View portraitMilerum, a Ngarrindjeri man, known to the British and German settlers as Clarence Long, was born around 1869 on the Younghusband Peninsula. Milerum’s parents lived in a traditional way, hunting and gathering food until 1875. His father moved from hunting as a way of life, to driving oxen for a settler farmer. Milerum’s father moved wool to the market to be sold.
Milerum was 6 years old before he met Europeans. This was when he was first given European clothes, so that he could play with the white settlers’ daughter. Milerum became a shearer. Milerum also became known for being good at learning languages; he learnt English quickly and helped to record several Aboriginal languages. His work has helped to preserve Aboriginal languages, so that we still have the languages today.
Watch basketmaking movieMilerum travelled across to Adelaide in summer and spent time at the South Australian Museum, where he made baskets and wooden weapons. Milerum also sang and told the stories of his people in his own language; some of these stories were recorded on film by the anthropologist Norman Tindale, who worked at the museum. Tindale recorded Milerum making a sedge basket that was decorated with the feathers of the Boobook owl. Milerum believed that the Boobook owl feathers protected him as it was his ngatji, which in the Ngarrindjeri language means closest friend.