The band takes its name from the coal mining village of Wongawilli situated at the foot of the Illawarra escarpment, southwest of Wollongong and 100km south of Sydney, New South Wales.
The band was formed in 1987 with a collection of musicians who were regularly playing for a midweek bush dance held in Dapto initially and now in the Wongawilli Community Hall.
The aim of the group is to perform and promote and hence preserve Australia's musical and dance heritage. The band has been successful in doing this with performances at all the major folk festivals in Australia including the National Folk Festival since 1990, Port Fairy Folk Festivals, Woodford and Maleny Folk Festivals, South Australian Folk Festivals, and the Illawarra Folk Festival since 1988.
The band has received national recognition with 16 awards since 1990 at the Australian Bush Band Championships and Australian Bush Music Awards held in Glen Innes. The awards have included Best Traditional Bush Band for a number of years. Graeme Murray has received the Best Male Vocalist on 2 occasions and David De Santi along with Rob Willis received the Heritage Award in 1992 for their music publishing efforts.
The band has also been actively involved in promoting Australia's music, songs and dance with production of publications and recordings as part of the Wongawilli Colonial Dance Club.The aim of the publications is to continue to disseminate the abundance of collected Australian material available from such places as the National Library of Australia.
John Harpley - tenor banjo, banjo-mandolin, whistle, violin, harmonica, backing vocals
Graeme Murray - main vocals, lagerphone, whistle, spoons, bones, bass drum
Neil McCann - guitar, 5 string banjo, backing vocals
David De Santi - concertina, button and piano accordion
Reg Murray - mandolin, banjo mandolin
Tania De Santi - piano