A new song set to debut at Horsham's Concert for the Earth will retell the tragic story of a Wimmera indigenous historical figure.
Wimmera-born artist Danny Walsh, of the Danny Walsh Banned, has been working on a new song in collaboration with Wergaia elder Uncle Ron Marks which will tell the story of William Wimmera.
Born in 1841, William Wimmera was a Wotjobaluk boy who grew up along the banks of the Wimmera River.
His story will feature as part of a debut single at the Concert for the Earth, which will host Danny Walsh Banned alongside Grammy-nominated artist Tenzin Choegyal and the Horsham Rural City Band.
Mr Walsh said he had been working on the song for the past two years and conducted detailed research to understand the story.
"It was a story that piqued my interest, it is not an unknown story, but it seems that not a lot of it has been told," he said.
"It took quite a bit of reading. I had to go back. There was a religious document from 1852, where some of the pieces came together.
"We tracked that down and had to get a microfilm reproduction from the National Library in Canberra."
At the age of six, William Wimmera's mother was killed by a European settler in a punitive attack on his tribe's camp - leaving him orphaned and in the care of Belgian settler Horatio Ellerman.
After living as a servant for the Belgian, William Wimmera made it to Melbourne alongside a team of woodcutters - from which the young boy was picked up by Anglican Reverend Septimus Lloyd Chase.
Rev Chase saw the opportunity to provide William Wimmera with Christian education and convert him, so that he may return to his people in the Wimmera and convert them to Christianity.
William Wimmera was taken then to Reading, England where he quickly developed many health complications, which some have linked to the English climate.
William Wimmera passed away on March 10, 1852, without ever returning back to his country.
Upon reading the story and deciding to write a song about it, Mr Walsh enlisted the help of Uncle Ron, who worked shopped ideas with him on how to integrate the Wergaia language into the ballad.
"I wouldn't want to do it any other way. It is definitely a collaboration, especially when we are bringing in language. It is important to be in consultation and collaboration with the right people," he said.
"It is definitely a sensitive story and needs to be treated accordingly. That is why it is terrific to share with Uncle Ron in the first instance and others as well."
The song will debut at the Concert for the Earth event on Saturday, July 2, at Maydale Reserve.
Mr Walsh said the event will have a diverse offering of sounds - from the big band music of the Horsham band, to the Tibetan folk music of Mr Choegyal.
The artists also have plans to collaborate on the night for an extra-special performance.
"If it is anything like last year it is just a super night. The bonfire is spectacular," he said.
"You can keep warm with the hot bands and even warmer by the bonfire.
"I think having such a varied lineup is a cool thing to do as well, it means you are not really sure what to expect next. You have to have an open mind and enjoy yourself."
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