Nellie Coulthard Wintinna, SA, Australia, b. 1947

Biography

Nellie Coulthard was born in desert bush land near Oodnadatta, on the remote property of the Wintinna Homestead Cattle Station. Her father worked as a shepherd for a local station, Nellie and her family traveled constantly and slept outdoors supporting her father and caring for the sheep. Nellie has two brothers and two sisters, and has lived at the Indulkana community since she was a young lady.

 

As there was no established housing for Indigenous people in the 1950's, Nellie and her family lived in a hand built wiltja made from found materials such as sheets of tin and dried logs and branches, close to the stationmasters home. When she was still quite young, Nellie took on a job at the Granite Downes Cattle Station in the stationmasters home. She worked with the stationmaster's wife and other Anangu ladies washing dishes and cleaning the house in exchange for rations and tobacco for her father. Nellie married a young stockman who was also working at the Granite Downes Cattle Station, and together they came to Indulkana with their two young children.

 

Nellie is a minyma pampa (respected senior woman) amongst both adults and children at Indulkana; many children regularly visit her while she paints at the art centre on their school lunch breaks. Ever since her early days of working at the Indulkana preschool and then as a teacher at the newly established family centre, Nellie has always had a

compassion for ongoing improvements in children's education and opportunities available to them.

 

Her work often speaks to memories and stories of the country she recalls as a young girl, they reference her childhood experiences of living in the country. An accomplished textile maker, Nellie's structural pieces are created with extreme skill and finesse, she enjoys making unique baskets and abstract forms with tjanpi grasses and coloured wools.

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