Mulla Boola Lookout provides a view over landscape and history. Picture: Stephen Scourfield

There is no sign to Moola Bulla Lookout. At first I just end up at the big white gateway into Moola Bulla. No Unauthorised Entry.

But what I'm looking for must be somewhere.

I drive round a circuit again, and end up back at the gateway, up Roberta Avenue, after it turns from bitumen to gravel north of Halls Creek, and then follow the fenceline to the right.

The track looks quite well used and after 600m I turn into the right again, up a side track which climbs a rise.

Yes, this is it. Moola Bulla Lookout, but with no sign to that effect. And from here I look out north over this historic station, the town 3km behind me, roofs glinting in the sun.

And why this rocky knoll with its few wispy trees?

I have never been to Moola Bulla Lookout before but I have wanted to stand here - for here you can see the past and the present, good intentions and misdeeds, future hopes and hopelessness.

Moola Bulla, just to the north of Halls Creek, has a central place in the hearts and minds of Aboriginal people in the central and east Kimberley. It was established in 1910 by the Aborigines Department. It was hoped Moola Bulla might alleviate some of the conflict with pastoralists and reduce the incidence of cattle spearing, that a ration station would reduce the need for local people to kill livestock and instead train them to work in the growing East Kimberley pastoral industry. The idea was to congregate Aboriginal people in a place that was part institution and part cattle station.

A one-room station school was established and by the early 1950s, there were some 200 people busy here. Men worked as stockmen, cattle ringers, fencers and handymen. Young and old collected wood and did domestic duties.

Many of European descent worked tirelessly and with goodwill and many Aboriginal people became skilled stockmen.

Then, in 1955, the State government sold the station and people in this tight-knit community were immediately sent away. Aboriginal people who had grown up here were forcibly relocated. Since then, it's been run as a private pastoral station.

Kija woman Josie Farrer grew up at Moola Bulla Station, became the first female Aboriginal shire president in WA and is now Member for Kimberley.

From Moola Bulla Lookout, you can see it all, if you look hard.

Stephen Scourfield

The West Australian

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