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Murru Concert

  • Ngurin Pilbara Aboriginal Centre Roe Street Roebourne, WA, 6718 Australia (map)

Pilbara country is song country. Come and enjoy this free community concert.

A free bus service will be offered from Dampier and Karratha. To register your interest email

Pilbara country is song country. Three decades ago, John Pat was 16 and living in the Pilbara town of Roebourne*. He loved horses and music. His family called him 'Murru'.  One night in 1983, John died in custody in the town of Roebourne, and the community outcry triggered the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. Amidst the grief, John became know as 'the Boy'.

For the past three years, Big hART, Australia’s leading arts and social change company, has been working with the community of Roebourne, the Pat family and prisoners in Roebourne Regional Prison to create a collection of songs that commemorate his passing.  Big hART has brought together some of Australia’s most celebrated Indigenous artists and talented non-Indigenous blues, folk and alt-country aficionados to work with prisoners and community members to write, record and perform songs for the memorial album.  The album was released in September 2013 on the 30th anniversary of his death and the performance of this album, created in the true spirit of cooperation, reconciliation and friendship, is now know as The Murru Concert.

The Murru Concert has become a collection of freedom songs, created and sung together, maragutharra** - women and men, black and white, young and old. It is a gift to the country from the community of Roebourne... an example of working together - across cultures, across generations, across genders, across country - allowing for mutual teaching and learning, and of thinking in a new way.

The Murru Concert is performed against a stunning backdrop of panoramic and animated images capturing the dynamic energy of the vast Pilbara landscape and the intact strength of culture, while the songs rest in the assured hands of Archie Roach, Harry Hookey, Lucky Oceans, Emma Donovan, John Bennett, Trevor Jamieson, Wendy Mathews, Jae Laffer and many other musicians, all working maragutharra.  As Harry Hookey says, "These songs are as true as they come. They have not been written so much as they have been lived. It was an honour and a privilege to be a part of their creation..."  Local musicians nurtured through the workshops program now play alongside these nationally acclaimed artists.

Later Event: May 27
Sportspersons Night