Smoker Collection - Mibalafoto

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Bruce and Pearl Smoker arrived in Fitzroy crossing in January 1952. For the first year they worked for the Native Welfare Department giving out food rations, and then as hostel parents for children who came in from the stations for school. Pearl started the first school at Fitzroy Crossing in 1953. In 1955 Bruce was the acting superintendent when the Moola Bulla people were forced to leave Moola Bulla Station at short notice. Those that had nowhere else to go were bought to the Fitzroy Mission in truck loads. They had the enormous task of trying to settle a displaced people with no buildings and no food. Joel and John were born while they were in Fitzroy Crossing. In 1957 Bruce and Pearl moved to Halls Creek to establish a community and church for the Moola Bulla people who wanted to return there. Paul, Keren and Philip were born while they were in Halls Creek. In 1967 they returned to Fitzroy Crossing, Bruce as Superintendent, just before the referendum and displacement of many people from stations in 1968. They had to regularly report on the welfare and names of ration recipients, and ingoing and outgoing activity to the Native Welfare Department, and ensure the vegetable garden, goats, chickens, pigs, and the bakery were functioning well, making sure the Store was stocked and functioning, handling disputes, marriages, health issues, deaths and Bruce was the local funeral director and airplane refueller. They left in 1973 and returned to Perth due to Pearl's progressive illness. They returned many times to the Kimberley to visit people all through the Kimberley. Pearl died in 1996 and Bruce died in 2014.


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