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The student’s task is to write a biography of an Inspiring Australian to be published in a class booklet titled
25 Inspiring Lives.

The Title                     William Barton, didgeridoo player and composer

Introduction: Name,           William Barton is one of Australia’s leading didgeridoo players and
reason for choosing.
                              composers. His music inspires great respect for Aboriginal cultural heritage
                              and pride in being Australian.

                              Born in Mt Isa in 1981, Barton is a direct descendent of the Kalkadunga tribe.
Orientation: Dates            When he was eight years old he was taught to play the didgeridoo by his
and belonging.
                              uncle, an elder from the Waanyi tribe of North West Queensland.

                              By the time he was eleven Barton was playing the didgeridoo at
                              traditional aboriginal funerals and ceremonies and by 12, Barton was
Important milestones          playing with aboriginal dance troupes in Sydney. During his teenage
in order of when they         years he began to teach others about aspects of traditional indigenous
happened                      culture.

                              He moved to Brisbane when he was still a teenager to be an artist in
Further                       residence with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. This was the first
achievements and              appointment of an indigenous person in any Australian Symphony Orchestra.
events                        In 2003, William Barton was a joint winner of the Music Council of Australia,
                              Freedman Foundation Award for Classical Music.

                              Now, Barton plays the didgeridoo with orchestras all over the world. The
                              deep rich sound of his didgeridoo blends with violins and other conventional
More about the                instruments from the classic tradition. He works in a very collaborative way
person, abilities and         with other musicians and composers and inspires lots of other young
                              musicians through workshops.

                              William Barton’s own compositions include: Silent Earth for brass quintet and
                              Song for Country for wind quintet. He shows people that the didgeridoo is not
                              just an exotic instrument but one which can take its place on the world stage
                              of orchestral music. He shows that it takes a great deal of skill and technique,
                              stamina and training to play the didgeridoo in such a hauntingly beautiful

                              Although still in his twenties, William Barton has won deep respect from
Re- orientation,              composers and conductors of orchestral music. He has made orchestral
statement about why
                              music exciting to younger Australians and he takes a rich and inspiring part
person is inspiring
                              of Australian culture to the rest of the world.
314 words

 Australia Council 2006, Profile on William Barton. [on-line], available from (accessed 10 June 2007).
 Whitehat 2007, The White hat guide to William Barton [on-line], available from
  URL: (accessed 17 May 2007).
 Louise Maral, 2007 Creature features celebrity: William Barton ABC Queensland, [on-line], available from
  URL: (accessed 17 May 2007).

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