Bill Harney was born on Willeroo Station around 1931. He is a tribal elder and lawman in the Fitzmaurice Region, located 120kms south-west of Katherine. The country is known as the land of the Lightning Brothers; the Lightning Country.
The story of the Lightning Brothers and others are depicted in his paintings.
To paint such imagery and make didjeridoos and boomerangs, he had first to be initiated. He was trained to paint Rock Art styles and body painting by the Wardaman Elders during his initation, between the age of thirteen and nineteen.
From 1979 on, Bill began as a commercial artist and craftsman. He has since moved into tourism, had a book published telling stories of his life (“Born Under the Paperbark Tree”, Jan Wositsky 1993) and collaborated with Hugh Cairns to write a book on Aboriginal astronomy (“Dark Sparklers” 2003). His family and land also featured in the 2002 SBS film ‘The Menngen White Cockatoo Country”. In 2004, he won the Brolga Award for Tourism. Bill had his first major solo painting exhibition at Darwin Museum in 1989. The museum bought sculpture of “Narrderre” the boss man Mimi for star people an landscape; a 6 foot high sculpture from this exhibition.
From his next exhibition in 1990 “Junganninna” the creation story was sold to Parliament house in Darwin.
Lightning painting parliament house in Sydney bought that one.
He paints on both bark and canvas, and uses bush ochre paint to create dynamic imagery.
He has had works selected for NATSIAA Telstra award every year except two since its inception .