Academic journal article Folklore

Bill Scott (1923-2005)

Academic journal article Folklore

Bill Scott (1923-2005)

Article excerpt

Bill Scott--Australian folklorist, song-writer, storyteller and poet--died just before Christmas 2005. He had been in increasingly poor health for some time, then a stroke in early December spelt the beginning of the end.

I had corresponded with Bill for about twenty years and he was the only pen-friend I ever had generous enough to put up with my hopelessness as a letter-writer. For every letter I wrote to him, he wrote me three long ones full of stories, news, ideas and weather reports from his beloved Condamine River. Many of the letters were accompanied by little gifts, tapes, books--on one occasion a piece of smoky quartz from the Snowy Mountains, which he said I was to hold up to the light to help me visualise some of the scenes of his early life prospecting for gold. For Bill had had a very varied career before turning to full-time writing--umbrella maker, prospector, bookseller and sailor, to mention only a few.

Bill was born in Bundaberg, Queensland, and grew up in Caboolture and then in Brisbane, and loved the Australian countryside. He began writing poetry when he was serving with the Royal Australian Navy in World War II, his first poem being published when he was only twenty-one. Over a career lasting until his death he made a name as a collector of Australian folklore and folksongs, and he wrote or edited 51 books in prose and verse firmly rooted in the Australian cultural tradition. …

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