Bill Yidumduma Harney

Bill Yidumduma Harney (often shortened to Bill Harney) is a senior elder of the Wardaman people whose homeland is near Katherine in the Northern Territory of Australia. He is also known as an artist, storyteller, and musician.[1]

Bill Yidumduma Harney and Ray Norris at the First Astronomers show at the Darwin Festival[2]

Early life

Harney was born between 1932 and 1936 at Brandy Bottle Creek, on Willeroo Station, NT. His biological father was the famous Irish-Australian writer William Edward Harney, but he was brought up in a traditional Aboriginal community by his adopted Aboriginal father, Joe Jomornji, and mother, Ludi Yibuluyma. His sister was taken as part of the stolen generation but he escaped because his mother covered him in charcoal to hide the whiteness of his skin.[3]

Aboriginal teachings and awards

Harney is well known as an advocate and ambassador for Aboriginal Australians, and has made several international tours promoting knowledge of Aboriginal Australians. He also appears regularly on TV, radio, and film, often speaking on the subject of Aboriginal Astronomy. In 2003 he published, with Hugh Cairns, Dark Sparklers, detailing the astronomy embedded in the Wardaman culture.[4] He has been a finalist several times in the National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award.[5] In August 2009 he featured in a two-man The First Astronomers show with astrophysicist Ray Norris at the Darwin Festival,[2] and in November 2009 he was prominent in the Message Stick[6] program on Aboriginal Astronomy produced by ABC TV.

Selected bibliography


  1. "Before Galileo". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 1 November 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-02.
  2. 1 2 The First Astronomers, 2009, Darwin Festival Archived 6 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. The First Astronomers, 2009, ABC Radio National Archived 26 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. "Aboriginal astronomy kept alive". Sydney Morning Herald. 8 November 2003. Retrieved 2009-11-02.
  5. "26th Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Awards" (PDF). sales information. Northern Territory Department of Natural Resources, Environment, The Arts and Sport. 2009. Retrieved 20 January 2010.

External links

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