AustLit logo
W. E. Harney W. E. Harney i(A17160 works by) (birth name: William Edward Harney) (a.k.a. Bill Harney)
Also writes as: Bilarni
Born: Established: 18 Apr 1895 Charters Towers, Charters Towers area, Far North Queensland, Queensland, ; Died: Ceased: 31 Dec 1962 Mooloolaba, Maroochydore - Buderim area, Sunshine Coast, South East Queensland, Queensland,
Gender: Male
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.


Bill Harney was a drover, bushman, soldier in the First World War, and a patrol officer in the Native Affairs Branch of the Northern Territory. He was also a member of several UN expeditions into Arnhem Land, curator of Ayers Rock reservation, and an ardent supporter of the cause of Aborigines, to whom he was known as 'Bilarni'. He wrote extensively on his wanderings and life among Aboriginal people, and also worked as a broadcaster both in Australia and for the BBC. At Groote Eylandt on 5 April, 1927, Bill married Linda Beattie, who was of Aboriginal heritage. They had two children, a daughter, Beattie, and a son, Billy. However, Linda fell ill with osteo-tuberculosis and died in 1930. Beattie died at five years of age from T.B., and in 1945 the teenaged Billy accidentally drowned whilst trying to rescue a young boy in the Todd River.

Most Referenced Works


Known archival holdings

Papers 1936-1963 (Bulk dates: 1942-1963) National Library of Australia (ACT)
[Folkloric recording : Bill Harney sings, reads poems, performs Aboriginal chants and speaks of collecting material] [sound recording] / [Collected by : Norm O'Connor and Bob Michell]. Transcript available. National Library of Australia (ACT)
Conversation with Bill Harney, poet, author & folklore storyteller [sound recording]/ interviewer, Hazel de Berg. National Library of Australia (ACT)
Last amended 29 May 2012 11:11:45
Other mentions of "" in AustLit: