Novac Bull “Mary Ann” – a woman of many roles

The ‘Mary Ann‘ of whom Novac Bull sings was Mary Ann Bugg, who was born in 1834 in New South Wales and would go on to live what can only be described as an interesting life.  One of eight children of James Bugg – a transported sheep thief – and an Aboriginal woman that he called Charlotte (history doesn’t seem to have recorded her given original given name) Mary Ann would herself have a dozen children, initially with her husband then after leaving him with three other men before she eventually returned to her husband for her last three children.  One of the men she associated with was the bushranger Captain Thunderbolt, for whom, riding dressed as a man, she acted as a scout and probably helped him to escape from capture in a daring jail-break from Cockatoo Island.  Later in life she worked as a nurse…

Novac Bull, herself an indigenous artist from Western Australia, has had a varied career in a number of bands over twenty years, but here she’s front and centre on an upbeat folk-ish ballad written by Johnny Tedesco.  The Perth based songwriter came across the story of ‘Mary Ann‘ and felt inspired to tell her complicated story from a “colourful” period of colonised Australia’s history.  ‘Colourful‘ is an historical term for narratives that are fascinating to read about, but you probably wouldn’t want them to be your own life story.

About Jonathan Aird 2728 Articles
Sure, I could climb high in a tree, or go to Skye on my holiday. I could be happy. All I really want is the excitement of first hearing The Byrds, the amazement of decades of Dylan's music, or the thrill of seeing a band like The Long Ryders live. That's not much to ask, is it?
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