Country, Culture, People, Future

Toby Smirke

Pilbara Traditional Owners Record Stories for Future Generations

Posted: May 29th, 2013

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click to enlarge
Photo: Toby Smirke with FTI film crew on Jurruru country
Earlier this month, Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC) spent time on country with Traditional Owners from the Pilbara region of Western Australia as part of an initiative to record stories about Australia’s unique Aboriginal cultural heritage. 

Indigenous Community Stories (ICS), run by FTI in partnership with Rio Tinto, ScreenWest, Leighton and Ngarda Civil and Mining, aims to digitally archive one hundred West Australian Indigenous stories on film for future generations to view over the next century and beyond. 

In the first of these stories, Kariyarra elder Irene Roberts talks about growing up around Abydos and Kangan stations, as well as her life in the Yandeyarra community. The second story, told by Jurruru elder Toby Smirke, focuses on the working life of Aboriginal people on pastoral stations, his family, and Jurruru connection to country. 

Mr Smirke said that he enjoyed making the film. ‘By the end of it I was happy with how it worked out, and I think it was all done right’, he said.

These projects follow on from another ICS project that YMAC supported in February about Geraldton-based artist and writer, Charmaine Green.

Click here to read about Charmaine’s Indigenous Community Story.

For more information on the Indigenous Community Stories project, visit

YMAC contributes to Indigenous Community Stories

Posted: October 17th, 2012

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YMAC recently applied, and has been selected, the ‘Indigenous Community Story’ initiative through the Film & Television Institute (FTI) in partnership with Rio Tinto, ScreenWest, Leighton and Ngarda Civil & Mining.

The two Indigenous Community Story Projects that have been successfully selected include, ‘A snapshot of the rich cultural heritage of the Pilbara region told by four senior elders’ and ‘The historical significance of Aboriginal stockman and their connection to country; told through the eyes and life of respected senior Jurruru elder, Toby Smirke.’

The two stories will be filmed on country in early 2013 and aim to digitally archive stories for future generations to view over the next 100 years and beyond. Click here for more information on the Indigenous Community Stories project.

Meet a YMAC Director

Posted: January 17th, 2011

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Toby Smirke

Toby is a Jurruru man who speaks the Bunjima language of the central Pilbara. Toby is an expert horseman who has worked and run several large stations throughout the region, including Cooline and Strelley Pastoral Station.
Toby has extensive bush skills and is an expert on the flora, fauna and cultural knowledge of his country. He would like to see his country preserved for future generations and significant sites within it, such as the Kenneth Range, protected and jointly managed