Ernie Dingo

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Ernie Dingo
Ernie Dingo.jpg
Ernie Dingo presents The Great Outdoors and see Australia
BornErnest Ashley Dingo
(1956-07-31) 31 July 1956 (age 57)
Bullardoo Station, Western Australia
OccupationActor, television personality, comedian, teacher, promoter
Spouse(s)Sally- Ashton Dingo (1989–)
ChildrenWillara, Zoe, Alyssa and Jurra
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Ernie Dingo
Ernie Dingo.jpg
Ernie Dingo presents The Great Outdoors and see Australia
BornErnest Ashley Dingo
(1956-07-31) 31 July 1956 (age 57)
Bullardoo Station, Western Australia
OccupationActor, television personality, comedian, teacher, promoter
Spouse(s)Sally- Ashton Dingo (1989–)
ChildrenWillara, Zoe, Alyssa and Jurra

Ernie Dingo AM (born 31 July 1956) is an Indigenous Australian actor and television presenter originating from the Yamatji people of the Murchison region of Western Australia.


Born Ernest Ashley Dingo on 31 July 1956, at Bullardoo Station,[1] he was the second child of nine.[2] He grew up in Mullewa, Western Australia with his family.[2] He went to Prospect Primary and then Geraldton High School.

He came to acting after moving to Perth and meeting Richard Walley, with whom he played basketball in a local team. Ernie went on to play state league first division for the East Perth Hawks in Western Australia.


Dingo is a distinguished actor and presenter in film and television, and promoted the Generation One "Hand Across Australia" which was a promotion for Indigenous equality.

He collaborated with Richard Walley to create a controversial "Welcome to Country" ceremony in Perth in 1976, after dancers from the Pacific islands would not perform without one.


Dingo's film career began in the early 1980s and he appeared regularly on screen through the 1990s. He appeared in Bruce Beresford's 1987 drama The Fringe Dwellers and worked on the 1988 docu-drama biopic Tudawali. He had a major supporting role in the international comedy blockbuster Crocodile Dundee II in 1988. He appeared as himself in the 1989 comedy Capuccino had a major role in the 1991 Wim Wenders film Until the End of the World. In 1993 he starred in Blackfellas and he had a lead role in 1996's Dead Heart. In 1998 he starred in Somewhere in the Darkness. In 2010 he returned to the silver screen with a role in the Aboriginal musical Bran Nue Dae along with Jessica Mauboy and Geoffrey Rush. [3]

Television and other appearances[edit]

Dingo hosted the television program The Great Outdoors since 1993. He has also appeared in many Australian television series such as Blue Heelers, The Flying Doctors, Heartbreak High and Rafferty's Rules. He appeared in the TV mini-series' The Cowra Breakout (1984), A Waltz Through the Hills (1987), (for which he won an AFI Award for Best Actor in a Television Drama) and Kings In Grass Castles (1997), as well as co-starring with Cate Blanchett in the Australian television drama series Heartland (Heartland is known as Burned Bridges in the United States).

Ernie Dingo narrated the Indigenous segment of the 2000 Olympic Games opening ceremony in Sydney, New South Wales.

In May 2007, Dingo appeared as one of the celebrity performers on the celebrity singing competition reality show It Takes Two. Dingo also hosted the first series of No Leave, No Life, on Channel Seven.

He also appears in an episode of Serangoon Road, an Australian-Singaporean television drama series which premiered on 22 September 2013 on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and HBO Asia. Also in 2013, Dingo is a Vietnam veteran, a retired Army drill sergeant facing his demons in the second series of the Redfern Now episode, "Dogs of War". The episode was shown at the Adelaide Film Festival in October.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Ernie Dingo married Sally Butler, then a sales representative for 2Day FM, in 1989.[5] Dingo discovered in 2004 that he had a daughter, named Zoe, from a brief relationship before his marriage. He also has a daughter called Alyssa Wallwork and his wife also raised another grandchild Jurra, as well as their 16-year-old adopted daughter Wilara.[5] Sally Dingo has authored two books about her husband and family, 2000's Ernie Dingo: King of the Kids and Dingo, The Story of our Mob in 1997. They live in the suburb of Warrandyte, 24 kilometres northeast of Melbourne.

Dingo is a prominent supporter of Australian rules football, and in particular the Australian Football League's West Coast Eagles. He was on the selection committee for the Indigenous Team of the Century.


Ernie Dingo was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 1990, in recognition of his service to the performing arts.[6]


In 2010, two women from New South Wales and Victoria claimed to have engaged in affairs with Dingo. It was reported that they are living in an open marriage for the sake of their children.[7] The claim of an open marriage was found to be false and was retracted. [8]

In December 2009, Ernie made controversial comments hitting out at "hypocritical white people who lecture Aborigines about alcohol consumption".

What you should be worrying about is who is giving them access... who sells alcohol? Not black people," Dingo said.

We [Indigenous people] don't have a problem. Our problem is to say 'no' to you blokes, to white people... 'no' is not really part of our cultural background." "There are more white alcoholics than there are black people in this country, so don't come at us with restrictions and Aboriginal laws about alcohol.

It upsets me a lot. I'm passionate about the fact that people talk – journalists talk – about Aboriginal people with our drinking problem. We don't have a drinking problem at all... [The] Aboriginal drinking problem is white people selling to them."


In August 2010, the WA Police Force announced they had opened an investigation into reports of child abuse by Ernie Dingo. It is alleged that Dingo slapped and verbally abused an 11-year boy at Carnarvon Primary School, and then made abusive comments singling out that particular boy while speaking at a school assembly shortly afterward. Dingo denied the claims, saying: "I deny it, but until there is an outcome I can't really talk about it."[10][11] He entered a plea of not guilty by endorsement in a letter to the court and a date of 3 February 2011 was set for trial in Carnarvon.[12] However, on 18 April 2011, following a mediation session, the assault charge was dropped and the matter formally withdrawn.[13]


  1. ^ Ernie Dingo (1956 – ). Film
  2. ^ a b Dingo's brother dies in car crash.
  3. ^ "Ernie Dingo Filmography – Yahoo! Movies". Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b Huntington, Patty and Rachel Brown. "Dingo's secret daughter'. Sydney Morning Herald. 12 September 2004.
  6. ^ It's an Honour – Member of the Order of Australia
  7. ^ "Ernie Dingo in open relationship". 7 June 2010. Archived from the original on 12 June 2010. 
  8. ^ Langmaid, Aaron (5 August 2010). "'Ernie's a d***head but I still love him' – Dingo's wife Sally insists marriage is strong". Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ "Police investigate Dingo assault claim – The West Australian". 2 August 2010. Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  11. ^ "Fame, lies, scandals won't break us, says Ernie Dingo's wife Sally". Herald Sun. 5 August 2010. Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  12. ^ Ernie Dingo pleads not guilty to assault, accessed 12 October 2010
  13. ^ "Assault charge against Ernie Dingo dropped", ABC News 18 April 2011. Retrieved 1011-09-15


External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
No Leave, No Life host
season 1
Succeeded by
James Tobin