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Kimberley legend inducted into WA Women's Hall of Fame

A Kimberley legend and staunch advocate for the Martuwarra has been inducted into the WA Women’s Hall of Fame or her work as a musician, environmentalist and advocate.

Fitzroy Crossing blues singer and senior Elder, Kankawa Nagarra, also known as Olive Knight, was one of 16 women bestowed the honour on International Women’s Day.

We are especially proud as Kankawa Nagarra is also a Director on the board of the Martuwarra Fitzroy River Council. Kankawa's deep cultural knowledge and passion for uniting hearts and minds is an inspiration.

She said she learnt to play play a cousin’s guitar when she was working on a pastoral station in her 20s.

“At the time, there was a cultural thing, women weren’t allowed to touch anything made of wood,” she said.

“We were forbidden to even go near the guitar, because it was a men’s wooden instrument.

“I vividly remember this glorious night … This one night, my brother-in-law was on his own, playing some country he’s learnt hanging around with this cousin. I just went over to him and said, ‘Look, give me the guitar please and show me some of the country riffs you’re playing there.’

“I did it. I quickly picked it up. It didn’t take me long.”

Kankawa Nagarra said a highlight of her career was using music to advocate for protection of the Kimberley’s Canning Basin.

“There’s been a lot of threats [to the Basin],” she said.

“People have been coming in to drill holes for fracking and taking the gas out of the earth. Its poisoning the aquifers. So I’m passionate about writing [songs like] ‘Canning Basin Blues’.”


Note: This story and image has been sourced and adapted from it's original source via Nagarra Media, 12 March, 2024.,honour%20on%20International%20Women's%20Day.


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