The Boy from Birdum
Publisher: Magabala Books
Published: April 2021
The Boy from Birdum is a treat on many levels. With the deft execution of an old school drop punt, Bill Dempsey and Steve Hawke have collaborated to share Dempsey’s remarkable story. The book is as much a charismatic fireside yarn as it is an autobiography.
Throughout the book, Dempsey does not skirt around any of the hard issues that he has experienced in his life. Handed over to state care after his father and baby sister passed away, it was at the Retta Dixon Home that Dempsey learned about institutional life, and being Aboriginal in a white Australia. The bonds he makes with the other inmates at the Retta Dixon Home are for life.
Like some other members of the Stolen Generations, including Polly Farmer and Ted ‘Square’ Kilmurray Dempsey makes his name via football – and he is still revered as a true legend at West Perth. As a premiership captain who played over 400 games and a member of the AFL’s Indigenous Team of the Century, Dempsey’s legacy is fantastic – and so is this book.