Archie Weller

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Archie Weller (born 13 July 1957) is an Australian award winning writer of novels, short stories and screen plays.

Early life

Archie Weller was born in Subiaco, Western Australia, and grew up on a farm, Wonnenup, near Cranbrook in the Great Southern region of the state. He attended Guildford Grammar School in Perth as a boarder.[1] His mother was a journalist and his father was a farmer. As a young child Weller was encouraged by his grandfather to write.[2]


Weller states he wrote his first book, The Day of the Dog, "within a period of six weeks in a spirit of anger after his release from Broome jail for what he regarded as a wrongful conviction".[2] It won the 1980 The Australian/Vogel Literary Award, in 1982 the inaugural Prose Fiction award in the Western Australia Week Literary Awards, now called the Western Australian Premier's Book Awards,[3] and was made into a film entitled Blackfellas, which won two AFI Awards in 1993.[4] Weller's second novel Land of the Golden Clouds was published in 1998.

Plot of Going Home

The title story in the collection Going Home deals with the complexities of the Aboriginal identity in Australia. It is set in the 1980s and the protagonist has succeeded at university. He excels at sports, studies art and does paintings that are admired by the white community. But in achieving this acceptance he has turned his back on his home and his family. He feels white, but at the same time he is proud to be black. On his 21st birthday, nostalgia for his roots leads him to return to the camp of his birth, only to discover that his new "white" identity is invisible in the darkness of ignorance and prejudice. In contrast, another story in the collection, "Herbie", is about a white boy named Davey who witnesses the killing of an Aboriginal boy and though he is cruel to the boy and offers no resistance to the boys who eventually result in his death, the boy sympathises with Herbie's mother and shows remorse.[5] In this story he portrays a boy who at the time has no empathy towards Herbie, an indigenous boy. It portrays bullying and brutal behaviour in a schoolyard with fatal consequences.

Confession of a Headhunter

The script Confessions of a Headhunter, which Weller co-wrote with Sally Riley, won an award in the 2001 Western Australian Premier's Book Awards, the Cinema Nova Award and the 2000 Australian Film Institute Awards for Best Short Fiction Film,[6][7] and the 2001 Film Critics Circle of Australia award for Best Short Film.[8]



  • Day of the Dog (Allen & Unwin, 1981)[9]
  • Land Of The Golden Clouds (Allen & Unwin, 1998)


Short stories

  • Going Home: Stories (Allen & Unwin, 1986)Review
    • Pension Day
    • Dead Dingo
    • Johnny Blue
    • Stolen Car
    • Sandcastles
    • Herbie
    • fish and Chips
  • The Window Seat (University of Queensland Press, 2009)

Drama and screenplays

  • Nidjera: Children Crying Softly Together: A Play Exploring The Emotions Of A Modern Day Koori Family (1990)
  • Saturday Night, Sunday Morning, with Rima Tamou (1999)[10]
  • Confessions of a Headhunter, with Sally Riley (2000)[7]


  • Us Fellas: An Anthology Of Aboriginal Writing, with Colleen Glass (Perth: Artlook, 1987)


  1. ^ "Archie Weller". Australian Poetry Library. University of Sydney. Retrieved 2012-04-17.
  2. ^ a b "Weller, Archie". Austlit. Retrieved 2008-04-24.
  3. ^ "Western Australian Premier's Book Awards - 1982 Winners". State Library of Western Australia. Archived from the original on 1 December 2007. Retrieved 2008-04-24.
  4. ^ "Awards for Day of the Dog". Imdb. Retrieved 2008-04-24.
  5. ^ Lewis, John (22 August 2001). "Going Home". The Age Education. Archived from the original on 2 September 2007.
  6. ^ "AFI Award Winners Non-feature Categories 1958-2007" (PDF). Australian Film Institute. Archived (PDF) from the original on 30 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-24.
  7. ^ a b "Confessions of a Headhunter". Australian Screen. Archived from the original on 13 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-24.
  8. ^ "Awards for Confessions of a Head Hunter". Imdb. Retrieved 2008-04-24.
  9. ^ Christine Matzke, Susanne Muehleisen Postcolonial Postmortems: Crime Fiction from a Transcultural Perspective 2006 "Archie Weller has written less formal stories including his novel The Day of the Dog (1981),12 which shows how young people of native stock become pressured into social exclusion and towards crime."
  10. ^ "Saturday Night, Sunday Morning". Australian Screen. Archived from the original on 15 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-24.
  • "Weller, Archie". Austlit. Retrieved 2008-04-24.
  • "Archie Weller". Australian Screen. Retrieved 2008-04-24.
  • "Archie Weller". Imdb. Retrieved 2008-04-24.
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