and raised in Brewarrina, north-western
New South Wales,
is a Kamilaroi man who came from a large family of 11 children.
"I grew up with music all around me," he says. "Before I moved
I worked in the shearing shed with my dad and we used to listen
to the radio at night. In those days one of my favourite singers
was Roy Orbison."
moved to Sydney
in his twenties.
to pursue a musical career and met Myrtle Cox, who was very
interested in Aboriginal people. She recorded some of my music
on a tape recorder and sent it to NAIDOC. And that's how it
started - NAIDOC played a big part in bringing me out."
was part of the Opals, a country outfit and sometime house band
for Jimmy Little's travelling All-Coloured Revue in the early
- He was winning over all-white audiences at
In the latter part of that decade he would often perform at
clubs with Auriel Andrew. He has toured
extensively and performed with some of the biggest names in
1972 – In April he recorded his
first EP on Opal Records.
was the first Aboriginal person to win a Golden Guitar, at the
Australasian Country Music Awards in
He won the Radio Listener Award. This award has not been awarded
1979 - Inducted into the Country
Music Hands of Fame.
During NAIDOC Week,
New South Wales'
Aboriginal Artist of the Year for
New South Wales.
not sharing the gift of his voice with other people,
works at Taronga Park Zoo where he tells stories and sings.
Received the Medal of the Order of
“for service to the country music industry as a singer and
recording artist, and to the community through the delivery of
outreach zoological education programs in regional areas”
2016 - MO Awards - Male Country