The Australian Literature Resource
Sample only - snapshot taken 31 July 2009
(a.k.a. Wharton, Herbert Horsely; Wharton, Herbert Morsely )
Born: 1936 Cunnamulla, Queensland
Heritage: AboriginalStory teller
Herb Wharton was born in Yumba, an Aboriginal camp in the south-western Queensland town of Cunnamulla. His maternal grandmother was Kooma, and both grandfathers were Irish. Before Wharton started writing, he worked as a stockman, a drover and a labourer. He took up writing late in life, at around the age of 50 and with a grant from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board (ATSIAB) of the Australia Council, bought an electric typewriter and began writing poems, some of which were published in various journals. In 1990, he entered some of his poems for the David Unaipon Award. These were highly commended and the University of Queensland Press then commissioned him to write a novel. His writing career began to flourish after the publication of this first novel, Unbranded (1992), based on his experiences as a stockman in the Australian outback. Since then he has published several collections of short stories and poetry, and a young adult novel.
A full-time poet and fiction writer, and a recognised story teller, Wharton has also been a prominent speaker at national and international literary festivals and a lecturer in Australian Indigenous literature, and he has travelled extensively throughout Australia and abroad.