Winner of Best Multicultural Non-Fiction from USA Book News.com, the Unsung Hero Award presented by an Australian Aboriginal radio station and newspaper, and received Honorable Mention at the London Book Festival.
Banjo Clarke was an Elder of the Kirrae Whurrong, a people of the Gunditjmara nation, in Australia. He was born in 1922 near Warrnambool, and by the time he passed away in March 2000 he was known and loved by thousands for his wisdom and compassion.
Wisdom Man covers Banjo’s life from his childhood on a mission, through the grim years of the Depression, his solo travels in search of work, the birth of his eleven children, and his embrace of the Bahá’í Faith, which he found very close to Aboriginal spirituality.
His story is one of remarkable forbearance during terrible encounters with racism, cruelty and the loss of loved ones, and is made all the more extraordinary by his lack of bitterness and anger. Wisdom Man also distils the essence of Aboriginal culture: Banjo constantly points to those aspects which he sees as relevant to all humanity, particularly in terms of our relationship with the land. Banjo Clarke embodied the spirit of reconciliation in its most generous and forgiving form.
Includes a foreword by former prime minister Malcolm Fraser, who knew Banjo, and tributes by Archie Roach, Martin Flanagan, Judith Durham, among others – a sample of the wide range of people whose lives he touched. Countless people from all over the world came to Warrnambool to seek him out, and his door was always open to the homeless and the troubled.