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Wharton, Herb

Herb Wharton, born in1936 in Cunnamulla, Queensland, began his working life as a drover while in his teens. His maternal grandmother was of the Kooma people; his grandfathers were Irish and English. In l992 with the publication of his first book Unbranded, he committed to novel form his experiences of people and events from his long years on the stock routes of inland Australia. His next book Cattle Camp, a collection of droving stories as told by Murri stockmen and women, was published in l994. Where Ya’ Been, Mate?, a collection of his stories, followed in l996. He has travelled throughout Australia, and to Europe and Japan. In l998 he was selected for a residency at the Australia Council studio in Paris where he completed the manuscript of Yumba Days, his first book for young readers, published in l999. An excerpt from Unbranded is included in the first UQP Black Australian Writing anthology, Fresh Cuttings, which will be released in October 2003. Awarded the Centenary of Federation Medal 2003 for service to Australian society and literature.
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Picture of Unbranded
From the riotous picnic races to the famous Mt Isa rodeo, from childhood in the yumba to gutsy outback pubs, Unbranded presents a strikingly original vision of Australia. With a rollicking cast of stockmen, shearers, barmaids and tourists, this novel is the story of three men. Sandy is a white man; Bindi, a Murri; Mulga is related on his mother's side to Bindi, and on his Irish father's side to Sandy. Their saga . and enduring friendship . covers forty years in the mulga country of the far west. It tells how Sandy achieves his dream of owning a cattle empire; how Bindi regains part of his tribal lands for his people, and how Mulga finally sits down to write about their shared experiences. Mulga's journey also brings him face-to-face with the dark side of urban despair and his people's struggle with alcohol. "One of the most important Black texts ... a creative work of significance. I read Herb's novel throughout the night, not being able to put it down. I found it enthralling." Mudrooroo


Yumba Days

Picture of Yumba Days
The Yumba, an Aboriginal settlement, is home to Herbie, his brothers, sisters, relations and friends on the outskirts of town. From his back door the view of his playground stretches beyond the banks of the Warrego River, as far as the eye can see. The fun-loving Herbie learns his culture from both Aboriginal and white worlds: from his tribal elders and from the local townies. For Herbie his Yumba is a village peopled with friends and family, who keep an eye on him and his mates. But there's always escape to the surrounding hopbush plain, a larrikin's paradise. Herbie's rollicking adventures range from school-age antics to his teenage years as a stockman and, briefly-on into the present and his wry observations in travelling the world as an author.