Harry and Wilga Williams

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Harry Williams and Wilga Munroe
Associated acts The Country Outcasts

Harry Williams and Wilga Munroe were Indigenous Australians who performed professionally between the 1960s and 1980s. Harry Williams was called the godfather of Koori country.[1][2]

Harry Williams[edit]

Harry "Buck" Williams was born in 1927 on the Erambie Mission just outside the town centre Cowra, New South Wales and died in 1991 under the same tree he was born under.[1][2] His father "Knocker" Williams led a travelling tent show in which Harry played. In his 20s he started playing with Alan Saunders.[1] Williams also worked as an actor, appearing in films and on TV, including Blackfire (1972, the first known film by an indigenous Australia) and Matlock.[3]

Wilga Munro[edit]

Wilga Munro was born in Tamworth, New South Wales in 1940.[1][3] She was named after the wild orange tree she was born under. After serving in the Air Force she returned to Tamworth and started performing.[1]

Music[edit]

Harry Williams and Wilga Munroe started performing together in a band called The Tjuringas (meaning sacred object) around Newcastle in 1971. Other members were Alan Saunders and Keith Saunders. after this band broke up Harry and Wilga performed as a duo, which Harry was tricked into doing by Wilga Munroe, and then moved to Melbourne and in 1974 formed The Country Outcasts with Ian "Ocker" McKie and Bert Williams ((Harrys' oldest son to wife Ella Cooper Williams)).[4] They toured widely throughout Australia and New Guinea and released two full length albums. Other Country Outcast members included Bill Brunswick, Debbie Williams, Ian(Ocker)McKie Carole Fraser, Ian Johnson, Harry Thorpe, Laurie Ingram, Claude "Candy" Williams, Mac Silva and Auriel Andrew.[1][2][3]

Harry and Wilga Williams started a national Aboriginal Country Music Festival in Canberra in 1976[2] and a radio show, Country Music Shindig, for 3CR.[1]

In 1981 they were recognised in the Country Music Hands of Fame in Tamworth.[5]

Discography[edit]

  • "Home-Made Didgeridoo"/Arnhem Land Lullaby" (1974)
  • "Nullabor Prayer" (1975)
  • Harry Williams and the Country Outcasts (1979, RCA)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Walker, Clinton (2000). "Stand by your man". Buried Country: The Story of Aboriginal Country Music. Pluto Press. pp. 164–183. ISBN 1-86403-152-2. 
  2. ^ a b c d Ryan, Robin (2003). "Gumleaves or Paper Roses: Australian Aboriginal country". In Philip Hayward. Outback & Urban: Australian Country Music. volume 1. aicmPress. 
  3. ^ a b c Warren Bebbington, ed. (1997). The Oxford Companion to Australian Music. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-553432-8. 
  4. ^ Hayward, Philip (1998). Sound alliances: indigenous peoples, cultural politics, and popular music in the Pacific. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 13. ISBN 0-304-70050-9. 
  5. ^ "Australian Country Music Hands of Fame". Australian Country Music Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 2009-10-25. Retrieved 2009-07-08.