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The 100 Project

Uncle Wes Marne

"the animals and the birds... they can live without us but we can't live without them"

Aboriginal elder Uncle Wes reveals a life of sad, funny and inspiring stories

100 year old Uncle Wes Marne AM is an Aboriginal elder, a Bigambul man, a storyteller and a poet. One of Australia’s great storytellers, he reflects on an extraordinary life.

Part 1 of Uncle Wes’ incredible story follows his early years in the 1920s in southwest Queensland where his grandfather taught him how to hunt and the stories he would later pass on to future generations. Many years later he was to realize that his grandfather was teaching him ‘conservationism’. In this video he recites his beautiful poem, ‘Mother Earth’.

Part 2 continues Uncle Wes’ remarkable life journey. At the age of about ten, his family were forcibly removed from Country and taken to Deadbird Mission in NSW. “The missions were no joke those days”. He recalls his experiences as if they were yesterday.

Part 3 explores his life on the road in outback Australia. “I learnt the hard way”. Stories of life and death, ghost stories, boxing stories, stories from the bush, stories of love and loss… all told from the heart. At the end of the video, Uncle Wes sings his song, ‘River of Dreams’.

Part 4 of Uncle Wes Marne’s story explores his activism and his lifelong passion for teaching and mentoring Aboriginal children. This video features Uncle Wes reciting some poems which were published in 2022 in his book ‘Through Old Eyes’.

Age in Video
100 years
Date of Birth
25th April 1922
Place of Birth
Bigambul Country, Queensland, Australia
Thanks To

Debbie Higgison, Blacktown Arts staff at The Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre


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