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University of Qld, photograph by Jeremy Patten.
Sam Watson Sam Watson i(A47259 works by) (a.k.a. Samuel Watson)
Born: Established: 1952 Brisbane, Queensland, ; Died: Ceased: 27 Nov 2019 Brisbane, Queensland,
Gender: Male
Heritage: Aboriginal ; Aboriginal Mununjali / Munaldjali ; Aboriginal BirriGubba
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Sam Watson was from the Birri-Gubba (from his grandfather) and Munaldjali (from his grandmother) nations. He was a well-known activist on behalf of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. He studied law and arts at The University of Queensland in the early 1970s where he became increasingly engaged in Aboriginal politics. His political activism began as a student in the 1960s over the White Australia Policy. He went on to play support roles in the 1967 Referendum campaign, the Gurindji land rights struggle and other campaigns for equality and justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. 

As these were tumultuous times Watson decided to defer his studies in order to devote more time to Aboriginal community projects at a state, national and international level. He pioneered programs in law, medicine and housing focusing on the community needs and was notably co-founder of the Brisbane chapter of Black Panther Party of Australia with Denis Walker. He was a Socialist Alliance candidate for the Queensland Government Senate in 2001 and 2004.

As well as being a poet, activist, lecturer, writer and storyteller Watson was a film producer. His first film Black Man Down (1995) dealt with Aboriginal deaths in custody. It was featured in the Sand to Celluloid collection of short films.

In February 2007, Watson made his playwriting debut with 'The Mack', which was written in association with the Brisbane-based Kooemba Jdarra theatre group and first performed at the Judith Wright Centre, Brisbane. He worked again with Kooemba Jdarra in 2007 on 'The Oodgeroo Project', a play about the life and times of Aboriginal writer Oodgeroo Noonuccul, also known as Kath Walker. It was staged in 2009.

Watson identified Oodgeroo Noonuccal, Neville Bonner, Gary Foley, Germaine Greer, Pastor Donald Brady, and Buddha as being influential on his political outlook.

Watson was the father of renowned poet Samuel Wagan Watson and novelist Nicole Watson.


Most Referenced Works

Personal Awards

Awards for Works

y separately published work icon The Kadaitcha Sung Ringwood : Penguin , 1990 Z25559 1990 single work novel fantasy

"The Kadaitcha Sung tells the story of Tommy Gubba, son of Koobara, son of the chief of the Kadaitcha clan, and Fleur, a white woman, of Northern European descent. Tommy was born secretly after his uncle Booka Roth killed his father to become the last of the Kadaitcha clan. The Kadaitcha clan is in the novel an "ancient clan of sorcerers" (1) called by Biamee to stand among the tribes of the South Land (i.e. Australia) when he returned among the stars. Tommy is initiated and called by Biamee to recuperate the heart of the Rainbow Serpent stolen by Booka Roth, without which Biamee cannot "complete his earthly manifestation". Ensuing from the war that Booka waged against his own people, the veil of mists that Biamee had set upon the South Land is lifted, and "other mortals" come from "all corners of the globe and from every branch of the family of man" (33) and join forces with Booka, defeating the tribes of South Land that cannot match the weapons of the invaders (34). Tommy is to take revenge on the migloo ("fair-skinned" people), who have "raped and pillaged" (31) his people, and conquered the entire land (35). A fast pace narrative, The Kadaitcha Sung is also an action-packed novel, to which this quick introduction cannot do justice."

Source: Estelle Castro, 'Imaginary (Re)Vision', 2007

1991 shortlisted Victorian Premier's Literary Awards Prize for Fiction
Last amended 2 Dec 2019 12:03:36
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