Artist: Jack Green
Little Eva – areoplane crash – 2021
Paintings – Acrylic on Canvas – 40 x 40 cm (pre-stretched)
When I was working in Doomadgee there was a policeman who asked us to do some painting, and he wanted a painting of the plane crash. At that time I didn’t know where that plane crashed the only time I’d heard about it before was when the Garrwa people (my community) were doing a corroborree about that plane crash. So I talked to some of the old senior people who passed away now and they told me about where the plane crashed. They said the plane crashed at Dudajarrba, which is a bush name for the place Moonlight Creek. Somewhere near Moonlight Creek. Not at Moonlight Creek, but near there. That’s what they told me.
I knew at the time the four airforce men walked towards Borroloola and two went back towards Burketown. The air force mob going towards Borroloola kept walking until they came up to a paperbark shed. First they crossed west Morelin Creek, they went across that, then they kept going, then they crossed Woologorang, then they went to the paper bark shelter somewhere near there. That was built by Old Keighran, Jack Keighran, father for Johno Keighran. Then they stayed there collecting something to eat like watermelon or anything they could find to try and keep them alive. Then I think that pilot got crook there and they left him there and the other mob kept walking, the other three.
They kept walking and they swam across that river, that’s where one of the fella got drowned. That was the Calvert river. He got swept up to the mudbank after the water went down. Then that two came back and they found him, they couldn’t go any further. They thought that Borroloola was a far way, but they were close, but they went back and swum back across the river and found that bloke then, that got drowned, and turned him face down. They didn’t bury him just left him there for someone to come along and find him. Then they kept walking back to that paperbark hut. What happened then was they found the pilot had died, and they didn’t bury him, they left him out where someone can find him, they took him a fair way out a bit. Then the other bloke got crook and he died. And they did the same thing for him; dragged him out. And then only one survived. He went down to the beach collecting all the dead fish that got washed up, something to eat, shells, to keep him alive.
Then old Kelly Martin’s father “Strike A Light”. He he went out on the horse and he saw this bloody white thing coming towards him and he thought it was a ghost coming towards him. He galloped back to the camp on the horse and told that old fella Keighran, and they all jumped on a horse and went back out to pick him up. But when he found old strike a light he had his arms up waving and shouting “Help! Help!” Then they took him back home to the camp, at the station, and they fed him til he got stronger. And then a boat came and the police took him back to Borroloola and they picked up them dead bodies, but I’m not sure what happened there. All I know was they took him back to Borroloola and put him on the plane.
But then he came back again later on, wasn’t too long ago, I was here then when he came back, and they had a party, and he gave a reward which was for Strike a Light, but they gave it to Jerry Brown, his relative. Jerry was also one of the men that helped feeding him and looking after him, giving him clothes and making him stronger.
Then they started doing all these dances about the aeroplane crash. They started a bit before the old man came back. The old people used to do the dance all the time, around Wollogorang.