1955, Tjumurndurr (Old Balgo Mission)
Wirrimanu (Balgo) and Mulan, Western Australia
Paraku (Lake Gregory)
Gracie was born at Ruby Plains Station in 1955. Gracie’s father was from Paraku (Mulan community) where Gracie grew up until she was about 6 years old, she is the youngest of a big family. When Gracie was a young girl a priest found her at Lake Gregory and took her to the Old Balgo Mission where she was raised in the dormitory with Tossie, Imelda, Helen, Angie, Marie and Jane. When Gracie finished school, she worked as a health worker in Balgo, it was here that she married her husband at Saint Theresa Parish and had 5 sons. She now has 8 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.
Balgo Elders Bai Bai Napangardi (c.1939-2020) and Eubena Nampitjin (c.1929-2013) and Mulan elders Bessie and Veronica Lulu taught Gracie about the traditional ways of bush medicine and how to prepare them. A few years ago, people from Broome came to work with Gracie and Tossie Baadjo to produce, package and sell the bush medicine to local communities in the Kimberley area. A house was allocated in the community where they set up the bush medicine operation. Gracie has also worked as an Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) ranger for the Paraku (Lake Gregory) region. Her mother and uncle were influential in upholding Native Title of this region in 2001. This is the Country that Gracie paints, all its many bush foods, flowers and medicines.
Gracie is a respected elder in the community and is also a church leader for Balgo working with the Parish to organise community events and services.