Morawa’s ‘bush professor’ inspired

Headshot of Geoff Vivian
Geoff VivianMidwest Times
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Alan Egan said Morawa was the first and only town he had ever lived in.
Camera IconAlan Egan said Morawa was the first and only town he had ever lived in. Credit: Geoff Vivian

Many visitors to Loretta Egan’s Morawa exhibition last year remarked on an unusual portrait of her uncle Alan that drew on the Western Desert dot painting style.

“I’m very proud of that piece,” she said.

“It was the first portrait I ever did with all dots and his face has got great character to paint.

“Also he teaches us all the old things about our culture, food and bush medicine.”

For the past five years Alan Egan has enjoyed the unofficial title “bush professor”, conferred on him after a trip to Boolardy in Murchison shire where he conducted workshops.

“I was taking groups of people out and showing the different bush tucker foods,” he said.

“When I came back to Morawa that’s what they called me down here — one of the local farmers, every time he sees me now he calls me that.”

Alan Egan with the portrait by his niece Loretta Egan.
Camera IconAlan Egan with the portrait by his niece Loretta Egan. Credit: Geoff Vivian

Mr Egan said Morawa was the first and only town he had ever lived in, having spent his early life on stations in the Murchison and Gascoyne.

“I came here in 1986 and worked at the ag school here in Morawa,” he said.

“For 14 years I was a pastoral teacher so I used to take the boys out mustering and I’d go to stations and that sort of thing. That helped me with doing other things like teaching bushcraft.”

Mr Egan said he was a Wajarri man who could still follow a conversation in his own language but when it was his turn to speak he did not always remember all of the words.

He said he was very happy to have settled in Morawa.

“The people, they say ‘g’day’ every day, both Aboriginals and white people, so there’s no difference,” he said.

“I don’t think I’ll ever move from here because the people are so friendly.

“They still ask me now to go out and work on certain farms, I might go out and give them a hand for a day or two — the old legs are getting a bit slower.”

Meanwhile, Loretta Egan said the portrait was definitely not for sale.

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