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Kenneth Desmond Colbung, AM, MBE (2 September 1931 – 12 January 2010), also known by his indigenous name Nundjan Djiridjarkan, was an indigenous Australian leader. The name Colbung is derived from 'kalbin', a local Aboriginal term for an Aboriginal high priest.

He was born on the Moore River Native Settlement on 2 September 1931. He worked as a stockman while living a partially in the bush. Colbung joined the Australian Army in 1950, and saw active service in Korea and Japan. He spent 15 years in the Army, serving as a sergeant, finishing school, learning to box, and worked with explosives. Since being discharged in 1965, he has been heavily involved in indigenous Australian politics. He has held many senior positions in indigenous affairs, especially Noongar affairs. Colbung started the Nyoongah Aboriginal Community College that is funded by the government of Australia and local funds. For services to the indigenous Australian community, he was awarded an MBE and an AM.

Colbung was perhaps best known for his work in the repatriation of Yagan's head. Colbung arranged for the head to be traced, and was instrumental in political lobbying for its return to Australia.

He died after a short illness on 12 January 2010. He was 78.[1]

External links


  • Colbung, Ken (1996). "About the Author". Yagan: The Swan River "Settlement". Australia Council for the Arts.  
  • Woenne, Susan Tod (1979). "Ken Colbung, The Catalyst". in Hunt, Lyall (ed.). Westralian Portraits. Nedlands, Western Australia: University of Western Australia Press. ISBN 0-85564-157-6.  
  • Abercrombie, Thomas J. (1982). Grosvenor, Melville Bell (ed.). ed. National Geographic. Washington D.C., United States of America.  


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