William (Bill) ONUS (15 November 1906-1968)
Born Cummeragunja Aboriginal Reserve, Murray River, New South Wales
William Townsend (Bill) Onus was a shearer, actor and activist who revived the Australian Aboriginese League in Melbourne in 1946. He retired from politics in to start the Aboriginal Enterprises workship in Belgrave with his brother Eric. They produced boomerangs, woomeras, fabrics and greeting cards imprinted with Aboriginal motifs. He ran the business from his small factory and shop at Belgrave in the Dandenong Ranges. To promote his wares Bill Onus toured widely in Victoria and beyond as a travelling showman, giving demonstrations of boomerang-throwing, which he advocated as a national sport. (ADB)
Bill Onus adopted similar imagery to that which appeared in mass-produced indigenised design; however, he used such works to draw attention to his political work with the ‘Committee for Aboriginal Citizen Rights’ and the ‘Australian Aborigines League.’
William McLintock (Lin) Onus is the son of Bill Onus.
Ceramic form decorated with Aboriginal design by Bill Onus.