Harry & Wilga WILLIAMS (1981)
1927 - Harry Williams was born in Eurambie Mission near Cowra,
New South Wales. His father "Knocker" Williams led a travelling
tent show in which Harry played.
In his 20s he started playing with Alan Saunders. 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.
Wilga Munro was born in Tamworth, New South Wales. 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.
She was never married to Harry Williams.
With three other artists, she represented
Tamworth in an open talent quest held in
Newcastle, played netball for
Tamworth, touring New South Wales with the
team, and, along with her big brother, coached junior rugby and
netball. Then Wilga moved to
and there met Alan Saunders and Harry.
1969 - Harry Williams and Wilga Munro started performing
together in a band called The Tjuringas (meaning sacred object)
around Newcastle. Other members were Alan Saunders and Keith
1972 - Harry and Wilga moved to
Maroopna in Victoria
where they eventually formed the "Country Outcasts"
with Ian "Ocker" Mackay and Bert Williams
under which name they performed for the rest of their joint
They toured widely throughout Australia and New Guinea and
released two full length albums. Other Country Outcast members
included Bill Brunswick, Debbie Williams, Ian Johnson, Harry
Thorpe, Laurie Ingram, Claude "Candy" Williams, Mac Silver and
The new band received its first break with the "Country Music
Guild of Australia" in Victoria, and went on to
win awards at the Maroopna Festival where Harry was declared
"Best Male Vocalist" and, with Bernie O'Brien of the band
"Saltbush," won the "Best Songwriter" award. A flood of
musical achievements followed, with performances at the Sydney
Opera House, Melbourne's Myer Music Bowl and the Adelaide
Festival Theatre. In all, the band made five
complete tours of Australia and New Guinea.
1974 - Home-Made Didgeridoo"/Arnhem Land Lullaby".
1975 - "Nullabor Prayer".
1976 - Harry Williams started a national Aboriginal Country
Music Festival in Canberra
and a radio show, Country Music Shindig, for 3CR.
1978 - Reg Poole, Merve Lowrey and Denis Payne formed the
"Checkerboard Country Road Show," the idea being to bridge the
gap between black and white Australians and work together for a
common cause. Harry and Wilga jumped at the chance
to join the enterprise, which developed into "Checkerboard
Promotions" in 1980.
1979 – “Harry Williams and the Country Outcasts” on
1981 – Inducted into the Hands of Fame. After record albums
recorded for RCA, Harry and Wilga's act came to the notice of
Hadley Records and an album was recorded in the Hadley Studios
in Tamworth on 20th August.
That year, being most active in encouraging other aboriginal
people with musical talent, Harry and Wilga moved their home to
which was a more central spot from which to organise the shows
and aboriginal talent quests that were an important part of
1991 – Harry Williams passed away.