I took this photo in 1980 when I was employed by the Aboriginal Community at Maningrida to market their art and craft and to take a mobile store to families who had chosen to leave the Government settlement and live on their traditional estates. Aboriginal master painter Peter Marralwanga, his eldest wife Nalmabama and three of his 35 children wait at their dry season camp at Kudjalrdordo to exchange their works for cash and then to shop from the back of a truck loaded with supplies. Peter’s painting, on a flattened sheet of stringybark, depicts Barrk, the black wallaroo, an endemic macropod of western Arnhem Land. The baskets are of the highest quality and made from split fronds of pandanus palm which are dyed with vegetable dyes sourced from the bush. Peter is smoking a Larrwa, or long pipe, a style adopted from the Indonesian trepang fishermen from Macassar who traded with north Australia until the Australian government shut them out in 1905. Peter smoked the strongest pipe tobacco around — Erinmore flake. His addiction was passionate, but eventually it killed him. He died of lung cancer in 1987.

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