The Namatjira Connection

Namatjira and Battarbee

Gayle Quarmby, co-founder of Outback Pride, spent her early childhood in outback Australia. Gayle's father was Rex Battarbee, who founded the platform for the Aboriginal Art industry by mentoring and supporting Albert Namatjira, as well as his family and tribes men.

Rex was a watercolour artist in search of the great outback landscape, moved by the plight of indigenous Australians, who at that time struggled with cultural change and had very few prospects for employment and healthy lifestyle

Rex Battarbee and Albert (Camel Boy)While at Hermannsburg Rex met a young camel team worker called Albert. They developed a strong friendship, which resulted in Rex training Albert as a landscape artist. With Rex's mentorship, Albert Namatjira and kin became known around the world as the Hermannsburg Watercolour movement. From those beginnings, the current aboriginal art industry was created and has provided valuable careers for many remote indigenous artists.

Gayle Gathering Bushfood

A Cultural Connection

Gayle remembers an adventurous childhood growing up with the Eastern Arrente people of the Hermannsburg and Alice Springs area, and fondly remembers gathering bush food with the women and children. This cultural connection has been a vital link in the Outback Pride project development. These relationships were a keystone to the decision to focus on indigenous engagement with the Outback Pride project.

Rex Battarbee's mentorship and belief was that indigenous people have innate skills based on an intimate knowledge and connection to their land. For Gayle, she has been saddened to realise that the Aboriginal people of her childhood were living within a stronger communal structure than a lot of the remote outback people of today.

Gayle and Mike wanted to make an industry based opportunity for remote community members, and are using the Battarbee / Namatjira model of cross cultural skills sharing as the structure of the Outback Pride project.

A truly Australian cuisine

Outback Pride's aim was to create an identifiable Australian cuisine that not only Australia could be proud of but would be generational for indigenous people and bring pride to their traditions.

Gayle explains, "We are kind of bringing them with us on this journey, but we have to work hard to make this industry grow so more indigenous people can access it."

When asked how the public can support the project's goals, Gayle emphasises the value of supporting the native food industry itself. Eat the food, buy the bush food products and - by doing this - truly connect to the story.