Martha Ward


Wanarn, WA

Martha Ward

I was born in Warburton Mission 66 years ago, and I am a Ngaanyatjarra speaking woman. My family lived in Warburton, and this is where I went to school. Later, I went to Eastern Goldfields Senior High School in Kalgoorlie, for three years. I returned to Warburton where I began working for the school, in the kitchen, preparing breakfasts, lunches and dinners for the children who were resident in the Home, and I also worked in the school laundry.

Later, I became a supervisor for the ladies in the community, doing community works. In later years I moved to Wanarn, which is my father’s country. Here, in 1989 I became a Director for the NPYWC for one year. My sister, Valerie Foster, was working for Women’s Council also, with Liza Balmer. They were the first two to work on Nutrition for young mothers and babies. I would watch them work, and it was because of this that I became deeply interested in good nutrition.

In Wanarn I did different work, including starting work in the Aged Care in 2002, where I stayed for many years. In 2010 I was again voted in as a Director of the Women’s Council, for the next two years, until 2012.

I have been an artist for a very long time, working in various media, particularly making baskets for Tjanpi Desert Weavers, and painting my father’s country at Wanarn, for Warakurna Artists. In 2017 I became tjina pika (foot trouble) so I had to retire, leaving my positions for the young people to take over.

In September 2022 at the NPYWC AGM at Ampiyara I was voted in again as a Director for the NPYWC, which is really good, as I still want to learn more. I have always been interested in the way Women’s Council works, and its good governance model. I really enjoy hearing the reports from each team in the Women’s Council, particularly the Child and Family Wellbeing Service (CFWS) because it manages the Child Nutrition program, which I am interested in, as well as Walytjapiti, the Intensive Family Support Service and Child Advocacy.