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Harry & Wilga WILLIAMS (1981)

          Harry Williams   Wilga Williams    

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.

1940 - 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 Newcastle 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 Saunders.

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 musical career. 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 Auriel Andrew. 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  RCA.

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 Canberra which was a more central spot from which to organise the shows and aboriginal talent quests that were an important part of their work.

1991 – Harry Williams passed away.