Nellie was born in the far eastern desert near Oodnadtta, on the remote property of the Wintinna Homestead Cattle Station where her father worked as a shepherd. Nellie grew up with her brother in their families Wiltja, a hand-built shelter made from found materials including sheets of tin, dried logs and branches. When she was l quite young, Nellie took on a job at the Granite Downes Cattle Station in the station masters home. She worked with the stationmaster’s wife and other Anangu ladies washing dishes and cleaning the house in exchange for rations.
Nellie married a young stockman who also worked at the Granite Downes Cattle Station, and together they came to Indulkana with their two young children. Nellie worked for many years at the pre-school and with young children for most of her career. Today Nellie is a favoured Pampa (respected senior lady) among both adults and children at the Indulkana community.
Nellie's paintings recall the country of the eastern APY desert lands, remembering where she and her father walked the country, the rolling sand hills of the Simpson desert, and the beautiful Tjuntala (Acacia Wattle) that brings luminous colour to the sandy and rocky landscape.