Jock was a senior Jaru elder and spoke 17 local languages.
Jock was born on Nicholson Station bordering on desert country and situated over the Northern Territory border from Kununurra (East Kimberley) where Jock now resides (Kununurra and Warmun Community). He spent his working life based at Nicholson, and like other stockmen of his day, mustered on surrounding stations – the best of his profession were valued and the station owners provided them with as much work as they wished as mustering time varied throughout the region.
He did not ever know his mother – his father and grandmother “grew him up” (raised him). He had the opportunity to go to Beagle Bay for schooling, but his father and grandmother did not wish him to go – a fact which he has regretted all his life. Jock has often commented “If I had spent more time in school than the stockcamp, I would be a lot better off”.
With no formal education, Jock has avidly participated in important cultural and business matters in his country. He was Chairperson of the influential Wunun Regional Council and has been a leading figure in Aboriginal Affairs in the Kimberley – everyone knows Jock! He is of Jaru tribe and married Doreen, a Kitja woman from Warmun (Turkey Creek). Jock met Doreen when she was at school in Halls Creek – Doreen was fortunate to have the schooling Jock missed.
He worked for Len Hill at Nicholson – a “real top man” – taught him how to drive cars, pull bores, fencing, operate machinery, and eventually Jock became head stockman. He worked at Nicholson until it was sold to Janet Holmes a’Court. Before he was 20, Jock was offered a lucrative contract on the Australian Rodeo Circuit, however declined and remained a stockman for many years.
He and Doreen had six boys and two girls and ‘almost forty’ grandchildren – he said this with pride in his voice. He was a real family man and had been rewarded by his children who supported their mother and father and formed a tight-knit and caring family group.
Jock’s family community was Ngling Anjaru (Cattle Creek) via Halls Creek and he was very proud of his home. He sometimes advised on contract musters these days – mustering has changed – it’s now aerial survey which requires fewer ringers and stockmen, but Jock had progressed with the times and handled everything he did very well ~ including his painting!
His artworks are included in National Gallery of Australia and prominent corporate and private collections worldwide. Due to Jock’s popularity he rarely exhibited in Group Exhibitions however as a testament to his talent as an artist, he has had two sell out solo exhibitions – 2005 Jock Mosquito, Art Mob, Hobart, Tasmania and 2006 Jock Mosquito, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle, Western Australia. In June 2010, Art Mob held their second Solo Exhibition of this wonderful artist’s works.
Jock passed away in 2017.