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B. Wongar B. Wongar i(A34455 works by) (birth name: Sreten Bozic) (a.k.a. Wongar; Birimbir Wongar; Bahumir Wongar; Banunbir Wongar)
Also writes as: Sreten Bozic
Born: Established: 1932
Ex Yugoslavia,
Eastern Europe, Europe,
Gender: Male
Arrived in Australia: 1960
Heritage: Serbian
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B. Wongar was born Sreten Bozic in Tresnjevica in the former Yugoslavia. In 1958, he left Yugoslavia and went to Paris, where he lived for two years as a refugee in Red Cross shelters. He came to Australia in 1960 and lived for several years in the Northern Territory. There, he was married in a tribal ceremony to an Aboriginal woman named Djumala. He spent time in Melbourne, where he became acquainted with writer Alan Marshall (q.v.), and he moved there in about 1970.

Wongar's first books appeared in 1972. He wrote Aboriginal Myths (1972) and A Stone in My Pocket ([1974]) with Marshall, using his birth name of Sreten Bozic. After this, he wrote under the Aboriginal name of 'Wongar'. His identity was a mystery to his readers for some years, until Robert Drewe (q.v.) revealed in the Bulletin ( 21 April 1981) that Sreten Bozic and B. Wongar were the same person. There was some controversy about Wongar's close identification with Aboriginality, and Australian critics expressed concerns about authenticity and legitimacy. He has not had a wide readership in Australia. Internationally, however, Wongar's critical reputation has been strong. His supporters have included Simone de Beauvoir (q.v.), editor of the French literary review Les Temps Modernes, which was the first publisher of some of the stories from The Track to Bralgu and Babaru. Wongar has also received strong critical recognition in the United States, particularly for the first three books of his 'Nuclear Cycle'. His books have been widely translated.

Two of Wongar's early books suffered publication difficulties: From Cave to Yirrkala: 40000 years of Aboriginal Creativity and Totem and Ore (Boomerang and Atom). They were to have been published by Goldstar in the early 1970s, but the company went into liquidation. From Cave to Yirrkala was never published. Totem and Ore, a collection of photographs by Wongar depicting the impact of uranium mining on Aboriginal land, was assembled as an exhibition at the Parliament House Library in 1974, but it was quickly banned. In 2006, the photographic collection was finally published.

Wongar has continued to live in Melbourne and on his property (Dingoes Den) in Gippsland. In 2007, he published The New Guinea Diaries 1871-1883, which he translated from the Russian of N.N. Miklouho-Maclay.

Most Referenced Works

Last amended 10 Dec 2010 10:22:44
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