Nellie Ngampa Coulthard Wintinna, SA, Australia, b. 1947


Nellie Coulthard was born in desert bush land near Oodnadatta, on the remote property of the Wintinna Homestead Cattle Station where her father worked as a shepherd for a local station. The Coulthard family traveled constantly and slept outdoors supporting her father and caring for the sheep in the Indulkana community. As there was no established housing for Indigenous people in the 1950’s, the family lived in a hand built wiltja made from found materials such as sheets of tin and dried logs and branches, close to the Station Master's home.  Coulthard 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. She married a young stockman who was also working at the Granite Downes Cattle Station, later having two children.


Coulthard 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, she has always had a compassion for ongoing improvements in children’s education and opportunities available to them.


Making paintings at the Iwantja Art Centre for many years, Coulthard’s work often speaks to memories and stories of that reference her childhood and the experiences of living in the country. An accomplished textile maker, her structural pieces are created with extreme skill and finesse, making unique baskets and abstract forms with tjanpi grasses and coloured wools. 


As a talented singer and one of the founding members of the Indulkana church choir,  Coulthard is constantly involved in outreach and community development programs and listens to gospel recordings sung in language from other communities across the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands while she paints.