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Mabel Juli

Mabel Juli was born c.1933 at Five Mile near Moola Boola Station (south of Warmun). She was taken as a baby to Springvale Station, her mother's country. She started work on the station as a little girl, and as a young woman moved to Bedford Downs Station and Bow River Station to work. Her bush name Wiringgoon.

Juli's mother is Mary Peters. Juli is one of seven children - six boys and one girl, Mabel. There are only three of the children alive today: Mabel, Rammel and Rusty. Rusty Peters is also an accomplished artist. When Mabel was a young girl, she left Springvale Station to be with her promised husband. Together, they moved to different cattle stations in the Kimberley, including Bow River and Bedford Downs. Mabel and her husband had six children. Mabel's husband passed away in 1982 when Mabel was 42.

Mabel is a senior Warmun artist. She is a strong Law and Culture woman and is an important ceremonial singer and dancer. Mabel started painting in the 1980s, at the same time as Warmun artists Queenie McKenzie and Madigan Thomas. The women used to watch Rover Thomas paint and one day he said to them, "You try yourself, you might make good painting yourself."; Mabel says "I started thinking about my country, I give it a try."

Mabel is a dedicated, innovative artist who continues to work with natural earth pigments on canvas. She primarily paints the Ngarrankarni (dreaming) stories of her darrajayin (also spelt Tarrajayin), which is covered largely by Springvale Station.


Mabel Juli is renowned for her refined black and white depiction of Garnkiny doo Wardel (Moon and Star), an important Ngarranggarni (Dreaming) story that explores forbidden love, kinship and the origins of our mortality.

Mabel’s recognition as one of Australia’s most revered painters has emerged from her consistent commitment to her art practice and her remarkable storytelling. In 2013 Mabel was awarded the prestigious Kate Challis RAKA Award and was a finalist in the Fleurieu Art Prize for landscape painting.

Mabel is an expert Gija speaker and her paintings articulate complex Ngarranggarni stories and document early colonial encounters from her country Darrajayin, which is covered largely by Springvale Station today.

Mabel Juli was born in the early 1930s at Five Mile, near Moola Boola Station (south of Warmun). Following the end of the station era in the East Kimberley, Mabel settled in Warmun where she began painting in the 1980s under the encouragement of senior Warmun artists. As Mabel says, “I started painting when the old girl [Queenie McKenzie] was here – she was the one who taught me to paint.

She told me, ‘You try that painting’, and I started to paint. I was doing that Garnkiny [Moon]; that’s the painting I started with – because my mother and father told me that Ngarranggarni [Dreaming] story. I was reminded of all those stories from my mum and dad – like Gelinggenayin Hill and the Old Woman Singing Out for Her Dog. Those stories come from my country. They used to take me out bush when I was a little girl – good size – and they told me all about those Dreaming stories. And I always remember those stories. I got ‘em in my brain.”