AustLit logo
Deborah Mailman Deborah Mailman i(A3560 works by) (a.k.a. Deb Mailman)
Born: Established: 1972 Mount Isa, Far North Queensland, Queensland, ;
Gender: Female
Heritage: Aboriginal ; Aboriginal Bidjara Nation ; Maori
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.


Deborah Mailman grew up in Mount Isa. She spent many of her childhood years around the rodeo because her father was a rodeo champion.

Mailman gained interest in acting during high school when she chose to study Drama to avoid doing Business Principles. She found that acting allowed her to express her creative side. When the school started the production of Wizard of Oz, Mailman auditioned for the Wicked Witch of the West but instead she was given the role of Dorothy.

From high school, Mailman travelled to Brisbane to study drama at the university. She found her first year of study difficult because she was constantly changing accommodation but she found support from friends and family, which helped her continue her studies. She graduated from Queensland University of Technology Academy of the Arts in 1992. Since graduating, she has worked in numerous theatre productions as an actor, co-director or co-writer. Mailman has also appeared on television as a presenter on ABC's Playschool and Message Stick, and as an actress in the series The Secret Life of Us. Her film credits include The Monkey's Mask, Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence, Radiance and Dear Claudia, The Third Note.

In 2012 Mailman won Female Actor of the Year at the Deadly Awards.

Most Referenced Works


  • Mailman was inducted into The Australian Film Walk of Fame in 2012. Members of the Australian Film Industry are acknowledged 'for the skill, expertise and dedication to their craft, which has contributed to the vitality, and uniqueness of Australian Film, by the placing of plaques in the footpath outside the iconic Ritz Cinema, Randwick'.
    Source: Australian Film Festival website (Sighted 09/03/12)

Personal Awards

2022 nominated Logie Awards Most Popular Actress Indexed selectively. for 'Total Control'.
2017 finalist National Dreamtime Awards Female Actor of the Year
2017 recipient Order of Australia Member of the Order of Australia (AM) For significant service to the performing arts as an actor, as a role model for Indigenous performers, and to the community.
Last amended 27 Sep 2019 14:07:23
Other mentions of "" in AustLit: