Life On The Job

Indigenous Famous Person's Story

Roy David Page (1961 - 2016) COMPOSER

(Source: Nikinali)


David Page was a descendant of the Nunkul people and the Munaldjali clan of the Yugambeh tribe from South East Queensland. (Source: Bangarra)

Born in Brisbane, the eighth of 12 children. (Source: Aboriginal Art & Culture)

David’s musical career began in his teens when he released two singles with Atlantic Records. He also performed as Little Davy Page, a child star on shows ranging from Countdown to The Paul Hogan Show. -

As a child I was introduced to the music industry and always knew that’s what I wanted to do. I basically followed my dream to become a performer/music artist. I must say that being part of a significant culture I believe I am one of many messengers to tell our story of existence. My 2 brothers were and are wonderful performers. Most of my family have a special individuality about them, they are certainly not shy of performing. (Source: ArtsLaw)


David "grew up between Beaudesert and Mt Gravatt East in Brisbane. He started school at Mt Gravatt East State School in 1966 However, with eight children under 12 years of age, Mum agreed to let both David and his sister Gail go and live with their Aunty Teresa and Uncle George in Beaudesert, where he finished primary school. He returned to Brisbane to attend Mansfield State High School where he made lifelong friends." (Source: SMH)

In the 1980's David studied saxophone, voice, composition and song at the Centre for Aboriginal Studies in Music (CASM) at Adelaide University. In 1989, he moved to Sydney and teamed up with brothers Russell and Stephen, where he first created music for dance, working with The Aboriginal and Islander Dance Theatre. (Source: Nikinali Music)

YouTube: Yarramundi Kids - When I Was A Kid - David Page

Employment & Training:

David composed for the Australian Ballet’s Alchemy (1997) and collaborated with Elena Kats Chernin on Amalgamate (2007).

David has numerous television credits including music for Heartland, Pride (part of the Seven Deadly Sins series) and Poison for the ABC, and themes for Songlines, Living Black and Pioneers of Love for SBS.

David’s short film scores include Round Up, Passing Through, Grace and Saturday Night Sunday Morning, and five of the thirteen Bit of Black Business AFC short film series. He composed for the short film Jacob, selected for the 2009 Melbourne International Film Festival.

In 2010, David created the musical soundscape for Bangarra’s of Earth & Sky and in 2011 was appointed Artist-in-Residence with Bangarra, composing music for the company’s new program Belong for which he and Steve Francis received the Helpmann Award for Best Original Score.

David has continued working closely with Bangarra in his role as Resident Composer creating the score for Stephen Page’s work Warumuk – in the dark night as a part of the Australian Ballet’s 50thAnniversary celebrations in 2012 and Frances Rings work Terrain that same year.

In 2013 David collaborated with Paul Mac to create the soundscape for Blak and composed the music for Dance Clan 3 with contributions by Huey Benjamin and Steve Francis.

YouTube: David Page in the Studio for 'Dance Clan 3'  


For ABC David contributed to the new site ‘My Life As A Playlist’ and performed in Mother Courage & Her Children for QTC.

David participated as a role model for the organisation Show Me The Way, where Indigenous film students documented a day with him at Bangarra and shared the video on their website and YouTube channel. David also joined Stephen Page in an episode of NITV’s Living Black In Conversation.

In 2014 David performs in the QTC and Sydney Festival production Black Diggers and composes the soundscape for Bangarra’s new work Patyegarang choreographed by Stephen Page.  (Source: Bangarra)

Did You Know?

David once earned his living as a concreter!
(Source: SMH)

Experiences & Opportunities:

David Page's first experience with the world of musical performance came as a twelve-year-old when he won the talent night at the Sunnybank Hotel in Mount Gravatt, a suburb of Brisbane, Queensland. He was spotted by a talent scout from Atlantic Records, who signed him up immediately.

Page was said to be 'the next Michael Jackson'. He went on to release two singles, both of which made it into Australia's list of weekly top ten recordings. Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen was released in 1975 when Page was fourteen, and Dreamtime Lover was released in 1976.  (Source: Australian Government)

Within a couple of years, he’d recorded two hit singles and was travelling the country, playing gig after gig, and making appearances, resplendent in satin suits and platform heels, on seventies TV shows such as Countdown and The Paul Hogan Show. (Source: DeadlyVibe)

But Page's fame, television appearances and chart successes were short-lived: when he turned fifteen, his voice broke and his career as a child star was over. (Source: Australian Government)

In 2000, they contributed music to the Opening Ceremonies of the Sydney Olympic Games and the Sydney Olympic Arts Festival and, in 2002, The Sydney Dreaming Festival.

He contributed to the Indigenous section of the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony. David's most recent music collaboration for dance is Amalgamate for Bangarra and The Australian Ballet with Elena Kats Chernin.

In 2007 David collaborated with Matthew Doyle to create the music for the 75th Harbour Bridge Birthday Smoking Ceremony Celebrations. (Source: Nikinali)


Did You Know?

Since 1995, David has won four of his eight nominations for the Deadly’s Sound Awards, an ARIA nomination for Heartland in 1996, and was the inaugural winner of the Indigenous Artist Award for The Sidney Myer Foundation in 2000. He also received the 2006 Green Room Award for his solo performance in Page 8 as the Best New Australian Play. David received a Helpmann Award for Best Original Score for Mathinna in 2009.
(Source: Bangarra)

(Source: Performing Arts Market)

When David and Stephen Page were kids they often experienced a night of entertainment right in the back yard of their home. Family and relatives would gather for the party celebration of birthdays, weddings or funerals. Out would come the voices, dance moves, guitars and other instruments, then aunties, uncles, cousins, brothers and sisters would perform. This is where they saw some amazingly talented people and performances. Their childhood memories and experiences are the inspiration for this show. They would love to invite a new audience to the party, to witness a traditional celebration with a twist.

Staged in a glamorously stylised backyard setting Corrobaret is performed by five multi-skilled Australian Aboriginal entertainers who, in a fashionably nomadic style, pass down their authentic oral history of storytelling in a modern but characteristic blackfella style. Come and enjoy inspiring tales of Respect, Identity, Love, Heartache, Money and Success (and sometimes the lack of), woven magically together with dance, a nostalgic list of songs from the 1940’s, Motown, funk, disco, country and western, rock and pop music and stunning vocal accompaniment. (Source: Performing Arts Market)

YouTube: David Page, Composer


Living Black Conservations with David and Stephen Page (27 mins)



Bangarra Dance

Bangarra Dance
ABC - 7.30 Report

7.30 Report
ABC - AM 2011


Australian Composers

Australian Composers

Arts Hub

Arts hub
Deadly Vibe

SMH - Review of Page 8

Page 8
SMH 29 April 2016

29th April SMH


Your Dream - use an Avatar to describe it!

PrimaryPrimary MiddleMiddle  High SchoolSecondary

Australian Curriculum General Capability: Information and Communication Technology Capability
Australian Curriculum General Capability: Critical and creative thinking
Personal and social capability
Australian Curriculum General Capability: Personal and social capability
Australian Curriculum General Capability: Literacy
Australian Curriculum Cross Curriculum Priorities: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures

Overview: After reading about David Page and how he followed his dream of being involved in the music industry, use an Avatar to tell people what your dream job would be and how you might be able to fulfil this dream.

For example: I want to be an author of young children's books because I have a good imagination and like to tell funny stories. I can become an author if I continue to practice writing short, funny stories and working hard at school especially when we do creative writing activities.

1. Think about your dream job
2. Consider what you might need to do to make this happen,
3. Write down your ideas and thoughts
4. Log into Voki


5. Create a free online account
6. Create your avatar and use your own voice to tell us about your dream job and how you can get there.

My Mental Health Pledge

High SchoolSecondary

Personal and social capabilityAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Personal and social capability

1. David's suicide has devastated the Page Family. Read this Obituary from the Page Family.

Obituary: David Page, Music Director of Bangarra Dance Theatre


What would your family and friends say about you? Pair up with a partner and share.

2. Mental illness can strike anyone so it is a good idea to think about ideas that will help your own mental health. Go to Beyond Blue

Mental Health

"Just as there are lifestyle choices and activities that can contribute to improved physical health, we should be mindful of making the right choices to help improve our mental health and wellbeing.

What contributes to you feeling good about yourself, healthy, fulfilled and content? Is there a commitment you can make, or a goal you can set, to help you achieve or maintain good mental health over the next six months?

Everyone’s mental health commitment – or pledge – will be unique to them. In the photos above, you can see the variety of things that may contribute to a person’s good mental health.

When you’re ready to make your pledge, fill in the form below and in six months, we’ll email it back to you – as a reminder of your commitment, or a pat on the back for your achievements!"
(Source: Beyond Blue)

Fill out your pledge.


Material sourced from 

Aboriginal Art & Culture; ArtsLaw; Australian Government; Bangarra; DeadlyVibe; Nikinali Music; Performing Arts Market; SMH

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