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In early October, 1990, I finished packing the back of the Valiant ute,
pulled over the tarpaulin and farewelled family and friends. My destination
was Amata in the remote north west of South Australia, 1500 kilometres
away. I had never driven further north than Port Augusta, only 300
kilometres from Adelaide.

After many hundreds of kilometres of bone-jarring corrugated dirt roads
I finally arrived in Amata where the people were nearly all dark-skinned
and spoke another language yet I was in my home state of South Australia.
Everyone I approached seemed indifferent to me when I introduced
myself as the new nurse, but very interested in how much I wanted for the car.

My original intention was to stay for six months to a year. I eventually left
after nine and a half years full time and still return regularly to relieve other
nurses some twenty years after my arrival. I'm not completely sure how this
happened, but somehow the character of the people and magic of the
landscape overcame the challenges of living and working in such a remote location.

Throughout this period I have had the privilege of working and travelling
with Anangu (the name by which the Pitjantjatjara refer to themselves)
throughout their land. This has provided opportunities to photograph the
spectacular landscapes during years of extensive drought, broken finally
by flooding rains and the accompanying explosion of wildlife. Anangu have
also grown more at ease with my presence, affording an added perspective
to both images and text.

From many thousands of transparencies, the images for this book were
deliberately chosen to reflect the cultural resilience of Anangu and the beauty
of their country. The detail in many of these same images, however, also
hints at the underlying hardships of life.

Stewart Roper

"Palya" is high a quality photographic presentation book.
A Wibalin® textured hardcover and 170 pages with recollections and
250 full colour photographs of the people, landscape and wildlife of
the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Lands in remote north-western South Australia.


About Palya

About Palya

Email Stewart Website: AWVS