men of the frontier

Japangardi Miller spent his early childhood living a traditional and nomadic Warlpiri life. The first time he saw white men was around 1928, during the time of the Coniston Massacre which was one of the last events of the frontier wars. He saw the men and their guns and heard about their bullets which had already killed many Warlpiri people. Japangardi was placed under the control of a white pastoralist and was used, along many other indigenous peoples, for free labour in the mines and cattle stations. He drove cattle from near the West Australian border to near Brisbane, at the end of the trip, his boss sold the horses, forcing Japangardi and his colleagues to walk all the way back home.

After a lifetime of hard physical work, he moved back to Mount Theo and with his sister in law, Peggy Brown, began to provide refuge and help for those youths addicted to sniffing petrol. Mrs Brown and Japangardi began this rehabilitation program completely out of their own pockets, using their age pensions to run activities for the kids and buy extra food and clothing. All their work was voluntary. His methodology was simple: take young addicted people out into the bush, teach them traditional law and country skills, and let the power of the land and culture heal their spirit. In 1994, half the teenage population of Yuendumu (Central Australias largest indigenous community) was sniffing petrol, but eight years later no one sniffed at all, and ex addicts went on to become youth leaders and community workers. Modern treatment does not commonly advise such ‘alternative’ methods as this. Australian social policy analysts deemed petrol sniffing in central Australia an ‘unsolvable problem’, and to primary western methods of treatment, it was.

Japangardi passed away on the 31st of October last year.


While doubling for William Shatner, stuntman Ken Bates set a record for the highest descender fall in North America by plummeting off El Capitan for long shots used in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. (He was wearing a wire support rig.) Bates is also known for his work in films like Die Hard and True Romance and would later work closely with Hollywood explosion fetishist Michael Bay on projects such as Bad Boys, The Rock, Bad Boys, Transformers and Pain & Gain.

Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia, wife of Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich. When she first arrived in Russia, one of the American visitors to the city, Thomas W. Knox, summed up his views on this new addition to the Imperial family:

“Vladimir´s bride is good-looking, solid, well-formed, with plump and finely rounded shoulders; a neck neither long nor short; regularly formed features, with the exception of the nose, which has a slight tendency to pugginess … With her evening toilet, a coronet of diamonds, and a string of diamonds around her neck in which each stone appears as large as a walnut, she is prettier than when I saw her two weeks before at the frontier, where she arrived in a plain traveling dress of brown hollands. Say what you will, a princess appears more like a princess when dressed like ona than when attired like an English governess or a New York shop-girl. As I saw Vladimir´s bride at the frontier I don´t think many men would propose to her, but as she looks to-night at the opera she would not want for offers.”