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John Moriarty John Moriarty i(A20565 works by) (a.k.a. Kundareri; Jumbana)
Born: Established: 1938 Borroloola, McArthur River area, Gulf - Barkly Tablelands area, Central Northern Territory, Northern Territory, ;
Gender: Male
Heritage: Aboriginal ; Aboriginal Yanyuwa / Yanuwa
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John Moriarty was young when he was stolen from his mother, in 1942. He was taken from Borroloola to Roper River Mission (Northern Territory) and his mother followed him there. A few weeks later, without notifying his mother, Roper River Mission moved him to Mulgoa, sixty kilometres out of Sydney.

When Moriarty was older he was moved to St Francis House in Semaphore, Adelaide. At this time Charles Perkins also lived in St Francis. Later Moriarty would spend time with Perkins and his mother Hettie Perkins in Alice Springs. Moriarty was fifteen when he was reunited with his own mother.

While at St Francis, Moriarty became involved with soccer. He played this sport for nearly ten years until he injured his knees in a sporting accident in 1965. Unable to play, he enrolled at Flinders University of South Australia in 1966. When he graduated in 1970, he was the first Indigenous Australian to graduate from a South Australian university. After graduation, Moriarty was employed full time at the Department of Labour and National Service's Aboriginal Employment unit.

During the 60s, Moriarty was involved with politics. He was a foundation member of the Aboriginal Progress Association and the South Australian branch of the Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders (FCAATSI).

In 1970, Moriarty travelled back to Borroloola for the first time since he had been removed. While there he started learning his Yanyuwa culture from the male Elders in his community. A decade later, he travelled to Ireland to find out about his father's family. He was fortunate to find his relations who gave him details about a father whom he knew very little of.

Moriarty has held positions as the Chair of the Jumbana Group, Director of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs in South Australia, Chair of the National Aboriginal Sports Corporation and Deputy Chair of the Indigenous Business Australia. In 1995, he was a recipient of Advance Australia awards for Services to Industry and Commerce. His art design company, Balaringji design studio, was responsible for the Indigenous artwork on two QANTAS aeroplanes.

Moriarty's story was recorded by the National Library of Australia for the Bringing Them Home oral history project and appeared in the associated publication Many Voices: Reflections on experiences of Indigenous child separation edited by Doreen Mellor and Anna Haebich (2002). In 2009, part of Moriarty's life story was featured in the National Museum of Australia's exhibition From Little Things Big Things Grow: Fighting For Indigenous Rights 1920-1970.

Most Referenced Works

Personal Awards

2000 Order of Australia Member of the Order of Australia (AM) For service to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community through political advocacy and the promotion of Indigenous culture, and to business.
Last amended 16 Feb 2010 14:59:24
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