Don’t make eye contact (with the heathen Asiatics)

Aunty Pearl Hamaguchi showed me three beautiful studio portraits of her mother Mary Barbara Lynott, photographed by Murakami. Mary Barbara Lynott was a Stolen Generation, taken to Beagle Bay Catholic Mission from Ruby Plains Station in East Kimberley , then sent to Broome to work as a servant girl for pearling masters.

“…. I used to love to hear her stories of her walks every Sunday after Mass to China Town. That was the only time they were allowed. So mother had all these photographs. Oh, about six of them I think there was all together. Mama, you got these lovely portraits. How did you possibly, you know, you were just a poor servant girl. Oh, no, no, no, she said. When us girls would walk down to China Town, with strict instructions from nuns, not to make eye contact with the heathen Asiatics, We’d pass Murakami’s photography shop. And he’d be waiting for mum. Barbara, Barbara, Eva. Mother’s very good friend Aunty Eva was beautiful woman as well. And can you imagine them in the finery in the 1930s. Lovely hat, lovely white dress with white stockings and whatever. Little handkerchief and five shillings or whatever they had to spend. He would look out for her. He would look out for these convent girls, you know. Barbara, please sit for me. I want to take your portrait. I want to take your portrait. Oh, I said. What did he look like? Oh, she said, he was very good-looking. And I’m thinking, but mother, why didn’t you… (laugh). She said I think he had a crush on me. That was my mother’s story….” – Pearl Hamaguchi

Mary Barbara Lynott photographed by Yasukichi Murakami

– Posted by Mayu Kanamori


3 thoughts on “Don’t make eye contact (with the heathen Asiatics)

  1. Pingback: Shinju Matsuri Festival – Broome | About Murakami

  2. Mme.Mayu Kanamori Dear Mayu thank you for the fine essay and I trust the you have given all this material to Mr JK C Murakami. Please present my compliments to Mr Murakami. I was first at that cemetery circa 1941 at Obon and with my own eyes the tiny saki vessel and tiny bowl of rice. I was cared for by our Japanese bosun and I occasionally receive a wack over the ear for small transgressions. He rowed out to a boat from time to time with me sitting in the thwarts. I had never heard that comment about not looking and that is with respect nonsense. I was told not to look up Shiba land on one occasion but only once ! Give my best regards to Mrs Pearl Hamaguchi when next you meet. I sat with Mr Hamaguchi on a hard bench in arcade near supermarket and we spoke of secret men’s business and shopping.
    Yours sincerely
    John N.

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