Every time an aboriginal person dies years before he or she should I think that this is, in part, a result of the brutal invasion of this continent. Robert Janjimdaimjan Wharton was born in 1979 and passed away before his 40th birthday. He is a descendant of Mardigan and Kooma tribes in South-West Queensland and was a proud Brisbane Black.
Robert was a dreamer, a song man and an artist. He grew up in Cunnamulla in a big extended family. He appeared on Paradigm Shift (4ZZZ fm 102.1 Fridays at Noon) and played at a number of events organised by Sovereign Women United and local aboriginal groups. Robert always turned up at Dundali commemorations in January.
Dundali led the resistance to the British invasion of an area where Brisbane now stands. After a long campaign he was captured by the invaders and hanged in front of the Brisbane Post Office on January 5, 1855. We remember and honour this brave fighter for his land, his people and his culture each year in that place.
I can remember Robert singing at a Dundali commemoration in the rain in Post Office Square one year.
Robert leaves behind a body of music which he sang on the streets of West End. His spirit remains near the lizard on the corner Russell and Boundary streets. A couple of years ago Robert sang ‘Share the Stars’ on Paradigm Shift on 4ZZZ as a tribute to Uncle Angus and talked about the influence in his life of Angus Rabbitt and his band ‘Mop and the Dropouts‘.
Strangely the last time Robert came on 4ZZZ with me and Andy we were remembering Angus who had passed away. We decided to play ‘Dancing Aborigine‘ a fitting farewell to both these fine aboriginal artists.
Robert came from a political family involved in Land Rights struggles over several generations. I wish to extend my condolences to the Wharton family particularly to his brother Wayne, his Auntie Pat and his niece Ruby Wharton.
We need an aboriginal cultural centre in Musgrave Park so that artists that follow will have their own place.
Vale my brother,
14 Dec 2018