Famous Aboriginal Australian Poets
Aboriginal Australians are descended from nomadic inhabitants living in Australia since before its colonization by England. According to the Encyclopedia of Australia, literature written by Aboriginal people began to gain prominence in the 1960s. Today, there are a handful of Aboriginal Australian poets whose work is recognized internationally.
Oodgeroo Noonuccal was born in 1920 as Kath Walker. In the 1960s she became the first Indigenous Australian poet to be published. Not only was she a prolific poet, but she was also a major political figure in the Indigenous Australian people's fight for the right to vote in the 1960s.
In her famous poem \"Aboriginal Charter of Rights,\" she wrote:
\"We need help, not exploitation, We want freedom, not frustration GO Not control, but self-reliance, Independence, not compliance ...\"
In the late 1980s, Kath Walker changed her name to the traditional Oodgeroo Noonuccal.
Jack Davis was a 20th-century playwright and poet who was of Indigenous Australian heritage. He was from the Noongar tribe and published the book of poems \"Jagardoo: Poems from Aboriginal Australia.\" The Australian government included his name in a list of well-known Indigenous Australian writers, along with Oodgeroo Noonuccal.
Herb Wharton is a contemporary Aboriginal Australian author whose maternal grandmother was of the Kooma tribe. He is best known as a novelist and short story writer, but he has recently begun to publish poetry.
After working for the greater part of his life as a stockman, Wharton wrote his first novel, \"Unbranded\" (1992) about his experiences traveling around the interior of Australia. Since then he has been sponsored by the Australian Council for the Arts and has published several books of fiction and poetry.
- Mark Kolbe/Getty Images News/Getty Images