Edward Joseph Egan AO (born 6 July 1932) is an Australian folk musician and a former public servant who served as Administrator of the Northern Territory from 2003 to 2007.

Ted Egan
Ted Egan.jpg
At the Woodford Folk Festival 2010–11
18th Administrator of the Northern Territory
In office
31 October 2003 – 30 October 2007
Governor-GeneralMichael Jeffery
Preceded byJohn Anictomatis
Succeeded byTom Pauling
Personal details
Edward Joseph Egan

(1932-07-06) 6 July 1932 (age 89)
Coburg, Victoria, Australia
Domestic partnerNerys Evans

Early lifeEdit

Egan was born in Coburg, Victoria, moving to the Northern Territory in 1949 at the age of 16 in search of work and adventure. In his early career with the Department of Aboriginal Affairs he was mainly in the bush and engaged in jobs such as stockwork and crocodile hunting while employed as a patrol officer and reserve superintendent. Later he was a teacher at bush schools. He was a member of the first National Reconciliation Council.

Egan was the sole teacher at the Newcastle Waters Station in 1965 and was stranded at the property for six weeks when the creek flooded. During this time no supplies were able to be delivered so Egan had to hunt for animals, such as bush turkey for food. He later returned to the station in 2012 for the book launch of Middle of Everywhere about life in the area.[1]

Music careerEdit

Egan began recording in 1969 with "Drinkers of the Northern Territory" and has released 28 albums, mostly themed around outback life, history and Aboriginal people.[2]

Egan wrote the "Gurindji Blues" in the 1969 with Vincent Lingiari, during the Wave Hill walk-off. Egan says he was moved to write "Gurindji Blues" after he heard Peter Nixon, then Minister for the Interior, say in parliament that if the Gurindji wanted land, they should save up and buy it, like any other Australian. Nixon also gets a mention in the song:[3]

Poor bugger me, Gurindji
Peter Nixon talk long we:
'Buy you own land, Gurindji
Buyim back from the Lord Vestey'

In 1971 the song was recorded by in Sydney, with Egan singing along with Galarrwuy Yunupingu, a Yolngu man actively involved in land rights for his own people through the Yirrkala bark petitions and Gove land rights case (who also sings on the B-side). Lingiari speaks the introduction, first in Gurindji and then in English.[3][4]

His choice of instrument is an empty beer carton (aka Fosterphone or Victorphone) played by tapping with his hands and fingers. He has been a prolific writer and performer of contemporary folk songs. He introduced Rolf Harris to the song "Two Little Boys".[2]



  • 1973 Bangtail Muster
  • 1975 Outback Australia
  • 1976 The Shearers (Faces of Australia Series)
  • 1976 The Bush Races
  • 1982 The Overlanders (Faces of Australia Series)
  • 1985 The Anzacs (Faces of Australia Series)
  • 1989 The Convicts (Faces of Australia Series)
  • 1990 Bangtail Muster
  • 1990 The Kimberley
  • 1990 A Town Like Alice
  • 1980 Rodeo Australia
  • 1988 Ted's Shout
  • 1997 The Aboriginals (Faces of Australia Series)
  • 2000 The Very Best of Ted Egan My Australia
  • 2000 The Urupunga Frog (Australian Songs for Children)
  • 2002 The Drover's Boy (A Celebration of Australian Women)
  • 2003 Land Down Under
  • 2003 Such is Life
  • 2008 I.O.U.
  • 2010 Saving The Best
  • Our Coach Captain
  • The Vision Splendid
  • Beyond the black stump
  • Once a Jolly Swagman[5]
  • Welcome to the Bush[6]


  • "Willie the Whinging Pom" (1973) AUS #94[7]
  • "Granny"
  • "A Schluck and a Schnitte"
  • "Sayonara Nakamura" also includes song parchment
  • "The Drover's Boy"
  • "2008 Ted Egan Sings"


  • Queensland Opera
  • Kutju Australia


  • 1978 Outback Holiday (also by Mark Egan) ISBN 0-7295-0040-3
  • 1984 The Overlanders Songbook ISBN 0-909104-74-3
  • 1987 The Aboriginals Songbook -Faces of Australia Series ASIN B000N7AKU0
  • 1989 Shearers Songbook ISBN 0-909104-75-1
  • 1991 Would I Lie to You? The Goanna Driver and Other Very True Stories ISBN 0-670-90460-0
  • 1993 The Paperboys War Ted Egan An Autobiography ISBN 1-875703-08-X
  • 1996 Justice All Their Own ISBN 0522846939
  • 1997 Sitdown Up North Ted Egan An Autobiography ISBN 1-875703-23-3
  • 1997 A Drop of Rough Ted ISBN 0-9595744-0-9
  • 1997 The Drover's Boy ISBN 0-85091-840-5
  • 2003 The Land Downunder ISBN 0-9545726-0-2
  • 2008 Due Inheritance ISBN 0-7295-0040-3
  • 2011 Kutju Australia: An Australian Translation of Advance Australia Fair ISBN 9780980861921
  • 2014 The ANZACS 100 Years On: in Story and Song ISBN 9780987381156
  • 2019 Outback Songman: My Life ISBN 9781760871437


  • This Land Australia series (as presenter, narrator and interviewer)
  • Broome and the Pearl Coast
  • Cape York Peninsula: The Vanishing Frontier
  • Central Australia: The Eighth Wonder
  • Discovering a Rainforest
  • Gulf Country: The Road from Mt. Surprise
  • Hahndorf and the Barossa: Valleys of Hope
  • The Islands of Torres Strait
  • Mysterious Australia
  • Norfolk Island
  • Paddleboats of the Murray River
  • Railways of Yesteryear
  • Snowy Mountains

These are available individually and as boxed sets on DVD from Flashback Entertainment.

Administrator of the Northern TerritoryEdit

Egan was appointed Administrator of the Northern Territory by Governor-General Michael Jeffery effective 31 October 2003.[8] He was sworn in on 18 November.[9]

On 14 September 2005, he was awarded a one-year extension to his term of office by Jim Lloyd, the Federal Minister for Local Government, Territories and Roads.[10] This was further extended for another year to serve until 30 October 2007.[11]


Egan has presented and narrated 6 episodes of the 1989 series This Land Australia, a series devoted to iconic Australian people and places. He also wrote and performed the show's theme song of the same name.[12] He has been a co-host of the lifestyle show The Great Outdoors.[13]


Egan was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the 1993 Australia Day Honours List for services to the Aboriginal people, and for "an ongoing contribution to the literary heritage of Australia through song and verse".[14]

In 2004, Egan was promoted to an Officer of the Order (AO) as acknowledgement of "the significance of [his] continuing contribution to the community culminating in his being sworn-in as the 18th Administrator of the Northern Territory".[15]

Egan is listed among the "Australia's National Living Treasures" by the National Trust of Australia.[16]

Ted was the recipient of the National Folk Festival's Lifetime Achievement Award on 02/04/2015 at NFF's Opening Ceremony in Canberra. Egan performed four songs at the event, including one about pioneering women in Australia.

Australian Roll of RenownEdit

The Australian Roll of Renown honours Australian and New Zealander musicians who have shaped the music industry by making a significant and lasting contribution to Country Music. It was inaugurated in 1976 and the inductee is announced at the Country Music Awards of Australia in Tamworth in January.[17]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1995 Ted Egan Australian Roll of Renown inductee

Country Music Awards of AustraliaEdit

The Country Music Awards of Australia (CMAA) (also known as the Golden Guitar Awards) is an annual awards night held in January during the Tamworth Country Music Festival, celebrating recording excellence in the Australian country music industry. They have been held annually since 1973.[18]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2000 "The Drover's Boy" Video Clip of the Year Won
2014 Ted Egan Lifetime Achievement Award awarded


  1. ^ Schubert, Steven (8 May 2012). "Six weeks stranded with nothing but bush turkeys for dinner". ABC Rural. Archived from the original on 22 May 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
  2. ^ a b "I have been writing and recording songs, filming and writing about the Australian people". Ted Egan. Retrieved 11 August 2020.
  3. ^ a b Singley, Blake (10 August 2016). "Song for the Gurindji". Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. Retrieved 11 August 2020.
  4. ^ "'Gurindji Blues'". National Museum of Australia. 26 March 2020. Retrieved 11 August 2020.
  5. ^ AFS Discography (08/06/2000) A-L
  6. ^ Release “Welcome to the Bush” by Ted Egan - MusicBrainz
  7. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 101. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  8. ^ Barker, Anne (1 October 2003). "Ted Egan appointed Administrator of the Northern Territory". PM. Radio National. Archived from the original on 11 May 2017.
  9. ^ Churchman, Fiona (18 November 2003). "Singer, author, bush legend and now ... Administrator Ted Egan". ABC Local Radio. Archived from the original on 10 November 2012.
  10. ^ Reappiontment Of Northern Territory Administrator, 2005
  11. ^ Reappointment Of Northern Territory Administrator, 2006
  12. ^ "This Land Australia series 1 (1989) - The Screen Guide - Screen Australia". www.screenaustralia.gov.au. Retrieved 26 October 2019.
  13. ^ Ted Egan - I have been writing and recording songs, filming and writing about the Australian people
  14. ^ EGAN, Edward Joseph, It's an Honour (Australian Government), 26 January 1993.
  15. ^ EGAN, Edward Joseph, It's an Honour (Australian Government), 25 February 2004.
  16. ^ National Trust Living Treasures, National Trust of Australia.
  17. ^ "Roll of Renown". Tamworth Country Music Festival. Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  18. ^ "Past Award Winners". Retrieved 2 November 2020.

External linksEdit

Government offices
Preceded by Administrator of the Northern Territory
Succeeded by