John is a 62 year old indigenous Australian of Kabi-kabi Aboriginal, Sth-Sea-islander, Nepalese and Indian/Sri-Lankan descent. John was born in Gladstone, Qld, and worked for Qld Railways and various construction firms throughout Queensland, until injuries forced him into trying a less physical pathway.
In 1990 - at thirty-six years of age - John began a BA, majoring in Literature and Aboriginal Studies. He graduated ten years later while working for CQ-University in the multi-media section. During this time John also gained a certificate in Film & Television production at AFTRS in Sydney.
In 2004, after 14 years at CQU John took his family to the Aboriginal community of Aurukun, on Cape York, where he met Noel Pearson. Together they created the Higher Expectations Program (HEP): a full secondary scholarship, sponsored by Macquarie Bank’s philanthropic arm MGF, in an attempt to solve some of the huge social problems and high school dropout rate in the Cape’s indigenous remote communities. To date HEP has over 40 University graduates – all ‘firsts’ from those 18 remote communities. The program is now called the Cape York Leadership Program (CYLP), and had its 10 year anniversary in 2016.
John had to stop work owing to several chronic construction work injuries. He lives in Far North Qld, and promotes his series of 10 fiction books about the 50,000 years of Aboriginal life prior 1770, through to today. He has several short stories and poems published and several more fiction stories ‘on the go’.
Some of John’s other publications are:
1: “The Believers: the burning man”; in – ‘Indo-Australian Anthology of Short Fiction’ 2014, AUTHORSPRESS, ISBN: 978-81-7273-824-2.
2: “Guru PP”: in – ‘From all walks of life’, 1995, Central Qld University Press, ISBN: 1 875902 03 1
3: online Poetry: “You still wonder” @: http://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/arts/you-still-wonder#axzz3tDJ5tU00
4: online Poetry X 3 poems @: http://www.austlit.edu.au/austlit/page/A71531
John plays guitar, photographs nature, writes poetry and songs about his people, and tries to sing occasionally.
John has four children (Luke, Rain, Bindi & Yeady), ranging in ages from 18 – 40 and six wonderful grandchildren. John’s mother - ‘Aunty Lorna’ Wenitong – started the first Aboriginal Health Program in Qld out of Mt Isa in the late 1960’s and his younger Brother Mark, was one of the first indigenous Doctors in Qld, and is credited with being the mind behind the Australian Indigenous Doctor’s Association (AIDA) in Australia.