Known as an entertainer, writer, crocodile-hunter and champion of Aboriginals, Ted Egan can now add Northern Territory Administrator to his long list of roles.

Story by John Dunn and Photos by Sandra Dallen

His Honour is in town and has some availability,” says the message from the viceregal staff in Darwin. “His Honour has indicated he would be happy to participate in an interview and to have you attend some of his official functions,” says the second message.
His Honour? This is Ted Egan we’re talking about – Ted Egan of the Territory. The Ted Egan who, for half a century, has made a name for himself in this part of the outback in a whole range of roles but none of them, before this, with such elaborate precedes. He has become a larger-than-life character known for his dedicated work – and outspoken opinions – on the welfare of Aboriginals. But he is also known as a rollicking, rambunctious fellow who has been a crocodile-hunter, grave-digger, singer, songwriter, poet, author, storyteller and entertainer. He’s famous for his bush ballads around the camp fire and in the tourist-packed halls of Alice Springs, where he would accompany himself by making music from a piece of cardboard from a Foster’s carton.
Today, Edward Joseph Egan AO is the 18th Administrator of the Northern Territory and lives stylishly in Darwin’s historic Government House, having given up, temporarily at least, his digs at Sinkatinny Downs just outside Alice Springs. The title comes with the job and while those who know him may take a while to get used to it, Ted himself has made the transition seamlessly.

This story excerpt is from Issue #50

Outback Magazine: Dec/Jan 2007