Robert Tudawali

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Robert Tudawali
Robert Tudawali at Darwin's Bagot Reserve 1960.jpg
Tudawali at the Bagot Native Settlement in 1960
Born Robert Tudawali
Melville Island, Northern Territory
Died July 1967 (aged 37–38)
Darwin, Northern Territory
Cause of death
Severe burns and tuberculosis[1]
Resting place
Darwin cemetery

Robert Tudawali (1929–1967) was an Australian actor, born and raised on Melville Island in the Northern Territory.[1] He became the first Aboriginal film star as a result of playing the lead role, Marbuck, in Jedda.

A leading Australian rules footballer as a youth, he alternated several times between Aboriginal and white society. Tudawali used the name Bobby Wilson in Darwin. Under this name he took part in the TV series Whiplash.

Tudawali also served as Vice-President of the Northern Territory Council for Aboriginal Rights, and, working with trade unionists and author Frank Hardy, fought to highlight the poor wages and conditions of Aboriginal stockmen in the Northern Territory, which culminated in the Wave Hill walk off in 1966.[2] Tudawali had organised to give a series of talks to unionists throughout Australia in support of the stockmen when the Northern Territory administration banned any travel by Tudawali due to the tuberculosis he was suffering at the time.[2]

Tudawali died of severe burns on 26 July 1967 following an incident on Bagot community, Darwin.[1]


Directed by Steve Jodrell
Produced by Paul Barron
Julia Overton
Written by Alan Seymour
David Rapsey
Starring Ernie Dingo
Peter Fisher
Frank Wilson
Charles Tingwell
Suzanne Peveril
Bill McCluskey
Michelle Torres
Cinematography Michael Edols
SBS-Barron Films
Distributed by SBS
Release dates
28 January 1988
Country Australia
Language English
Budget $750,000.[3]

In 1987, Steve Jodrell directed a made for television docu-drama about Robert Tudawali.[4][5]

Tudawali was released on DVD by Umbrella Entertainment in July 2010. The DVD is compatible with all region codes and includes special features such as a stills gallery, press clippings, a featurette entitled Walkabout and Oondamooroo: Profile of Ernie Dingo.[6]


  1. ^ a b c Forrest, Peter. "Tudawali, Robert (1929–1967)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 12 August 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Snowdon, W., "“Sometime we bin get extra salt on the beef.” Heroes of the Northern Territory", Crikey, Accessed 18 August 2012.
  3. ^ "Production Barometer", Cinema Papers, May 1988 p47
  4. ^ Tudawali, Australian feature films shot in or set in or first shown in or partly financed by Western Australia.
  5. ^ Ed. Scott Murray, Australia on the Small Screen 1970-1995, Oxford Uni Press, 1996 p156
  6. ^ "Umbrella Entertainment". Retrieved 15 May 2013. 

External links[edit]