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Every picture tells a story – The wonderful talent of Mervyn Bishop of Brewarrina

Ralph Richardson at Mervyn Bishop’s photographic exhibition at Bre last week. Photo TWH

The photograph titled, ‘Cousins, Jim and Ralph, Brewarrina,’ was captured in 1966 while Mervyn Bishop was visiting the township during his time with the Sydney Morning Herald.

Born and raised in Brewarrina, Mervyn became passionate about photography through his mother’s encouragement.

In 1963, he applied for a cadetship with the Sydney Morning Herald and became Australia’s first Aboriginal press photographer, and in 1971, he won the News Photographer of the Year Award with his front-page photograph, ‘Life and Death Dash’.

Bishop started work at the Department of Aboriginal Affairs in 1974, where he covered the major developments in Aboriginal communities, including the historic moment in 1975 when the (then) Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam, poured a handful of earth back into the hand of Vincent Lingiari, representing the Australian government’s recognition of Aboriginal land rights.

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