on there and I think I am the second eldest on the council – my sister is older than me – and I am the second eldest… yeah I sit on that.


LS: Well, that is about all the questions Len asked me to ask you to talk about, mostly about your work and because I like the children of the future to be able to know who it is they are listening to, or reading about, I like to ask you some questions about your family that we can note down. So if I ask you a few questions about you and your family you just tell me if you don’t want to answer any of them, OK? Can we start with your full name and address – and your date and place of birth [Wandering]. Your father ..
PH: Jack Hume – and mother Lona Hume. I was closer to my father than my mother.

LS: Did she perhaps not live with you all the time?
PH: She lived with us all the time but I never had – I don’t know, there was something there between us and I didn’t connect – never did.

LS: And your Dad’s country you said was Dryandra?
PH: That was my grandfather’s country – his name was Jack – Nipper Hume – he got the same name as my father and my father was the youngest of the 14 in that family. When they were kids they lived in the Wandering Narrogin area, but then Dad left and they went to Collie.

LS: Could you name your brothers and sisters for me?
PH: My brother was Malcolm Humes, he went to Korea and came back and died.

LS: As a result of the war?
PH: Mmm. My sister was Maxine, I had a sister called Maxine – she is still alive, and one called Lena, she is still alive, Coral she is still alive, and Rosie and Anne she is over in Brisbane.

LS: And your wife – she was Lorna…
PH: Apparently her father was Mortimer but she went under the name Dival – but I used to work with Joe, on the wharf, her father.

LS: As a married couple were there different places you lived at?
PH: Fremantle, Willagee, Southwell, and we bought a place out at Maddington but when she died I came back here, I didn’t want to stay there.

LS: And you speak the Nyungar language as well as English?
PH: Yes. I also sit on the Rottnest Island board too.

LS: Give advice over there too?
PH: Yeah.

LS: And your own children – Kevin is the eldest, he works for the gas works, he was born ’52, I couldn’t tell you what year the others were born, Mervin, then there was Lex – he passed away, and the eldest girl is Rebecca – she is a hairdresser, and then Wayne – he was a butcher and used to work for Anchorage, and the other one is a school teacher – that’s Karen Hume. She is at Kenwick. The girls still go under the name of Hume.

LS: Yes, its quite nice isn’t it to keep your own name..
PH: Yes.

LS: OK – well that’s about it unless there is anything else you have thought about that you would like to put on the tape.
PH: No. I have got to go back … there is trouble with the mining company in Boddington, so I have got to go back there this week because I was born in Wandering, and they have got to consult with me because I am the eldest in that area and they just wont pay me mileage, so I wont go back until they pay me mileage. They have got to pay me 300 dollars in mileage – like CALM does …

LS: Yes, they pay everybody else who gives them advice …
PH: Yeah, see they found some artifacts down there – and I went to Aboriginal Affairs and I made them stop work until they did something about it. So what they do is they are mining 20 acres of land at a time, you know, and so they couldn’t mine when we stopped the work …

LS: Is that bauxite too?
PH: No, that’s gold!

LS: Oh a gold mine in Boddington?
PH: Yeah, that’s gold – so I have got to get back there, I don’t know when, but I have been on to them nearly every day – but I wont move until I get that money.

LS: I was going to ask you before, when you said you had found quartz here and there, what does it tell you when you find quartz?
PH: Quartz – well quartz don’t belong to this country – they have been brought here by Aboriginal people – and if you know what you are looking for you know what they are…

LS: I see, and that tells you that there has been occupation and trade – yeah.
PH: Yes. Actually there have been 7 hills here in Fremantle, but those 7 hills are not there now – you know? I think there is only two left – Cantonment Hill, and Clontarf and there is one there where the Navy used to have its …– just up from the Fremantle Monument, see all that land up there has all been destroyed, flattened out. But Cantonment Hill they want me to go and have a look at it, like the Fremantle Shire – and I sit on that [committee] – Parks and Gardens, I sit on that. It took me what – 18 months to talk to the bloody Port Authority and they had to come back and talk to me, you know because I am the only person in Fremantle and so now they are doing something with Leighton, they are planting trees along there – its been like a desert since I was a kid and its still bloody desert! [laughs] And they come and asked me if they could knock the wheat silo down! I said, yeah, we didn’t put it up! Its an eyesore – but the Fremantle Shire wanted it left there and I didn’t tell them – So they knocked it down. So all along the Swan River there is a lot of sites there, just up from Blackwall Reach is a stream there, where Aboriginal people used to get their water – East Fremantle, just up from there used to be a reef going across there, that’s where the Aboriginal people used to walk across there, to that cave on Cottesloe, you know where the cave is?

LS: Yes, Yeah …
PH: They used to walk across to that cave and this bloke that set up the Rottnest prison [?Robert Thompson or Corporal Welch in 1830s].was there first [before he went to Rottnest] but he couldn’t stay there because the Aboriginal people were spearing the bloody troopers so he had to go to Rottnest to get away from them?

LS: Who was it that moved to Rottnest?
PH: This bloke that set up Rottnest prison – I can’t think of his name [?first superintendent Vincent] I don’t know, but I have got the records here somewhere and here was here [in Fremantle area] first but he couldn’t stay there see because he was in the path of the Aboriginal people. So he had to get out, you know. I also sit on the Yagan Committee – you know the we got that head back from England, and I have got to go up on the 19th – I said we want that head buried where he was shot. So we got to bury it where he was shot.

LS: That was Swan Valley, wasn’t it?
PH: Yes.

LS: You wouldn’t bring him back to Fremantle?
PH: No, his brother was buried down there somewhere.

LS: Was that Domjun?
PH: Yeah. Somewhere down near where that restaurant is, [Red Herring, previously Oyster Beds – where Pier Street runs into river] the mussel restaurant, somewhere along there he is buried. And they shot him for stealing a loaf of bread – yeah.

LS: And so you were involved with the new naming of the little park that was opened in East Fremantle a little while ago?
PH: Yeah, I opened the new tunnel too [the re-opening of the old whaling tunnel by the roundhouse]

LS: And the park up near Montreal Street, near the golf course?
PH: Oh that one, they opened before I came back to Coolbellup – must have been about 2 or 3 years ago. I sit on the committee because we are going to put a monument up there for Fred’s Missus [Jean Collard] and another guy – Mrs. Yarran’s husband [Ivan]. We are going to put a monument up there. But I opened that other one up in East Fremantle [a block or two up from the river on Pier Street.] – I can’t think of the name of it –

LS: Niegerup? How do you say it?
PH: Niegerup Track – that’s East Fremantle. You know up from the mussel restaurant. My name is on the monument there. And opening the tunnel was in the local paper.

LS: Yes, I saw that. Do you know much about the South Bay area where the fishing boat harbour is?
PH: No, but where the tunnel is – just back from there was the first Aboriginal school in Western Australia – a church bloke come out from England and set it up.

LS: Armstrong was it?
PH: Yeah, now they had to shift the school because the convicts were coming off the wharf, the … you know…

LS: The jetty there?
PH: Yeah, and they had to shift the school, but the other side of that – near the tunnel – there used to be a whaling station there.

LS: Was that why the tunnel was built – no it was to get the early cargo through wasn’t it?
PH: To get the cargo through, yes. See when I went to the Port Authority about – they hadn’t come to me about the bloody wheat silo, and I said to them, see I got a photo of the old harbour showing the old sailing boats coming in – and do you know where the submarine net used to go across? South mole to North mole?

LS: Yes,
PH: They used to put a submarine net across when the war was on, well there was a reef run across there, now they had to blast it for the ships to come in, well the Aboriginals used to walk so far and then swim to get on the other side.

LS: So they blasted out their crossing place.
PH: Yeah, and the Fremantle Shire said to me … they put a memorial up there, and the Port Authority – but also I sit on the bloody whats’name down there, that new Museum group. It is very sad that there is no Aboriginal art going into it.

LS: I am surprised about that, you would think at this time Aboriginal Artists would be more involved.
PH: Yeah, we wanted Sandra Hill to do something, and we suggested including somewhere say on the stairs, the bobtail, racehorse goanna, mopoke, eagle, carpet snake – Waugal, but no the Indian bloke got the job.

About Patrick Hume

Mr. Patrick Hume of Coolbellup was born on June 6, 1926 at Wandering. He came to Fremantle with his parents, from Collie in 1933.

His parents were Lona and Jack Hume. His grandfather Nipper Hume, also known as Jack Hume, had 14 children and his country was Dryandra.

Mr. Hume had a brother Malcolm, who died after serving in the Australian armed forces in Korea. He also had sisters, Maxine, Lena, Coral, Rosie, and Annie.

Mr. Hume and his wife have served their community as members and office bearers of many community organisations. They had six children. Kevin, Mervin, Lex, Rebecca, Wayne and Karen.



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