Bob Wilson is a Barkindji man.
I grew up in Wilcannia in a culture filled with music. In this very harmonious family environment it was our natural instinct to get up and sing. Singing made the Barkandji spirit stronger. — Bob Wilson
My dear old Mum and Dad raised us kids under the gum trees on that river. My Dad is from the Dunghutti tribe from the east coast NSW and Mum was from the Barkindji tribe and we originated from the Lake Mungo tribe. Back then, my parents and grandparents were not recognised as Australians. Or even as people. It wasn’t until the 1967 referendum that Aboriginal people were no longer classed under the ‘Flora and Fauna act’. Hard to believe, isn’t it? We were regarded in the same category as animals and plants. It really shows you the ignorance of the colonists. I’m not being inflammatory saying that. I am just telling you the truth. There is no lying in my life. I have never wanted to offend anybody. I'm just stating a fact. Living in Wilcannia in the 50’s & 60’s wasn’t easy I can say that. There was lots of prejudice, and a great deal of racism and discrimination, but we endured it. We were taught to hold our heads high and not let the racism we experienced, define us as people.
Dad and I built a shack on the Darling River when I was 10 years old. We had no electricity. Mum would fill an empty milk tin with damp soil, cut a length of felt from a hat or a strip from a chaff bag, twisting into a wick then would drench it in dripping, or animal fat, stuff it into the damp soil, light it up at the end and that would be our lights. Like a massive candle. We lived off the land. If any of us kids saw a roo down the track, well off we’d go with the hunting dogs. We lived on the river bank because it provided us with wild berries and fruits, fish, kangaroos and emus.
Once a month, we would get government rations of flour, sugar, billy tea, a tin of corned beef and maybe an old grey government blanket. The police or a welfare officer issued the rations.
I grew up in a culture filled with music. In this harmonious family environment, it was our natural instinct to get up and sing.
look forward to. Thanks for popping in brother"