Thelma was born in the Percival Lakes region. She grew up primarily around Yimiri and Kurturarra, walking around with her mother, father and grandmother. As a child she and her three siblings stayed close to the major water sources while her parents went out hunting. Sometimes Yuwali (Janice Nixon) and her family came to visit.
When it rained, people scattered everywhere and when it was hot they came back together at the permanent water at Yimiri. Thelma and her family had to hide from an aeroplane that was searching for them - Thelma's family hid her under some bushes. But the whitefellas who were searching for them returned and convinced the family to move into Jigalong mission. They moved to the mission in 1964 and were amongst the last Martu people to leave the desert and be reunited with the other families. Thelma went to school in Jigalong, moved to Strelley and later returned to Jigalong. She met her husband in Jigalong, and had her children there. When her children were school-aged, Thelma moved to Parnngurr and continues to live there today. Thelma is also part of the Punmu Women's Ranger team.
Photograph courtesy and copyright Tobias Titz.