Billy the Blackfella from Bourke

By Chris Woodland

This is the story of Australia's Billy Gray, who called himself "a blackfella from Bourke" ('blackfella' is an informal term used in Australian English to refer to Indigenous Australians). Transcribed from tapes made by his friend of 52 years, the story is told of Billy's life in Australia, South America, and Indonesia, working as a stockman, drover, fencer, taxi driver, factory laborer, and water/oil driller. Billy's travels and experiences gave him a deep understanding of the cultures of different peoples. He found, in South America, for the first time in his life, that he could move freely without experiencing that feeling of being an outcast; he just blended in. Music was always an important part of his life, from playing and singing around the camp fire to performing with a band. Many may find some of the terms used by Billy to be politically incorrect. Such expressions are still very much in use today among the Aboriginal people: "Billy was proud to be a blackfella and he knew me as a whitefella. They were, and are, accepted lingo.... The couple of times he called me a white Murri (white blackfella) made me feel honoured. On several occasions over many years, when Billy was happy with some achievement he would say, 'Not bad for an old blackfella from Bourke, eh?'" *** Librarians: ebook available on ProQuest and EBSCO *** "A unique and invaluable contribution to the growing library of Australia Popular Culture, Anthropology, Biography, and Social Issues literature, 'Billy the Blackfella from Bourke' is an inherently absorbing and informative reading from beginning to end." -- Midwest Book Review, Reviewer's Bookwatch: January 2016, Buhle's Bookshelf [Subject: Biography, Australian Studies, Aboriginal Studies, Folk Music]


Publication Date: 10/5/2015
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9781925078688

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