Articles - Celebrities


Ernie Dingo - Australian Actor
Most of us recognise Aboriginal actor, Ernie Dingo, as one of   the  team   reporters   on   Channel  Seven's
The Great Outdoors
. This year, Ernie has been travelling the world, reporting in his own unique style, which he describes as telling “a yarn to the people home watching it".  His relaxed approach has been enjoyed by audiences for 15 years.

When Ernie is not on the road for The Great Outdoors, he's been doing promotional work in Western Australia for the Youth on Health Festival in Mandura. An avid AFL fan, he's still gloating about the West Coast Eagles “flogging Sydney, by one point” during the grand final.

Ernie is on the move. After spending ten years in Brisbane, he's relocated to Melbourne, coming to the conclusion that he doesn't need a suntan anymore.

This attitude is indicative of Ernie's humour. He explains, “it's not about being rude to anybody, if people take offence to what I say, they are entitled to as I am entitled to give my point of view.  If they reckon I am being silly, then don’t listen to me... Most of the time I am pretty happy and jovial about things around me, without serious moments and depressing things, and sometimes you think…where do you start.”

  Aboriginal actor, Ernie Dingo, is one of the team reporters on Channel  Seven's The Great Outdoor.  Photo taken by Chrissy Layton, AusNotebook Music & Creative.

Ernie Dingo at the Woodford Folk Festival Dec/Jan 2007

Ernie remembers being “a bit of a show off” in his teens, especially on the basketball court in the Seventies. He had no ambitions to take up show business. He says, “I just follow the ebbs and flows of everything and got into one area that was good to me and just played along with it”.

Behind his carefree manner is a serious actor who is modest about his industry experience. Embracing his cultural practice, he performed traditional dance. In 1979, he acted with the great Aboriginal playwright and actor, Jack Davies in the ground breaking stage play, Kullark. In 1982, he toured Australia and Canada with Dreamers, performing No Sugar, part of the trilogy by Jack Davis. In 1983, Ernie arrived in Sydney where he worked on stage and screen (including appearing in Crocodile Dundee II), as well as “a bit of busking”.

On the broader issue of Australian Culture, Ernie laments the loss of this quintessential Aussie tradition of mateship. “People in Australia are made up from all walks of life, and from all around the world, yet try to be like somebody else. We have a great mateship in this country.  But people are forgetting about it because we are coming to electronified, and Americanised!

Ernie is wanting more from our cultural exchanges. He uses the example of eating out at a restaurant, such as Indian or Thai. In this experience “we embrace all the things for what they give us, but what do we give them?  Money, and it's transactions done!  But if we embrace their culture, we learn a little bit about them”.

He speaks of embracing “each other as that (Australians) and stopping “all the negativities” just because “if you don't understand something, then you become bias.”

Ernie’s empathy for diversity and culture, cheeky Aussie humour, and his engaging yarns make him a fine ambassador for The Great Outdoors.

Celebrities that Ernie admires


Guy Pearce, Jack Thompson, Mel Gibson, Cate Blanchett and Sigrid Thorton.


Classic Aboriginal bands such as Coloured Stone,  Kourri Country Singers Roger Knoxs and Jimmy Little and Aboriginal Opera Singer, Harold BlairRumpi Band, Mop and the Drop Outs.  


Legendary Football Ruckman Bill Dempsey.

Ernie's favourite charity

Ernie's, true to his travelling spirit, says his favourite Charity is the Royal Flying Doctors Service because “outside the city you rely of them to help you”.


Article written by Chrissy Layton/Pauline Sheldrake for AusNotebook Music & Creative 16/4/07
Photo taken by Chrissy Layton

NEWSFLASH!  Ernie Dingo acts in upcoming movie Bran Nue Dae showing in 2010