Sam Lovell OAM, is a stockman, boundary rider, and is regarded as the 'father' of Aboriginal tourism in Western Australia. Sam, affectionately known as ‘Mr Kimberley’, was born in 1933 at Calwynyadah Station in the Kimberley, where his father Jack was part owner.
As part of the Stolen Generation, at the age of four, Sam was taken to live on Mulla Bulla Station near Halls Creek. Sadly, he never saw his parents again.
Sam became a boundary rider and stockman and worked on cattle stations all along the Gibb River Road. At age nineteen, Sam was the head stockman at Glenroy Station. He never got any wages, only boots and hats at the start of the season, tucker, clothes, tobacco, soap and blankets.
It was during this time that Sam started taking photographs with an old box camera, documenting the cattle industry, mustering camps, the landscape, and the people he met.
Sam's deep knowledge of the country served him well later in life when he created Kimberley Safari Tours in 1981 with his wife Rosita, where he shared his love of the Australian outback.
In 2003, Sam, who was also an acclaimed musician, was awarded the Member of the Order of Australia medal for his services as a mentor to Aboriginal groups and communities in the Kimberley region in developing tourism ventures.
Today, in 2023, Sam is ninety years old, and we thank him for giving us his blessing to share these photographs, which he donated to the State Library of WA in 2017.
By sharing these images from the Sam Lovell collection on our Facebook page, members of the public helped identify and connect Aboriginal people with family and community. This information was passed onto our catalogue team who will verify and update the captions.
If you would like to see more of Sam’s photographs from Halls Creek during the 1950s, you can view them on the catalogue.
You can also watch a mini doco about Sam's life on the State Library YouTube channel.