David Gulpilil – Lifetime Achievement Award

Gravely ill indigenous actor David Gulpilil, whose charismatic screen presence helped change the way indigenous people were seen around the world, has asked audiences to remember him. “Never forget me. While I am here, I will never forget you,” Gulpilil said in a video message thanking NAIDOC for this week’s lifetime achievement award.

The annual awards, which recognise the significant achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, were presented in Canberra on Saturday night. The national Naidoc committee co-chair, John Paul Janke, said the awards provide the opportunity to showcase Indigenous excellence. “They celebrate our past, our present and our future and [how] individuals’ unwavering determination and work enrich our communities,” he said.

David Gulpilil – magnetic Indigenous actor connecting two Australias. David Gulpilil Ridjimiraril Dalaithngu AM has been recognised for revolutionising the way the world sees Aboriginal people by bringing traditional culture to the big screen. He has enjoyed an acting career spanning 50 years, appearing in iconic films such as Walkabout, The Last Wave, Crocodile Dundee, The Tracker and Rabbit Proof Fence.

It had been widely known that Gulpilil, 66, was ill but his daughter Phoebe Marson confirmed it to the NAIDOC audience.

“He’s sick. He has lung cancer and one day soon he will go to the Dreamtime,” Ms Marson said, standing with her sister MaKia McLaughlin.

Gulpilil, who was born in Arnhem Land and now lives in Murray Bridge, appeared frail on the red carpet at the launch of the new Storm Boy in January.



Share this Post

Comments 4

  1. It was sad to read in your blog Lorrie that David Gulpilil is gravely ill. He asks for us not to forget him. I can never forget the man who welcomed me to his home in Maningrida NT 22 years ago, happy to show his country, his home, his culture. How can I forget him. I then had the delight in photographing him again during a cold Melbourne winter in a studio, from which I was proud to be awarded the Quill Award for Best Feature Photograph. I worked the camera but it was David who worked the image. He had that ability to claim the space, the energy, and command the attention. Just like in Maningrida, he was enthusiastic in embracing life and of our acquaintance. David was down to promote his latest film, Charlie’s Country, and for those who would really like to know a little more of him and his Yolngu culture, then that’s the perfect film to see, it really should have been titled ‘David’s Country’. Without doubt one of Australia’s finest actors. I’m so happy for him that he’s been recognized for a Lifetime Achievement Award during NAIDOC My sincerest thoughts and best wishes are with him as he nears his own “Dreamtime”.

  2. Amazing photos Lorrie. It’s very sad to hear that David Gulpilil who contributed so much is soon to die, I agree with Aonymous. A tiny thing – there is a small typo in the first line of third par. “Read More”

  3. Love Anons comments… I couldn’t agree more. The film ‘Walkabout’ is, without doubt, the most life affecting film
    I have ever seen and I am forever indebted to Gulpilil for his beautiful part in it.

  4. So wonderful that Gulpilil has received this totally deserved acknowledgement for a lifetime of work and leadership. He has delivered amazing performances in so so many Australian films, and has been a leader of his local and wider and indigenous communities.

    And so sad to hear that he is ill. The words of his daughter “one day soon he will go to the Dreamtime” are beautifully soothing and fitting for the proud and mystical man captured so beautifully in Lorrie’s portraits.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.