Aboriginal identity Sam Lovell donates photographs to State Library of WA


Sam Lovell donated personal pictures to Lifestory, an exhibition at the State Library of WA. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d474565
Sam Lovell donated personal pictures to Lifestory, an exhibition at the State Library of WA. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d474565

DESPITE hardships early in life, Kimberley identity Sam Lovell has always remained positive.

Mr Lovell was born on Calwynyadah Station in the Kimberley in 1933 but was removed by the Australian Government from his family in 1936 and sent to the infamous Moola Bulla station, an Aboriginal settlement just west of Halls Creek.

He worked as a boundary rider and stockman and in his travels took thousands of photographs of the region’s cattle industry, meat works, mustering camps, the bush and the area’s people and landscape.

In the 1980s, he and wife Rosita helped pioneer Indigenous tourism in the Kimberley.

In 2003, Mr Lovell was recognised in the Australia Day Honours List with the Member of the Order of Australia (AM).

Mr Lovell last week donated several of his photos and personal items to the State Library of WA, which will be digitised as part of its Storylines initiative.

He said he retained a positive attitude throughout life.

“Just move on, think positive and keep going,” he said.

“I’ve always been in between the white and the black and I’m still there. Never changed my attitude (but) still in the middle.”

Mr Lovell said he had many jobs, but a trip around the country with Rosita was what got him into the tourism industry, where he made his mark.

“I did a lot of different things like yard building, fences, made a bit of money on that, bought my own house in Derby then I bought a truck that I drove for 12 years for Mains Roads,” he said.

“Then the time came when they didn’t have use for my trucks, so me and my missus went for a trip around Australia and I saw all these things about tourism and thought ‘I’ll have a go at that’.

“We didn’t realise how much work goes into one of those things before you even start, you had to go through the tourism commissions and have cars approved, the height and everything.

“I think we had a head start on everyone else because I knew the country and he people there from the Indigenous community, there are 27 different tribes there, and I had connections with them.”

Stories from Mr Lovell’s life will also be recorded at Moola Bulla station in a documentary by filmmaker Sian Darling.

Perth MLA John Carey said much of European history was documented, but it was critical to keep collecting stories from and histories of Indigenous people in our country.

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