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Title: Kevin Gilbert, a shaper of the modern lore of his folk
Contributor(s): Ryan, John S  (author)
Publication Date: 1993
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Abstract: In the autumn of this year there died the Aboriginal activist, artist and writer Kevin Gilbert, who was born on the banks of the Kalara [Lachlan] River at Condobolin, New South Wales, on 10 July 1933. The youngest of the eight children of Jack Gilbert and Rachel Naden, and orphaned at seven, his early life was harshly spent 'on the receiving end of White Australia's apartheid system', segregated, and lacking any social service payments, while as a teenager he saw 'my brothers who had served in the second world war as enlisted men hunted like felons from the bar of a pub'. As he wrote trenchantly in 1988 (p.185) "I was born Black. Black and honest in a white society that spoke oh so easily of 'justice', 'democracy', 'fair go', 'Christian love', and had me and mine living in old tin sheds ... under ... treasures ... from the white man's rubbish tip." Returned from orphanages to the Wiradjuri country at the age of eleven, he picked grapes and did other seasonal work in the process of finding 'my reality, my people', when "with all the rags [and] little tucker, ours was a greater love, greater truth and being, a greater spirituality than any one of the white Christians ever possessed." (186) These seminal bonding experiences are enshrined in his 1968 drama 'The Cherry Pickers', a milestone stage text which presents with unswerving integrity the seemingly squalid yet magnificently warm lifestyle of a family of eleven.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Australian Folklore, v.8, p. 167-171
Publisher: Australian Folklore Association
Place of Publication: Armidale, Australia
ISSN: 0819-0852
Field of Research (FOR): 160304 Mortality
160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology
200201 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Studies
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 950503 Understanding Australias Past
970119 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of the Creative Arts and Writing
970122 Expanding Knowledge in Philosophy and Religious Studies
HERDC Category Description: C2 Non-Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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