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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Henry Murdoch (17 September 1920 - 24 April 1987), born as George Henry Murdock, was an Australian aboriginal actor and stockman who appeared in Australian films of the 1940s and 1950s. He was working as stockman in Rockhampton when discovered by Ralph Smart, who was helping make The Overlanders (1946).[1] The film's director, Harry Watt, later claimed Murdoch and fellow aboriginal actor Clyde Combo "proved to be first-class actors and were exceedingly quick witted and intelligent. They certainly disproved the conventional idea that the Australian aboriginal is an animalistic caveman."[2] Filmink said "It was Henry Murdoch who personified a specific type of role in the 1940s and 1950s, the aboriginal stockman who was a sidekick/tracker to the white hero." [3]

Murdoch thought that was the end of his acting career, but he was called back to make several films by visiting companies in Australia. "I'd like to be a full-time actor and a part-time stockman", he said in 1949. "Film work's good—if there's enough of it."[4] He later made two films for Lee Robinson.

Chips Rafferty claimed Murdoch carried a volume of Shakespeare with him.[5]

Select Credits

Year Title Role Notes
1946 The Overlanders Aborigine Nipper
1949 Eureka Stockade
1950 Bitter Springs Blackjack
1952 Kangaroo Black Tracker Uncredited
1953 The Phantom Stockman Dancer
1957 The Shiralee Sam
1958 Dust in the Sun Spider
1961 Whiplash Billy Jo 4 episodes, (final appearance)


  1. ^ "PETER KINGSTON'S FILMS". The Daily News. Perth: National Library of Australia. 31 August 1946. p. 28 Edition: FIRST EDITION. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  2. ^ "HOLLYWOOD LETTER". The Advocate. Burnie, Tas.: National Library of Australia. 18 April 1947. p. 8. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  3. ^ Vagg, Stephen (25 May 2020). "The A to Z of Non-White Aussie Movies and TV in White Australia". Filmink.
  4. ^ "Abo. Hopes To Be Full-Time Ham". Singleton Argus. NSW: National Library of Australia. 18 May 1949. p. 4. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  5. ^ ""Chips" Rafferty Pleads for Natives". The Canberra Times. National Library of Australia. 13 January 1947. p. 3. Retrieved 18 July 2012.

External links

This page was last edited on 13 September 2021, at 23:38
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