Thomas Tjapaltjarri was born c. 1964 in the Gibson Desert, Western Australia. In 1984 he was one of a group of nine that made national headlines. He has been described by those who know him as a man seemingly having his mind more focused on the desert, than town life. Thomas and his family became known as the last group of Aboriginals to come into contact with modern, European society. Dubbed "The Last of the Nomads" the group caused a sensation when they walked out of the desert and made contact with the "modern" world for the first time. Thomas and his brothers Warlimpirrnga and Walala have become the well-known Tjapaltjarri Brothers.