16 July 2020 // Mumaring
Mumaring Daisy Bindi (1904- 23 December 1962) was born into the Nyangumarta Nation about 1904 on a cattle-station near present-day Jigalong, on the edge of the Gibson Desert in Western Australia Her Aboriginal name was Mumaring. As a child she worked on Ethel Creek station, where she learned housework and to manage horses, and became an accomplished horsewoman.
In 1946 in protest against poor wages and living conditions, unionist and elected spokesman for the Aborigines Don McLeod and Aboriginal lawmen Dooley Bin Bin and Clancy McKenna, urged Aborigines working on sheep and cattle stations in Pilbara to strike for better conditions.
Living and working with her Nyangumarda people on pastoral stations, she had witnessed and experienced indignities from the police in regular police raids on Aboriginal camps. At the time it was common for Aboriginal workers to be paid only in rations of food and clothing. Mumaring demanded wages from her white station boss, which she received. She applied these funds to hire a truck and collect workers.
Mumaring organised the strike on the stations near her despite threats of her removal from the area by police and the Native Welfare Department. Her efforts were instrumental in spreading the strike to Pilbara stations further inland.
Bindi was among the most prominent backers of McLeod. She led 96 people in the walk-off from Roy Hill station. At Nullagine, when confronted by police, Bindi talked her way through and claimed that she had never heard of McLeod, making her way to Canning Camp on the Shaw River with 86 others.
The Pilbara strike was one of Australia's longest, and changed the structure of labour relations in the state of Western Australia. A result of the strike was the establishment of an independent Aboriginal Co-operative organisation, of which Bindi was an active member, which engaged in mining ventures in the 1950s.
In the 1950s Bindi lived in the Pindan Cooperative settlement in Port Hedland, a well-ordered collective and one of the first Aboriginal cooperatives formed in Western Australia, where residents worked in the mining industry and received equal pay.
In October 1959 she successfully lobbied for a school for Pindan while in Perth to be fitted for an artificial limb after losing her leg in an accident in the bush. In Perth she also spoke at meetings of the Western Australian branch of the Union of Australian Women, a group which supported the cause of Aboriginal rights.
Bindi died on 23 December 1962 of uraemia, a type of kidney disease, at the Native Hospital in Port Hedland, Western Australia. She was buried in the local cemetery.