I was freelancing for rock’n'roll magazines and having the lazy time of my life. A visit from half a dozen traditional Aboriginal men from Australia’s Top End was well into the realms of the unpredictable, but they were rock’n'roll and so was I and that seemed enough to seal the occasion. Nonetheless I began battening down the hatches and warned all my friends that I had some pretty unusual visitors coming to stay. This is how it happened according to my diary at the time.READ MORE
Andrew may be gone but won’t be forgotten – there are plans for an annual writers’ retreat in the town and those of us lucky enough to pass through Larrimah from time to time will be be stopping in to share a drink or ten with Andrew – again. And the NT Writers’ Centre is accepting donations for the Writers’ Retreat …READ MORE
Andrew was one of the Territory’s great eccentrics—but also one of its best contemporary writers,” said Mr Mackinolty.
“He came to the Territory chasing music as a journalist, which led to the influential book Strict rules which covered the Warumpi Band/Midnight Oil tour of the Territory and never looked back as a writer. “He followed this with Death in Dili, Catalina Dreaming and An Intruders Guide to East Arnhemland—the latter led to his being awarded NT Writer of the Year in 2009.READ MORE
Well he’s up late at night with the work light on, He’s gonna write a book but first he’s getting out his bong, He’s drinking red cask wine, smoking home grown reefer, Got the stereo on, he’s listening to Aretha, They call him Jesus of Westralia Street.
Lyrics for “Jesus of Westralia Street”, Tracey Bunn/Colin Holt
Andrew — a proud sort of bloke — has always refused to go on the dole, so has scant resources to fall back on. That’s why his friends and colleagues are staging a “Living Wake” to raise funds for his needs until he is back on his feet again. The idea of a Living Wake has some appeal to Andrew – he will be around, in the words of Big Bill Neidjie – the Kakadu Man – “to hear the nice things said about me”.READ MORE
The Andrew McMillan Living Wake will kick off at 7pm on 3rd December at the Darwin Railway Club in Parap. I reckon a lobster will get you through the door for what looks like a great night. Hopefully no-one will be writing an obituary for Andrew any time soon…who knows, he might hang around for us to do another one next year…and the year after that!READ MORE
Donations for Andrew McMillan will be allocated to a McMillan Fund in the NT Writers’ Centre books. The NT Writers’ Centre is a charitable institution with endorsement as a deductible gift recipient. This means that donors may claim a tax deduction if they request a receipt from us. The McMillan Fund will be used to provide suitable accommodation and care for Andrew as he convalesces over the next six months and, hopefully, returns to his writing.READ MORE
The Swamp Jockeys were (are?) in that great tradition of Australian bands that form and play just for the sheer fun of it – they must have run out of fun after a few years or found something else to do and for most of us have passed slowly into the happier realms of our memories.READ MORE
If, in the Crowd, there’s one who’s not forgot me,
If there’s one, perhaps who asks how I am,
Say I’m alive, but deny that I am well: That I’m even alive is a gift from a God.
(Ovid, thanks to Paul Kelly via Chips Mackinolty)
It’s a helluva long way from the grimy streets of Sydney’s Newtown to a balmy evening beneath the stars in Darwin’s Civic Park, a transition I made more than twenty years ago. Stories about heroin and amphetamines and train stations and rugby league are rarely part of the discourse in this part of the world.READ MORE