Unique Katherine region stories

Bill Harney

Yidumduma Bill Harney was born on Willeroo Station in Wardaman country in 1936. Bill is a great bushman, artist, author, performer and cultural educator. Bill’s story is riveting to listen to and his recollections of his early life are a delight.

In this video Bill also explains why Godinymayin Yijard Rivers Arts & Culture Centre has an important role to playing in reconciliation.


Nellie Camfoo

Nellie Camfoo is a proud Aboriginal woman who was born in the Bulman area, Central Arnhem Land. Nellie first came in contact with European people when she was a young girl and remembers those days vividly.

Nellie is a well-respected woman who has achieved much in her rich and colourful life, in particular contributing to Indigenous cultural education.

In this video Nellie gives us a fascinating insight into traditional life.


Ben Tapp

A Cattleman through and through, Ben Tapp is as tough as they come.

In this video we get an insight into Ben’s life as a cattleman.

Filmed by Darwin Cameraman Ian Redfearn: an excerpt from documentary titled ‘Places Pubs and People’


Manuel Pamkal

Manuel is an ambassador for his people and a sought-after visual artist. Proud of his Aboriginal heritage Manuel loves to share his connection to the land through his artwork. In this video we learn about his concern for the land and its future and his derision for the invasion of introduced species such as the cane toad. His message to all is…We must keep our country strong!


Norman Rosas

Norm is a ‘true gentleman’, a valued member of the Katherine community and a gifted poet.
Norm has tried his hand at many things, and in this video he describes his love of diving in the treacherous rivers of the Top End - even though it has included an encounter with a salt water crocodile!


John MacNamara

‘Mac’ as he was affectionately known had been a Katherine resident for many years. Wild and reckless in his younger days, Mac had a love of life and a cold beer… and whatever went with it. Over the years he learnt to channel his boundless energy and became a successful businessman and president of the Katherine Historical Society before passing away in 2014.

Mac was a driving force behind the Katherine Youth Development Association, which provides scholarships for local students to attend university.


The following contributions are from an ABC radio series titled Yarns from the Wild Top End.

Max Dempsey

Max with beer in hand recollects a story from Pine Creek back in the 60′s… a very interesting night at the travelling picture show.


June Tapp

No one could boast a life with more adventure and drama as June Tapp and her husband Bill.
This video details some of their victories and challenges when living on a remote cattle station. Their many children have also carved out lives that demonstrate the spirit and determination synonymous with the Tapp name.


Marion Townsend

Marion is an author, teacher and historian. She was awarded ‘Citizen of the Year’ for the township of Katherine. For many years Marion was the face of the historic Springvale Homestead. Marion shared her passion for this enchanting place with tourists and visitors and as she found out the old Springvale Homestead was full of surprises.


Ron Ball

Ron Ball jumped ship from the British navy in 1948 to experience life in the outback. Ron has a ‘gung-ho’ attitude to life and has just about done it all. He’s even written a book about his colourful life A Pom in the Outback. Ron’s a great bloke and a real true blue character, we can’t help but think ‘they just don’t make them like that anymore’.


Jim McHours

Jim spent most of his life driving road trains across the rugged Katherine Region and was well respected as a great bloke and a very competent ‘truckie’. In later years Jim drove the ice cream van around Katherine, putting smiles on the faces of kids and adults alike.

Jim has now gone to that big 'truck stop' in the sky. Sadly missed… but Jim’s charming recollections live on.