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Everybody knows a drongo - the Australian word for a no-hoper, a hapless soul who just can't do anything right - but most people don't know how the term entered the language.
Author Bruce Walkley explains that it came from racehorse Drongo and traces the horse's lineage to a well-bred colt bought from Australia by Lillie Langtry, known as the 'Jersey Lily', mistress of King Edward VII when he was Prince of Wales. Despite the fine blood coursing through his veins, Drongo couldn't win in 37 attempts.
Contrary to popular opinion, however, he wasn't hopeless. He ran only in city races and often on the best courses against the best horses - he finished second in the 1923 Victoria Derby and the 1924 VRC St Leger, races for best young stayers. And he ran in two Melbourne Cups, one as 10/1 third favourite. Drongo is the story of a horse whose legacy was not on the track but in his contribution to Australia's colourful language.
Bruce Walkley is a retired journalist. Born in Latrobe, Tasmania, in 1941, his 50-year career started as a cadet at The Examiner in Launceston in 1958, and in 1962 he became the first news editor at Launceston's TNT9 television station. He worked as a news, football and tennis writer at The Herald in Melbourne between 1964 and 1966, and later at The Age and Newsday.
Walkley and his wife Pam (also a journalist) have two sons, three granddaughters and one grandson, and live in Sydney's inner west.
Walkley has always been interested in racing and Drongo is his first book.
Listen to Bruce Walkley speaking about Drongo on Hoof On The Till with Max Presnall and Helen Thomas, August 14 2013
Read an article about Drongo that appeared in The Australian
Read a review of Drongo that appeared on The Daily Telegraph's website
Read a story on Drongo that appeared on the Tasmanian Times website.
Read a review of Drongo that appeared in The Weekly Review
Read a review of Drongo that appeared in Ladies in Racing Magazine
Read a review that appeared in Racing NSW magazine
Read a review that appeared in the Herald Sun
Read a review of Drongo that appeared on the Racing and Sports website
Read a review of Drongo that appeared on the Equestrian Life website
Read a story about Drongo in the Sydney Morning Herald
Read a review of Drongo that appeared on The Thoroughbred website
Read a review that appeared in Inside Racing