Uncle Talgium Edwards is a passionate fighter for indigenous rights, having experienced a lifetime of discrimination and criminalisation.
For as long as he can remember, Uncle Talgium Edwards has used music, dancing and yarning as a way to heal.
A proud Boonwurrung, Yorta Yorta, Muthi Muthi, Taungerung and Palawa man, Uncle Talgium is a passionate fighter for indigenous rights, having experienced a lifetime of discrimination and criminalisation since being becoming a member of the Stolen Generation.
In 1956, police charged the then seven-year-old Talgium with ‘vagrancy’, or being homeless, and placed him an orphanage. It took decades for him to learn more about Australia’s history of Aboriginal dispossession and, since 2015, he has been fighting the legal system’s authority over him on the grounds that Aboriginal people never ceded their land.
‘I have been contesting the courts’ jurisdiction for the past five years or so,’ Uncle Talgium says.
‘The government can’t take over a country by committing genocide. You have no treaty, you have no consent, you have no jurisdiction.’
As part of his mission to raise awareness of the treatment of Aboriginal people, and to feed his love of music, he works part-time as a DJ for 3KND, Melbourne’s first Indigenous radio station.
‘I first started on 3KND in 2004 because I wanted to talk about the Stolen Generation. I played songs by Archie Roach and Kev Carmody — they were our greatest artists. Music has got me through. I have always been singing along to music, dancing. It’s been a real source of healing for me.’
Yarning has also been a way for him to cope with his traumatic past.
‘I spread my word when I have a captive audience. I give them a history lesson and I sing songs. I will continue to spread the word for as long as I can. I’m here for a reason and that’s to heal people and try to make life better for people.’
Watch Talgium's 2020 Victorian Seniors Festival reimagined performance.