Ward 3c - A Crucial Loss


‘A Crucial Loss’

[imagecaption] Izzy Turner 2017 Desert Still Life III. This artwork reflects those aspects of Mr Ward that the photographer recalls from her memory of their times together. In this artwork the focus is on land management activities. Cactii were introduced by Europeans in their home gardens on the fringes of the settled areas of Australia and in subsequent times have become invading desert pests. The wooden python reflects his work with conservation locating and recording python species, the spent cartridges his work on feral camel control. [/imagecaption]

Mr Ward fought until his death to gain title not just for his own traditional lands but for others with whom he was connected through culture. He was chairman of Warburton Community for several years and a youth worker actively campaigning to reduce substance abuse on the Ngaanyatjarra Lands. He spoke at land management conferences in Alice Springs, Brisbane, Perth and China.


‘His death was not only a profound loss for his family and community but also to his culture, as it is clear that a great deal of time had been put into teaching Mr Ward a significant cultural knowledge, skills and experience, in respect to which it was intended he would play a crucial role, passing this knowledge on to the next generation.’

Magistrate Benn (KA 326 of 2011, Worksafe and State of Western Australia)*

Mr Ward was killed in  his prime, at a time when he had accumulated much desert learning and was responsible for its safe keeping and transmission. To enable his continued work with scientists across central Australia he undertook sacred learning in several Indigenous ceremonial traditions, increasing his personal knowledge and cultural responsibilities beyond normal cultural expectations. This sacred knowledge and participation enabled him to become a respected leader in the cross-cultural domain.

(Based on a longer narrative prepared for Deathscapes by Jan Turner.)

*The transcript of this finding cannot be reproduced without the prior written consent of the attorney-general. This quotation is taken from Jan Turner’s notes in the Kalgoorlie courthouse at the time of reading and is an exact facsimile of that found in the transcript.


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