The story of Ernestine Hill and Daisy Bates
Late in the autumn of 1945, the first letter came:
Dear Ernestine Hill,
I miss you greatly here in Adelaide, I wonder if I shall ever see you here again …
Are you returning South? & when? I am not going back to tent life but am here in Adelaide & about to begin new script—this time to write up my blacks’ life & mine with them, & to note for future Australians, their customs, laws, their whole daily lives, ways, foods, legends, & to make broadcasting (or ‘broadcast-able’) script of them all, as well as making a book or booklets. 1
Daisy Bates, the letter’s author, was more than a day’s travel from where Hill had first met her, camping on the rim of the Nullarbor. A self-taught ethnologist, she had pitched her tents near Ooldea siding on the east–west railway line to observe the Aboriginal people who gathered at Yuldilgabbi, a nearby soak. For centuries they’d travelled there from Kalgoorlie, Oodnadatta, the MacDonnell ranges and beyond for water, trade and ceremony. Now it was ‘Orphan water, all its people dead: explorer after explorer, then the railway’s engineers had drained it. But the legend persists and the blacks still come from 400 and 600 miles away, to find that the Yuldilgabbi is a thing of the past’. 2 They drifted down to sidings on the line to beg passengers for food.
‘Every station had its camp,’ Hill wrote. She had had seen them too, ‘the “black” we called them then, the lowliest of the earth, in rags, raggeder rags than anywhere else on the continent, down from the desert’. 3 A freelance correspondent, she had ‘barged in from the skies’, as Bates put it, after catching the Trans-Australian express to Ooldea, hoping to spin a story about the ‘woman who lives with the blacks’. 4
Bates had shimmered into view among the mulga and the mallee in the midday heat haze, an apparition from another era dressed in a prim Edwardian rig. She’d invited Hill to visit her camp, a couple of miles over the dunes flanking Yuldilgabbi. An Aboriginal man had hoisted Hill’s suitcase onto his head, and she’d followed the septuagenarian’s deft clip over the sand. ‘Tawny-dark sandhills rippled with wind stretching to the desolate north,’ she observed in her notes:
like ploughed land and then the deep blue of low hills … Ooldea itself is a jumble of helter-skelter hills … kicked up by wallaby.
The soak … is some hundreds of yards wide, just desolate stretches of sand, yet here the blacks could find unlimited water by scratching, they dug 2 ft wells. 5
But the engineers’ pipes had channelled the water away over the dunes to the siding when the Trans-Australian railway line was built in 1917. Photographs Hill took show a wind-blasted dust bowl, the bare branches of trees clutching at blanched skies as if signalling distress. Bemused Aboriginal people crouch in the foreground of some; others show Bates, her white shirt, tie, ankle-length navy serge skirt topped off with a dust coat, gloves and a hat with a shroud-like mesh as if she’s about to handle a beehive or hazardous chemicals. Armed with a black umbrella, she dispenses ‘Empire Clothing’ from a wheelbarrow and doles out sheets and billies of tea to Aboriginal people, pulling white shirts over men’s heads. Originally her practice had been to camp nearby to learn about their lives and cultures, speaking to them where possible in their own languages. She had spent her days scribbling what she learned on whatever came to hand—cellophane newspaper wrappings, old soup-tin labels, telegram pads. Over time she’d taken to performing ad-hoc social work, convinced that Aboriginal people were dying out and her acts would ‘give them tranquillity and peace in their last moments’. 6
Their first meeting had taken place in 1932, when Hill had been young and hungry for interesting copy. She had experienced only five days of Bates’ tent life, but that was long enough for her to churn out two features that commanded attention—one controversially so—across the capital city dailies. Now in her late forties, Hill was an established journalist and author of several travel books, the best known being The Great Australian Loneliness. A former ABC commissioner and editor of its Weekly women’s pages, she also knew about broadcasting.
Bates was enterprising. Although well into her eighties, she sensed the potential of new media such as radio talks and film documentaries: the lushly descriptive travelogues about the interior written by the likes of Hill, Ion Idriess and William Hatfield had had their day. ‘I want you near me,’ her letter continued, ‘to share, & share my “material”, your “broadcasting knowledge & a possibility of doing something with the many old photographs taken since 1899. There is a name for photo-broadcasting but I forget it …’ Perhaps she imagined them pulling together something photo-broadcast-able from Hill’s photographs and her own scraps of illegible, fly-blown notes. ‘What do you think?’ she wrote. ‘You’ll tell me fully and clearly, I know. My love for you is unalterable, but I think my youth is going. Let me know what you think.’7
Hill was tired. Wartime privations and the relentless schedule she kept as a single mother supporting herself and her teenage son, Robert, had ground her down. In March 1942 she had been laid off the Weekly because of war-driven staffing cuts. Later that year she was appointed an ABC commissioner and clocked up 6000 miles in two months, often ‘travelling far from the railway lines’, talking to hundreds of people about what they wanted from radio programming. 8 It was a role she relished but resigned from two years later because of ill health. She resumed circumnavigating the country as a freelance correspondent, writing to her cousin, Coy Bateson, in April 1944, ‘I have travelled 20,000 miles since November—where? Round and round.’ She and her son, Robert, or Bob, as he was known, were both ‘anti-killing’ and towards the war’s end she fought to have him spared from military conscription. He was also Hill’s only remaining close family member and her research assistant. A year before receiving Bates’ first plaintive request she told Coy, ‘This long and appalling mental strain is badly affecting my health.’ 9
Bates, who’d pitched her tents at Pyap on the Murray, then back at Wynbring on the east–west line during the early 1940s, was largely oblivious to the war. ‘If I could “scrounge” 2 jeeps and bring them to W.A. would you live in one with me? In some quiet area?’ she had scrawled in the top right-hand corner of a letter to Hill in late 1946, as if suggesting they play hooky.10 She kept up the pressure, entreating Hill in mid 1947 to ‘get a big Double Caravan of some kind—I asked the Govt for one but my letter was not even answered’. 11 J.A. Carrodus, the secretary of the Department of the Interior, wrote to Hill in November 1948, seeking clarification about ‘just what Mrs. Bates has in mind’ after she’d written asking him for ‘a quiet simple little camp, or tent, or room, just as I had my 16 years’ tent at Ooldea’. 12
Hill was camping herself. Bob had been exempted from military service a few months before the war’s end, and they had both headed north to Borroloola. ‘Here where the world is quiet, we are trying to finish the Territory book,’ she wrote to her Sydney friend and mentor George Mackaness, ‘where now I am content in the leafy shadow of a tent and the cool of a bough shade … My symphony concert is corroboree, my only other callers the shirtless philosophers of this forgotten shore.’ As she and Bob boiled a billy, cooked ‘damper, with a morsel of goat and other humble daily tack’13 and wrote up their notes for The Territory, they must have been reluctant to give up their hard-won peace. Nor may Hill have wanted to plunge a couple of thousand miles down the Centralian corridor to reprise her earlier role as glorified secretary to Bates.
In 1934 she had persuaded Bates to catch the train to Adelaide with trunk-loads of her precious notes after bushfires had overwhelmed Ooldea. Hill had feared for the older woman’s life and, above all, ‘the value of her collections of data from the now-vanished Aboriginal tribes, and the grievous loss to Australia if they should be destroyed’. 14 The pair had sequestered themselves in an Advertiser office, Bates as prophet dictating to Hill as scribe. The result was a series of articles, ‘My Natives and I’, which was syndicated to other major newspapers in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane. Hill was largely responsible for crafting the articles into a manuscript about her friend’s life and work, which London publishers John Murray & Co. published in 1938 under Bates’ name as The Passing of the Aborigines. The book was an international bestseller, accomplishing what no work produced by the professionally trained male Australian anthropological fraternity had yet managed: to communicate observations about remote Aboriginal life and culture to a broad audience.
Now Bates had publishing plans of her own. Ninety-nine folios of her notes—‘laws, customs & ngayabulla’—had been housed in the national archives in Canberra in 1941. She’d been granted a Commonwealth Literary Fellowship and an office in Adelaide, and had ‘much of the Ooldea in MSS here to preserve for future Australians’, possibly in broadcast-able form. But although the Commonwealth had provided her with secretaries, she’d given them up ‘as they were no use’. Who better to enlist than her old friend Ernestine Hill, who not only had superlative shorthand and typing skills but also shared her passions, giving through her writing ‘the world of Australia and the Empire the wonderful unique knowledge … of Northern Australia’? 15
Hill may have feared what the circuitous, nightmarish tropes of her friend’s letters signified. In one, Bates described her ‘frightful manhandling by railway gangsters’ who came to her tent after midnight and ‘compelled [me] bodily into a vile car, my feet doubled up by my neck … and onto Port Augusta Hospital’. 16 The police had deployed two officers to bring back ‘without fail, one pernickety old humbug’ after she’d refused to catch the train to receive medical treatment. 17 The address on this letter was ‘Flinders Hotel, Streaky Bay, SA’, a coastal town some 700 kilometres west of Adelaide: Bates had absconded there from hospital in early 1946, planning to resume tent life. But local farmers had taken over her old campsites on the bight: ‘it was now “whitefella” country … so I could not rest any more there’. 18
She was really too frail to camp, so she boarded with a family near Streaky Bay in a sleep-out behind their stone farmhouse. She did light chores such as making her own bed and kindling the fire, but she could ‘do no more skipping rope business or running up stairs & down’19—her habitual exercise. She was now in her eighty-eighth year; her world had shrunk to the walls of a galvanised iron room in which ‘the rain drips in and the wind whistles through’. 20 She was used to roughing it and living in confined spaces, but some forms of solitude were preferable to others. At times she was content with her own company: ‘I am quite happy in my Solitude. I see my kindly hostess at meals & I try to do chores & keep my own room.’ Yet the pall of loneliness could descend: ‘I’ve got my little teapot & tea cups & oh oh what would I not give to make Ernestine a cup of tea … I am very lonely—spiritually, mentally.’ 21
‘[P]athetic little letters were coming to me from Daisy Bates, who is 88, imploring me to come back to see her,’ Hill later told Mackaness, ‘so I did.’22 She and Bob spent much of 1946 researching The Territory before travelling south to Melbourne. In mid 1947 they set off, ‘gypsying to windward with Buggy and Caravan’—which they’d bought from Army Disposals for the trip—‘bound out of the city’s cold and dark for horizons of the sun’, to deliver Bates to ‘the dreaming of her beloved “Joobaitch” in the Bibbulmun country in Western Australia’, where she had camped in the early 1900s.23
But when the Hills arrived at Streaky Bay, they found ‘there was no question of taking Daisy with us. The little old lady seems to be rapidly failing.’24 Instead Hill spent her time ‘in conference’ with Bates in the inner sanctum of her shed-like room, ‘Daisy talking all the time about the old days and the blacks and their legends’.25 Bates died several years later in an Adelaide convalescent home.
• • •
Over the next two decades Hill struggled to preserve her own ‘sixty years of travel and memories within Australia … to leave a picture of my native land as close as possible to truth’.26 She had always been ‘an avid collector … of words—notes of stories, of historical data, of personalities, natural history, descriptions of the country’, which accompanied her in trunks ‘wherever she moves’. 27
‘Oceans of great work’ now engulfed her. ‘Chapter and verse … I am submerged in notes and folders,’ she wrote a year before she died. ‘Nearly all my work just needs sorting, weeding … It is of value now I know. All I need is motive power for arranging, “packaging”, negotiating …’ 28 She never summoned this power and, after her death in 1972, relatives packaged up bulging manila folders of notes, drafts of novels and plays, letters to family and friends, photographs of camels, pearl luggers and troglodyte mining towns. They sent Hill’s ‘sixty years of fragments’—the ramblings of a near-vagrant old woman—to be corralled in 32 archival boxes and a parcel of photographs at Queensland University’s Fryer Library.
I visited the Hill collection in the Fryer after reading The Great Australian Loneliness, wanting to learn more about its author, the jaunty young woman who ‘first set out, a wandering “copy-boy” with swag and typewriter … dangling from a camel-saddle, jingling on a truck’29 in July 1930, hitching a lift through the red heart on any available form of transport. I marvelled at Hill’s daring and eccentricity in journeying through isolated areas still considered risky for anyone, especially a woman, to travel alone. I’d wandered myself, working as an Indigenous policy researcher, for more than a decade throughout the country’s remote parts. The names of places she visited—Borroloola, Broome, Coober Pedy, Arnhem Land, Tennant Creek, Alice Springs—clicked by, familiar as worn beads on a rosary. Cloistered under flat grey skies in Melbourne’s inner north, I understood her desire to quit ‘the rhythm of the “big machine” and the sameness of cities’.30 I knew what it was to tire of house-hemmed horizons and long to see distance wherever you looked.
But I found few traces of the wandering copy-boy from The Great Australian Loneliness in the Hill collection. Inside the first box was a series of slim foolscap diaries, covered in wrapping paper: candy stripes, Aboriginal motifs, tall ships, daisies. On top was a yearbook diary from 1965, which outlined Hill’s colour-coding for her notebooks: ‘Yellow—Central deserts. Inland sea. Aboriginal road, Blue with galleons—W.A. pearling/Broome, Daisies—Daisy, Aboriginal folk lore—red and black’ and so forth. 31 She constructed typologies, heading a New Index Work Book in the second box: ‘Folk Lore Lists and Synopses, of my own gathering throughout Australia, to be classified into aboriginal and white Australia … The subjects and stories may be later alphabetically arranged.’32She was a spreader as well as a cataloguer, her mind flying off at tangents —‘Folk-Lore: Wonders, Explorers, Opals—Harlequinade. Sapphire, Feathers’33—as if she couldn’t channel her thoughts about Australia. My heart lurched in my chest. It was hard not to feel the pathos of a once celebrated journalist wrapping up her treasures in Christmas paper, but it was crazy old lady territory.
Hill’s fortunes were waning by the time she headed off to Streaky Bay in the late 1940s. She published The Territory in 1951; her last book, Kabbarli, a memoir of Bates, came out posthumously in 1973. These volumes bookended two decades in which she puddled about, writing notes for various projects, redrafting chapters of novels she promised would be her best yet. Most of the letters in the collection are from this period. They depict a writer, boxed up in a guesthouse or hotel room, wiring friends and relatives for money, fending off publishers’ requests for completed manuscripts: ‘No good collecting and collecting—they want the books.’ She struggled with emphysema and ‘nervous dyspepsia, also a puffiness and at times a weariness and melancholy submission to circumstance’.34 Reading this correspondence, I was confronted with the boredom, the repetitiveness of much of her life, the Great Australian Monotony. Her words, not mine: this was one of the titles she floated in her notes for The Great Australian Loneliness.
Sifting through the collection was like looking at the messy underside of an embroidery sampler. Some boxes contain notebooks with a few lines of shorthand on their pages; others have manila folders bulging with reams of closely annotated typescript. Only fragmentary notes remained from the wandering that became the Loneliness. In one box I found an exercise book titled ‘From the first old Centre notebook 1932’.35 Extracts of typescript in red ink are pasted to its pages: a transcription of shorthand notes Hill wished to salvage for future books, a practice she describes in Kabbarli of not quoting interviewees ‘verbatim exactly but from my notes at the time, which I still keep for reference, and they are transposed by me’.36 A list of Aboriginal words with English counterparts appears on the exercise book’s first page, with ‘Oodnadatta Language’ written in a decisive hand beside them. Other pages contain the shadowy remnants of Hill’s encounters with people at various central Australian locations. It was a literal palimpsest, a reflection of the boxes’ conglomerate of different textured graphies—scraps of Aboriginal language, Hill’s own inscrutable version of shorthand and cramped copperplate, insertions in another hand, typescripts of notes and facsimiles of lost originals.
Often I enjoyed the rawness of this mosaic dross from Hill’s transitory life more than I did the curlicues and flourishes of her published prose. I was struck by the telegrammatic poetry of her jottings: ‘Nobody hides in the great wide spaces and everyone answers a shout.’37 She’s also more frank in these random thoughts than she is in her books and articles, as if only here can she admit what was unsayable at the time: ‘He always employs blacks—he pays them nothing a week and they feed themselves.’ 38 Scribbling ideas and observations in notebooks is a common enough practice of writers and journalists, and I have a bad habit of buying a new notebook, writing a few pages of ideas for yet another project, then abandoning it in a bottom drawer. But Hill’s notetaking has a compulsive aura, as if she was scrambling to shore up her fragments against the tide of time. It evokes the image of a writer snared in her own web of semiosis, endlessly scribbling but unable to articulate her vision.
In her final years, Hill feared leaving behind ‘sixty years of fragments that nobody can make out fully’ and contemplated seeking assistance of the sort she’d given Bates, telling Bob her material was ‘too good for Australia to be left behind or thrown out’.39 Her desire to give these fragments a permanent resting place after her death implies she thought preserving her work, like Bates’ collection had been in Canberra, was in the national interest.
In The Many Worlds of R.H. Mathews, Martin Thomas coins the word ‘ethnomania’ to describe the ‘frantic energy’ that gripped laypeople such as Mathews and Bates in the early twentieth century in studying races and civilisations before anthropology was institutionalised as a discipline in Australia.40 Hill appears to have caught the ethnomanic impulse from Bates, who described being ‘bitten with the virus of research’.41 While protesting in The Territory she’s ‘no anthropologist’, Hill recounts gathering her notes ‘mainly from blacks and from a few observant whites in many days and many ways of roaming’. 42 She felt an urgency about preserving ‘these stray notes of mine’, because of what she’d witnessed during her roaming reporting in the decades after roads, railways and telegraph lines began to score the continent, disrupting dreaming tracks and Aboriginal people’s experience of country.
In The Great Australian Loneliness, she recalls sitting ‘on an upturned petrol tin under the stars’, attempting to capture the corroboree dances before they disappeared: ‘there was always something to scribble in my note-book by the light of those crackling fires’. 43But she did not restrict herself to observations of Aboriginal people; her stories included the ‘shirtless philosophers’—pioneering bushmen. ‘I have magnificent and incredible copy of the old days and these,’ she wrote. ‘It is incredible the way these people are left. I must write their stories, the story of the great sandhills, in a novel.’ 44 She sought to capture the essence of an Australia she thought was quickly passing but had universal resonances that needed to be preserved as a Great Australian Imaginary or bicultural tjukurrpa.
The journalist and the ethnologist believed they were engaged in important work, collecting remnants from a ‘vanishing race’. Neither was trained in anthropology or any similar discipline, yet both thought they could distil the essence of another culture to ground a fledgling national identity. Who does that? I asked myself while rummaging through Hill’s and then Bates’ archival boxes. I felt winded by their sheer audacity; but, although I found aspects of their ethnographic venture disquieting, I could not help admiring their nomadic chutzpah. What kind of woman, especially in the early twentieth century, crosses the country by caravan or camel, or camps by a railway siding on the Nullarbor?
I was vaguely familiar with these women’s names and what they represented, or so I thought. When I was in high school, my mother encouraged my sister and me to read My Love Must Wait, Ernestine Hill’s novelistic salute to Matthew Flinders, as she did the writings of other interwar Australian women authors, such as Eleanor Dark, Mary Durack, Kylie Tennant and Katharine Susannah Prichard. I resisted most of her suggestions and put aside Hill’s popular novel after ploughing through a couple of chapters. But for my mother, born in Sydney at the end of the Depression and whose school years were overshadowed by war, these women were household names. Their novels—and Hill’s radio broadcasts—brought the experience of life in the country’s far reaches into the home of an urban schoolgirl like my mother: provocatively in the case of Pritchard’s portrayal of a white stockman’s love for an Aboriginal woman in Coonardoo.
Later I encountered Bates while undertaking a Master of Women’s Studies as the ‘first in her field’ of female anthropologists. Pitching her tent in remote places to observe Aboriginal groups over long periods, she pioneered ethnographic fieldwork for women such as Olive Pink and Ursula McConnel, and indeed for male anthropologists, in Australia. But she was an embarrassment to the sisterhood, someone to be mentioned, if at all, with a shudder, because of her scandalous reporting on Aboriginal people’s practices and her active loathing of mixed-descent children. As the title of her infamous bestseller suggests, Bates subscribed to her era’s self-justificatory view that colonisation was inevitable because Aboriginal people were passing.
A story that Isobel White told about Bates’ memory from her fieldwork at Yalata Aboriginal Reserve on the Great Australian Bight during the 1970s illustrates these tensions. White discovered that some older people at Yalata had been brought down from Ooldea during the Maralinga testing in the 1950s. When she asked them about Bates, she was disappointed by their focus on her eccentricities—‘the curious figure she cut with her old-fashioned clothes and her parasol’. Even worse, one day ‘when we were talking about her, I realised that the children were dancing around us reciting “Daidj Bate mamu”. Mamu means ghost or devil, which suggested to me that Mrs Bates’s name was used to scare the children as a sort of bogey!’ 45
This discomforting picture of the earnest white female anthropologist, who finds the foremother of her tradition is the subject of Aboriginal children’s taunts, presents the conundrum of Bates. There’s the nonconformist, who lived alongside Aboriginal people unseen by the usual eyes reserved for white women in her era, and the woman of science, respected for her perspicacity as a trailblazer for white feminists and anthropologists. Then there’s Bates as a figure of derision, not only because of her idiosyncrasies but also because of the misery she wrought on the Aboriginal people she purported to serve.
For Ernestine Hill, jumping the train at Ooldea one searing day in 1932, ‘the little Dresden figure and the moving tent were a surprise in the primeval scene, a question mark’.46 Like others of her generation, she was preoccupied with questions of what kinds of existence were possible for women—typically white ones—in Australia’s vast open spaces. Born in Rockhampton to a mother from Townsville, Hill’s affinity was always with the north. Through her reporting, she sought to loosen the stranglehold ‘of the six, and now alarmingly seven, big cities of premature birth, holding two-thirds of the population’, on national identity by exposing life beyond the south-eastern seaboard. Her vision of the north was a proto-multicultural one: ‘of smug, colour-conscious White Australia below the twentieth parallel, and black, white and brindle struggling above it’.
She lived in an era when optimism was championed as a value and a belief that if the north were properly developed, it would become a source of national prosperity where many would make their fortune. ‘Ten thousand people are holding the land that could—and will, some day—make room for fifty millions,’ she wrote47, an idea that continues to resurface, recently in the government’s 2015 White Paper on Developing Northern Australia. European men out-numbered their female counterparts in northern Australia, which was thought unfit for ‘civilised’ habitation. The call for white women to join them masked fears about miscegenation and the abuse of Aboriginal women and girls on the frontier, and spoke to the perceived need to populate northern Australia—with Europeans. ‘These women are holding back the north,’ Hill wrote of the scatter of white women she met in her early travels, ‘which without them must slip back, ever and again, to a haunted, homeless loneliness’.48
If there was any woman who for Hill epitomised the ‘habit of loneliness, the aura of loneliness in these solitary ways’,49it was the blue stocking camping at Ooldea soak. Gaining an audience with Bates in her tents became more than an opportunity for a scoop; it marked the beginning of Hill’s lifelong obsession with her, culminating in the publication of Kabbarli. Although she later distanced herself from aspects of Bates’ views about Aboriginal people, she kept returning to her as an exemplar of outback female self-sufficiency. The ideal she presented in her writing of Bates as ‘a woman always alone’ on the desert’s rim, and indeed of her ever-mobile self with her typewriter, suitcase and swag, crested a wave of women who travelled, worked and lived, sometimes in pairs—as nurses, teachers and missionaries—in outback Australia last century, providing templates for them to embrace remote life, and for thinking and writing about the interior. Their activities spearheaded a phenomenon, in which I’ve participated, of a secular order of nuns who set out to ‘do good’ in remote areas, often in the Aboriginal social justice industry.
‘The adventure is over. But my heart is out there for good,’ Hill writes in opening The Great Australian Loneliness.50It’s a melodramatic gesture, but reading these words I recognised a familiar impulse. When I first visited central Australia as a Canberra-based public servant, I had no idea it would become something of a habit or that, after living in Alice Springs and moving back to the east coast, I would keep returning every few months. It was as if I was suffering from a relapsing and remitting condition—a not unusual pattern for anyone who has lived in central Australia. With it comes a lifestyle of constant momentum with its own idiosyncratic take on mobility and distance, of feeling at home yet fundamentally unsettled by place.
It is this impetus behind Hill’s writing that drew me to the archives, and indeed back to remote Australia, to understand what drove her wandering neurosis and her friendship with the even more disconcerting Daisy Bates, who fuelled her ethnomanic activity. It resonates with my experience of living and working ‘above the twentieth parallel’: an idea that for Hill didn’t necessarily adhere to specific geographic coordinates but was more about embracing the otherness of being in the loneliness. This for me is the value of revisiting these women’s uncomfortable legacy. It is as if having once kicked aside your moorings and lost touch with the familiar, you can never see the country the same way again.
- Daisy Bates to Ernestine Hill, 12 April 1945, UQFL18.D.2.1. Material from the Ernestine Hill collection in the Fryer Library at Queensland University is prefixed ‘UQFL18’ and followed by a reference number.
- Hill, ‘Ooldea Water’, UQFL18.D.1.19–20.
- Ernestine Hill, Kabbarli: A Personal Memoir of Daisy Bates, Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1972, p. 36; Hill, ‘On the old Trans line’, UQFL18.D.12.114.
- Hill, Kabbarli, p. 6.
- Hill, ‘Ooldea Water’, UQFL18.D.1.19–20.
- Daisy Bates to William Campion, WA governor, 19 July 1928, Aborigines Department Correspondence Files GRG24 6/570, No. 409/1914, WA State Records.
- Bates to Hill, 12 April 1945, UQFL18.D.2.1.
- Ernestine Hill to C.J.A. Moses, 14 January 1944, NAA.
- Ernestine Hill to Coy Bateson, 4 April 1944, UQFL18.E.2.
- Bates to Hill, 17 October 1946, UQFL18.D.2.11.
- Bates to Hill, 15 October 1947, UQFL18.D.2.47.
- J.A. Carrodus to Ernestine Hill, 16 November 1948, UQFL18.D.4.7.
- Ernestine Hill to George Mackaness, 26 July 1945, NLA MS 534/471/56–8.
- Hill, Kabbarli, p. 135
- Bates to Hill, 17 October 1946, UQFL18.D.2.14.
- Bates to Hill, 17 October 1946, UQFL18.D.2.12.
- Alvis Brooks, interviewed by Marian Hinchcliffe, NLA ORAL TRC 1883.
- Bates to Hill, 17 October 1946, UQFL18.D.2.11
- Bates to Hill, 21 March 1947, UQFL18.D.2.44.
- Hill to Bateson, 26 August 1947, UQFL18.E.2.67
- Bates to Hill, 17 February 1947, UQFL18.D.2.31.
- Hill to Mackaness, 1 December 1947, NLA MS 534/471/63.
- Ernestine Hill, ‘Australia’s Home. Notes’, NLA MS 8392, p. 1; Robert Hill, ‘Notes by Robert Hill on his mother Ernestine Hill’s “Notes of a Journey—Melbourne to Perth” on which she visited Daisy Bates for the last time (c. 1947)’, NLA MS 8392, p. 1.
- Hill to Bateson, 26 August 1947, UQFL18.E.2.67.
- R. Hill, ‘Notes by Robert Hill’, NLA MS 8392, p. 2.
- Hill, ‘Grand Kangaroo’, UQFL18.A.73.52.
- Mary Durack, ‘Ernestine Hill’, Walkabout, vol. 18, no. 3 (1952), pp. 8–9.
- Ernestine Hill to Robert Hill, October 1957, UQFL18.E.2; Hill to Charles Bateson, 9 January 1966, UQFL18.E.8, p. 2.
- Ernestine Hill, The Great Australian Loneliness, 2nd edn, Robertson & Mullens, Melbourne, 1942, p. 7.
- Hill, ‘Australia’s Home. Notes’, NLA MS 8392, p. 1.
- E. Hill to C. Bateson, 9 January 1966, UQFL18.E.2, p. 1
- Hill, ‘From the first old Centre notebook 1932’, 18.A.72.1.
- Hill, Kabbarli, p. 105.
- Hill to C. Bateson, 24 September 1964, UQFL18.E.8, p. 1; Hill to R. Hill, 17 March 1971, UQFL18.E.1.
- Martin Thomas, The Many Worlds of R.H. Mathews, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 2011, pp. 44–5.
- Daisy Bates to Professor Fitzherbert, 7 September 1931, Barr Smith Library, p. 3.
- Ernestine Hill, The Territory, 3rd edn, Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1963, p. 348.
- Hill, Great Australian Loneliness, p. 182.
- Hill to Bateson, 10 March 1944, UQFL18.E.2.1, p. 5.
- Isobel White, ‘Introduction’ to Daisy Bates, Isobel White and National Library of Australia, The Native Tribes of Western Australia, National Library of Australia, Canberra, 1985, p. 2.
- Hill, Kabbarli, p. 2.
- Hill, Great Australian Loneliness, p. 340.
- Hill, Great Australian Loneliness, p. 133.
- Hill, Great Australian Loneliness, p. 8