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Anita Heiss (a.k.a. Anita M. Heiss) b. 1968 (227 works by fr. 1994, 13 works taught in 68 units)

Professor Anita Heiss is a member of the Wiradjuri nation of central New South Wales and is one of Australia’s most prolific and well-known authors of Aboriginal literature. She has a PhD in Communication and Media which resulted in a history of Indigenous publishing titled Dhuuluu-Yala : To Talk Straight. Other published works include the historical novel Who Am I? : The Diary of Mary Talence : Sydney, 1937, the Macquarie PEN Anthology of Aboriginal Literature, which she co-edited with Peter Minter.

In 2007 Anita released three titles: the novel Not Meeting Mr Right, the poetry collection I'm Not Racist, But... : A Collection of Social Observations, and the children's novel, Yirra and Her Deadly Dog, Demon. These were followed by Avoiding Mr Right and Manhattan Dreaming in 2008 and 2011 respectively. In 2011, Anita released Paris Dreaming and Demon Guards the School Yard, which was written with the students of La Perouse Public School in Sydney for the award-winning Yarning Strong series. Her novel Tiddas is set in Brisbane and was published in 2014. It was followed by Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms in 2016. Anita also edited the anthology Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia, which was released in 2018 by Black Inc.

In 2004 Anita was listed in the Bulletin magazine’s 'Smart 100'. Her memoir Am I Black Enough for You? was a finalist in the 2012 Human Rights Awards and she was a finalist in the 2013 Australian of the Year Awards (Local Hero). Anita has made guest appearances on many television programs including the Einstein Factor, Message Stick, Vulture, Critical Mass, A Difference of Opinion (all ABC), The Catch Up (Channel 9), Living Black (SBS), The Gathering (NITV), 9am with David and Kim and The Circle (both Channel 10).

Anita is a sought after public speaker and performer, delivering keynote addresses at universities and conferences across the USA, Canada, the UK, Tahiti, Fiji, New Caledonia, Spain, Japan, Austria, Germany and New Zealand. She has also presented at Australian Embassies and Consulates in Vienna, Paris, New York, Atlanta and Shanghai. She is an Ambassador for the GO Foundation, Worawa Aboriginal College and the Sydney Swans, and a Lifetime Ambassador for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.

Anita is a tireless advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writing and has been involved in AustLit's BlackWords project since its inception in 2007.

In 2019, Anita was appointed a Professor of Communications at the University of QLD. She currently sits on the Board of the State Library of QLD.

Kim Scott b. 1957 (75 works by fr. 1978, 5 works taught in 109 units)

Kim Scott is a multi-award winning Indigenous author from Western Australia. He grew up near Albany, in southern Western Australia, then on leaving school completed a Bachelor of Arts Degree and a Graduate Diploma in Education at Murdoch University, in Perth. He initially worked as a secondary school teacher and later turned to writing full-time.

Scott began working on his first novel, the semi-autobiographical True Country (1993), whilst teaching at a remote Aboriginal community in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Since then he has gained widespread critical acclaim for the way in which his writing explores questions of identity, race and history, and also for his interest in finding ways that Indigenous people might connect their ancient heritage to contemporary life. His friend John Fielder has written that Scott "is an important figure in Australia today because of his creative quest to open up new and different ways of 'being black', and to provide a language for that which is otherwise un-utterable".

In 2000, Scott became the first Indigenous author to win the Miles Franklin Literary Award, with his novel Benang: From the Heart (1999). In 2011 he won both the Miles Franklin and the Australian Literature Society’s Gold Medal with That Deadman Dance (2010). He was a guest speaker at the 2001 Century of Federation Alfred Deakin Lecture Series in Melbourne. He presented at the 2004 Melbourne 'Globalisation and Identities' forum. He has been a member of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board of the Australia Council. In 2012 he was made a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and also named West Australian of the Year.

Since completing a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Western Australia in 2009, Scott has been involved with the Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute and also the Wirlomin Noongar Language and Story Project. Scott was appointed Professor of Writing in the School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts of Curtin University in December, 2011. He is a member of The Centre for Culture and Technology (CCAT), leading its Indigenous Culture and Digital Technologies research program.

Scott is the nephew of Hazel Brown, with whom he co-wrote in Kayang and Me.

Ruby Langford Ginibi (a.k.a. Ruby Maude Langford) b. 26 Jan 1934 d. 2 Oct 2011 (139 works by fr. 1980, 2 works taught in 13 units)

Dr. Ruby Langford Ginibi was born at Box Ridge Mission, Coraki, on the north coast of New South Wales in 1934. A proud Bundjalung woman, she grew up in Bonalbo and attended high school in Casino. When she turned fifteen, she moved to Sydney where she qualified as a clothing machinist. Married at an early age, she had nine children and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. For many years, she lived and camped in the bush around Coonabarabran, working at fencing, lopping and ring-barking trees and pegging kangaroo skins. At other times, she lived in Sydney and was employed in clothing factories.

Ginibi made her literary debut at fifty-four, when her first book Don't Take Your Love To Town was released in 1988, Australia's Bicentennial Year. This book, which revealed the struggles and trials faced by Aboriginal women, won her a Human Rights Award.

Her second book, Real Deadly, was published in 1992 and her third, My Bundjalung People (1994), is an account of her return to the mission in Coraki to locate and reconnect with her extended family. Her fourth book, Haunted By the Past ,was published in 1999 and recounts the story of her son Nobby's incarceration.

Ginibi was not only an author, but also a lecturer and historian in Aboriginal history, culture, and politics at various universities and colleges. Recognised as a spokesperson, educator and recorder of Koori culture, she has travelled and lectured at home and abroad.

Ginibi received an inaugural History Fellowship from the Ministry of Arts in 1990, an inaugural Honorary Fellowship from the Australian National Museum in 1995, and an inaugural Doctorate of Letters (Honors Causia) from La Trobe University in 1998.

Her tribal name 'Ginibi' (black swan) was given to her in 1990 by her aunt, Eileen Morgan, a tribal elder of Box Ridge Mission.

Bruce Pascoe b. 1947 (184 works by fr. 1979, 2 works taught in 10 units)

Bruce Pascoe, a Bunurong man, is a member of the Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative of southern Victoria, and an award-winning Australian writer, editor, and anthologist. His works have been published nationally and internationally, and have won several national literary competitions. He has combined writing fiction and non-fiction with a career as a successful publisher and has been the director of the Australian Studies Project for the Commonwealth Schools Commission. He has also worked as a teacher, farmer, fisherman, barman, farm fence contractor, lecturer, Aboriginal language researcher, archaeological site worker, and editor. He appeared in the SBS TV program, First Australians.

His Jim Fox series of novels were partially set in the Indonesian province of Irian Jaya (West Papua). As a member of the Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative, Pascoe edited school readers on the history and language of the Wathaurong people, demonstrating his interest in Indigenous language retrieval and teaching. He has spoken at conferences on Aboriginal culture and edited several anthologies and translations of Australian stories.

Pascoe edited and published Australian Short Stories (1982-1998), a quarterly journal of short fiction. Publishing experimental and traditional short stories by established writers and enabling new writers to demonstrate their potential, the journal continued under the editorship of Howard Firkin at Moolton Press until 2000. Pascoe has run Pascoe Publishing and Seaglass Books with his wife Lyn Harwood.

His book exploring the history of Aboriginal agriculture Dark Emu : Black Seeds : Agriculture or Accident? has attracted considerable attention for its discussion of land management practices in Australia prior to colonisation.

In 2020, he was appointed Enterprise Professor in Indigenous Agriculture at the University of Melbourne.

His non-fiction works include:

  • With Krishna-Pillay, Dictionary of Wathawoorroong, (1st ed, Geelong, Vic: Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-op, 2007.
  • With Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative & Coast Action, Wathaurong: The People Who Said No. Nth. Geelong, Vic: Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-Operative, 2003.
Archie Weller (a.k.a. Irving Kirkwood; Kirk Weller) b. 1957 (129 works by fr. 1977)

Archie Weller grew up on a farm called Woonenup in the south-west of Western Australia and later attended Guildford Grammar School near Perth as a boarder. His grandfather's influence and encouragement were important in Weller's desire to write. He worked in a variety of mostly labouring jobs before writing his first novel, The Day of the Dog. It was written 'within a period of six weeks in a spirit of anger after his release from Broome jail for what he regarded as a wrongful conviction.' Ten years later, the novel was made into the AFI award winning film Blackfellas and the novel republished to coincide with the opening of the film.

Weller has also published poems and short stories in numerous anthologies and has had plays produced by the Kyana Festival, the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts and the Melbourne Workers Theatre. Nidjera : children crying softly together, a play exploring the emotions of a modern day Koori family and their survival (c. 1990), was written for the Melbourne Workers Theatre. He was commissioned to write a play for Black Swan Theatre as well. He was Writer-in-Residence at the Australian National University in 1984. In the 2000 AFI Awards, Confessions of a Head Hunter, written by Weller and Sally Riley (q.v.), won the Best Short Fiction Film award and was nominated for Best Screenplay in a Short Film.

Larissa Behrendt b. 1969 (80 works by fr. 1994, 3 works taught in 23 units)

Academic, lawyer and writer, Larissa Behrendt graduated from Harvard Law School with a doctorate in 1998. Her thesis was later published as the book Achieving Social Justice : Indigenous Rights and Australia's Future (2003). She is admitted to the Supreme Court of NSW and the ACT as a barrister.

Since 2001 Behrendt has been Professor of Law and Director of Research at the Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning at the University of Technology, Sydney and has published extensively on property law, Indigenous rights, dispute resolution and Aboriginal women's issues. Other works include Aboriginal Dispute Resolution (1995).

In 2003 she was awarded, with Marcia Langton, the Neville Bonner Indigenous University Teacher of the Year Award. Behrendt has been a director of Ngiya, National Institute of Indigenous Law, Policy and Practice, a council member of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, a Judicial Member of the Administrative Decisions Tribunal, Equal Opportunity Division and the Alternate Chair of the Serious Offenders Review Board. She has also been a Board Member of the Museum of Contemporary Art and a Director of the Sydney Writers' Festival and the Bangarra Dance Theatre.

Behrendt is the daughter of Paul Behrendt. In 2004 she fictionalised the story of her father's search for his Indigenous heritage in her novel Home

In 2009 she was named NAIDOC person of the year and in March 2011 became the first Chair of Indigenous Research at the University of Technology, Sydney. Since April 2011, Larissa's column Pointed View is a regular in Tracker magazine.

Other Works:

First Australians. Edited with Cathy Hammer, Sydney Legal Information Access Centre, 2013.

Indigenous Australia for Dummies, Wiley, 2012. 

Wesley Enoch b. 1969 (29 works by fr. 1995, 1 works taught in 14 units)

Wesley Enoch is the eldest son of Doug and Lyn Enoch from Stradbroke Island and is the current [2018] Artistic Director of Queensland Theatre Company. Wesley is a renowned director and writer for the stage. His written body of work includes I Am Eora, The 7 Stages of Grieving (co-written with Deborah Mailman), Little White Dress, A Life of Grace and Piety, Black Medea, The Sunshine Club, Grace and The Story of the Miracle at Cookie's Table, for which he won the 2005 Patrick White Playwright's Award and was short listed for both the New South Wales and Victorian Premier's Literary Award.

After working across several aspects of theatre in Queensland, Wesley became Artistic Director for Kooemba Jdarra Indigenous Performing Arts in 1994, where he directed his own work including Little White Dress (Queensland Performing Arts Centre/Out of the Box Festival), A Life of Grace and Piety (Just Us Theatre Ensemble) and The 7 Stages of Grieving, which toured the London International Festival of Theatre, Melbourne, Tasmania, Adelaide and went on to be re- mounted in Sydney Opera House. Other directing credits include Murri Love (Metro Theatre Brisbane), Changing Time (Salamanca Theatre Company), The Dreamers (Brisbane Festival) and Up the Ladder (Melbourne Workers Theatre, Festival of the Dreaming).

In 1998, Wesley became Associate Artist for Queensland Theatre Company, for which he directed Radiance, Black-ed Up, The Sunshine Club and Fountains Beyond. His other credits in that time include The 7 Stages of Grieving, which toured the Swiss International Theatre Festival, Stolen (Playbox Theatre) and Romeo and Juliet (Bell Shakespeare). He became the Resident Director at Sydney Theatre Company in 2000 and directed Black Medea, The Sunshine Club, Black-ed Up, The Cherry Pickers (2002 UK Tour), and Stolen (Adelaide, Sydney, Tasmania and UK Tour) and remounted The 7 Stages of Grieving.

Following his term at Sydney Theatre Company, Wesley became Artistic Director of the Ilbijerri Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Theatre Co-operative in 2003 for which he directed Shrunken Iris and Rainbow's End, and remained on the Board until 2007. In this time, Wesley directed some of the most successful and prolific works in Australian theatre. For Company B, Wesley directed several productions including The Dreamers, Conversations with the Dead, Black Medea (with Malthouse Theatre), and The Sapphires, with Melbourne Theatre Company and which went on to win the Helpmann Award for Best Production and Best New Australian Work and was remounted at the 2005 Sydney Festival.

Wesley also directed the Helpmann Award nominated outdoor event Eora Crossing (Legs on the Wall/Museum of Sydney/Sydney Festival) and Riverland for Windmill Performing Arts, staged at the Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane International Festivals. Wesley's play The Story of the Miracles at Cookie's Table was directed by Marion Potts and staged at Hothouse Theatre Melbourne and the Griffin Theatre in Sydney to critical acclaim.

As Associate Artist at Company B from 2006-2008, Wesley directed Capricornia, Paul, Parramatta Girls (nominated for 2007 Helpmann Award for Best Direction and Best Production), and Yibiyung (with Malthouse Theatre). His more recent work includes Nargun and the Stars (Performing Lines), The Man From Mukinupin (Company B/Melbourne Theatre Company), One Night, the Moon (Malthouse Theatre) and a revival of The Sapphires (Company B/Black Swan Theatre Company).

Over several years, Wesley worked with Tom Wright in the development of a play about Indigenous soldiers of World War I. Black Diggers premiered at the Sydney Opera House in 2014, with an all-Indigenous male cast and was a triumphantly received.

He directed the Indigenous section of the 2006 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony, is a member of the Hothouse Theatre Artistic Directorate, a Trustee of Sydney Opera House, a member for the New South Wales Government Arts Advisory Council and numerous other Committees. In 2008 Enoch was the Artistic Director for the Australian delegation to the Festival of Pacific Arts (FOPA) and in June 2010 he was appointed as the Artistic Director for the Queensland Theatre Company, a position he still holds in 2018.

In 2018, he gave the Nick Enright Address at the National Playwrighting Festival.

Nakkiah Lui b. 1991 (18 works by fr. 2012)

Nakkiah Lui a playwright who grew up in Western Sydney and is the daughter of a Gamilaroi woman from Gunnedah and a Torres Strait Islander. As a playwright she had drawn from her own life and community in the Mount Druitt area, and wrote her first play whilst studying in Canada.

Nakkiah was the first recipient of both The Dreaming Award by The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Arts Board of the Australia Council; and the Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwright award.

John Harding (a.k.a. Johnny Harding) b. 1966 (39 works by fr. 1985, 1 works taught in 1 units)

John Harding is a descendant of the KuKu Yalanji tribe and the Mer people. He was co-founder of the Ilbijerri Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Theatre Co-op in Melbourne. The first play produced by the Co-op was Harding's Up The Road, which was subsequently performed at the Belvoir Street Theatre, and then toured nationally.

Harding has been an actor, and has worked in Aboriginal affairs and education. He has been writing poetry since the age of 14, and has written and directed drama for theatre, radio and television. He was assistant Director for the 1989 National Black Playwrights' Conference and Artistic Director of the 1996 Nambundah Festival. His television credits include Lift Off and Blackout, the Aboriginal sitcom The Masters and the SBS Indigenous current affairs program, ICAM. In 2006 Hardy was nominated for a DEADLY Award, Outstanding Achievement in Literature, for his book The Dirty Mile, a History of Indigenous Fitzroy (2006).

Tracey Moffatt (a.k.a. Tracey Leanne Moffatt) b. 1960 (8 works by fr. 1987, 3 works taught in 22 units)

Tracey Moffatt studied visual communications at the Queensland College of Art and graduated in 1982. The second eldest from a family of five, Tracey and three of her siblings were fostered by a non-Indigenous family in the mid-1960s, growing up in the working-class Brisbane suburb of Mt Gravatt. As a teenager Tracey often encouraged her younger brother and sisters to participate in her backyard neighbourhood make-believe plays, dressing them up in theatrical costume designs while pursuing an inner desire to capture those moments through photographic images.

Throughout working various jobs in and around Brisbane, Tracey was paying off her college tuition fees, as well as saving for her first overseas trip to Europe. During her holidays in England, Tracey was famously arrested while protesting the use of the Aboriginal flag for the re-enactment of the First Fleet arrival for the bicentenary celebrations in 1988. Television images of that arrest made international headlines both in the United Kingdom, Australia and beyond. Moffatt was an original member of The Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operative which was formed in 1987 by a group of ten Sydney-based artists, including Bronwyn Bancroft, Euphemia Bostock, Brenda Croft, Fiona Foley, Fernanda Martins, Raymond Meeks, Avril Quail, Michael Riley and Jeffrey Samuels. By the early 1990s she back in Sydney, living and working there for a considerable number of years before relocating to Chelsea, New York.

Her first feature film, BeDevil, was shown at the Cannes Film Festival in 1993 and she has also made documentary films, written essays and directed music videos. Since her first exhibition in 1989, Moffatt has shown her photographically based art in numerous exhibitions in Australia and abroad. Her work is held in various international private and public collections that include Museum of Modern Art (NYC), Tate Modern (London), Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), Museum of Contemporary Photography (Tokyo), National Gallery of Australia, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney) and the Parliament House Collection (Canberra). Undoubtedly one of Australia's most high-profile individual artists, Moffatt is continuously in demand as a public speaker in reference to her own unique style of photographic imagery, but she seldom holds private or public interviews, preferring to leave her captive audience intrigued as to the genesis of her work.

In December, 2003 a crowd of more than 1000 people gathered to witness one of the most exciting events in visual arts being displayed at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, it was the opening of 'Retrospective' which detailed 30 years spanning her career.  Tracey divides her time between New York City and Noosa Heads on Queensland's Sunshine Coast where she continues to produce her own unique brand of photographic artistry for collectors and consumers of art.

In 2017, she represented Australia at the 57th Venice Biennale.

Warwick Thornton b. 1970 (14 works by fr. 1996, 2 works taught in 10 units)

Warwick Thornton is from the Katej people of Central Australia and grew up in Alice Springs. He began his career as a cinematographer in 1988 where he trained at the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association in Alice Springs. In 1994 Warwick moved to Sydney where he undertook a Bachelor of Arts specialising in Cinematography at the Australian Film Television and Radio School.

Other Works:

2014 Words with Gods, (segment True Gods) first released at the 2014 Venice Film Festival.

2017 documentary We Don't Need a Map opened the 2017 Sydney Film Festival 7 June 2017

Leah Purcell b. 1970 (41 works by fr. 1997, 4 works taught in 9 units)

Leah Purcell is an award-winning actor, singer and writer. She was born to a black mother and a white father who did not publicly acknowledge her as his daughter. In Year 10 at Murgon High School she gained the role of Gloria, the secretary in Bye Bye Birdie. Performing saved her from the consequences of heavy drinking that started when she was seven. Her professional acting career began in 1992 and she came to prominence in 1993 with a role in Jimmy Chi's Bran Nue Dae. Purcell subsequently appeared in film and television roles including a part in Lantana, the adaptation of Andrew Bovell's play, Speaking in Tongues. She also appeared in Nick Cave's The Proposition. and the award-winning film Jindabyne (2006). Purcell received a Matilda Award for theatre in 1994 for her performance in 'Low'.

In 1997, Purcell starred in her own highly acclaimed, one-woman play, Box the Pony. She performed in successful seasons around Australia and in London, Edinburgh and Broadway. Purcell won a number of awards both for the script and for her acting, including the Premier's Literary Award in New South Wales and Queensland. The script is on high-school syllabuses in four states and an audition monologue at NIDA. In 2004, Purcell was invited to the United States for the three-month Eisenhower Fellowship. She was the first indigenous person to be offered this opportunity. In 2005 Purcell played Condoleezza Rice in David Hare's play, 'Stuff Happens' and in 2006 Eve Ensler's acclaimed one-woman show about body image, 'The Good Body'. In 2007 Purcell was nominated in the Best Actress in a Lead Role category in the Sydney Theatre Awards for her performance in the play, 'The Story of the Miracles at Cookie's Table'.

In 2016, Purcell wrote an adaptation of The Drover's Wifewhich won 11 awards, and has since been published as a novel, and adapted into film. Her children's television series Little J and Big Cuz won Most Outstanding Children's Program at the 2019 Logie Awards.


Wayne Blair (27 works by fr. 2002)

Dancer, writer, comedian, film and theatre director and actor, Wayne Blair graduated from university in 1997. Since graduating, Blair has worked with several theatres (including Bangarra Dance Theatre), film and television productions. Blair portrayed Othello for the Bell Shakespeare Company. He directed short films: Black Talk (2002), and The Djarn Djarns (2005). Blair starred in Shifting Sands - Grace (1998) and Mullet (2001). In 2008, Blair was appointed the Artistic Associate of Belvoir St Theatre.

In 2012, Blair was nominated for an AACTA Award, Best Direction, for The Sapphires.

Ivan Sen b. 1972 (14 works by fr. 1998, 2 works taught in 13 units)

Screenwriter, director, cinematographer.

An Indigenous Australian filmmaker who grew up in the New South Wales country towns of Tamworth and Inverell, Ivan Sen is a descendant of the Gamilaroi and Bigambal language groups of northwest New South Wales and southern Queensland. He also is of Hungarian, German and Croatian descent. In the early 1990s he studied photography at the Queensland College of Art and worked as a camera operator and sound recordist. He also graduated from the Australian Film, Television and Radio School in 1997 with a BA in directing.

Throughout the late 1990s Sen worked on numerous short films, before making his feature film debut Beneath Clouds in 2002. For this project he drew on his own background as the child of an Aboriginal mother and an absent white father. Both written and directed by Sen, Beneath Clouds drew much critical acclaim, and was subsequently nominated for numerous national and international awards. Among these were wins for Best Directing (2002 AFI Awards and 2002 IF Awards).

Since 2002 Sen has worked predominantly on documentaries. In 2005 his film Yellow Fella was chosen to screen at the Official Selection of the Cannes Film Festival, the first Indigenous Australian documentary to do so.

Jimmy Little (a.k.a. James Oswald Little) b. 1937 d. 2 Apr 2012 (1 works by fr. 1989, 1 works taught in 12 units)

Jimmy Little was born at Cummeragunja Mission. In 1950, Little decided to concentrate on his music career and his first album was released in 1956. He has received numerous awards and accolades during his music career. In 1989, the National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) awarded him Aboriginal of the Year, for his lifelong contribution to Indigenous Australian music, entertainment and the community. A decade later he was inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame. He has received two honorary Doctorates in Music from the Queensland University of Technology and the University of Sydney.

Little has also acted, starring in the movies Shadow of the Boomerang (1960), Night Cries (1990), Until the End of the World (1991), and Somewhere in the Darkness (1998).

Jimmy Little was the recipient of the 2008 National Health and Medical Research Council Advocacy 'Thank You' Day Award. In 2010, Little was awarded the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA), Ted Albert Award for Outstanding Services to Australian Music.

He was also recognised at the Tamworth Country Music Festival in 2011, where he was honoured with a Golden Guitar - the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dick Roughsey (a.k.a. Goobalathaldin Roughsey) b. 1924 d. 20 Oct 1985 (25 works by fr. 1965)

Dick Roughsey was born near Mornington Island in the Gulf of Carpentaria in 1924. His name is translated from his tribal name Goobalathaldin, meaning 'water standing on end' or 'Rough sea'. He received a traditional upbringing in the bush until the age of eight, when he was educated at a Presyterian mission school. After completing primary school he returned to tribal life. At the age of sixteen he went to the Australian mainland, to work as a stockman on cattle stations in North Queensland and as a deckhand on ships near Cairns.

He began to paint using traditional methods with bark. In 1962 he met former Ansett pilot, Percy Trezise, who became his mentor and encouraged him to also use Western methods of painting in oils. Roughsey held successful exhibitions of his work in many Australian cities. He and Trezise collaborated for many years, producing picture books which retold traditional stories. These were among the first to introduce Aboriginal culture to children. Roughsey also illustrated The Turkey and the Emu (1978), a traditional tale retold by his wife, Elsie Roughsey

Roughsey lived with his wife and their six children on Mornington Island, but usually spent half of each year on the North Queensland mainland. With Percy Trezise he discovered and studied the art in Aboriginal cave galleries in the Laura region of Cape York. One of these was the Quinkin gallery, which inspired the award-winning books The Quinkins and Turramulli the Giant Quinkin.

He was the first chairman of the Aboriginal Arts Board of the Australia Council in 1973.

Rachel Perkins b. 1970 (21 works by fr. 1993, 4 works taught in 9 units)

As the daughter of Charles Perkins, Rachel Perkins grew up in a politically active family. She regularly took part in demonstrations and dicussions on Aboriginal affairs. Perkins began her media career in Alice Springs working for the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA). In 1991 she moved to Sydney to work for SBS Television where she produced a number of documentaries including the award-winning Blood Brothers.

In 1995, Perkins was awarded the first Indigenous scholarship to study producing at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS). She has subsequently worked for the Australian Film Commission and as a film director.

In 2011, Perkins was awarded the Australian International Documentary Conference Stanley Hawes Award in recognition of her contribution to documentary filmmaking in Australia.

Richard Frankland (a.k.a. Richard J. Frankland) b. 1963 (31 works by fr. 1994, 4 works taught in 9 units)

Richard Frankland is one of Australia's most experienced Indigenous singer/songwriters and filmmakers. Born on the coast in South-West Victoria, Richard worked as a soldier, fisherman, and also as a Field Officer during the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. His work on the Royal Commission led to his appearance as a presenter in the award winning Australian documentary, Who Killed Malcolm Smith.

Frankland has written, directed, and produced a wide range of video, documentary, and film projects including the award winning No Way to Forget, After Mabo, Harry's War and The Convincing Ground documentary. Richard is also a musician whose music features on soundtracks to many of his films and some of his songs have been recorded by acclaimed Indigenous singer/songwriter Archie Roach.

He was also selected as part of a group in 2007 to participate in a project by the Australian Film Commission (AFC) that was designed to nurture and assist the talents of upcoming Indigenous filmmakers. The project was designed to give the chosen individuals the opportunity to develop their first feature film with the assistance of respected directors and producers such as Phillip Noyce, Zachary Skiar and Ray Lawrence.

David Gulpilil (a.k.a. Gulpilil) b. 1953 (18 works by fr. 1979)

David Gulpilil AM grew up on an Aboriginal reserve in the Northern Territory and went to a mission school in Maningrida in North East Arnhem Land. He went to work as a stockman like most boys of his generation, however he showed exceptional talents as a dancer, having been instructed in ceremonial dance by his uncle.

In 1969, when he was only 14, he was chosen by English director Nicholas Roeg to play the lead in Walkabout, a film which soon became a classic. This was the beginning of a distinguished acting career, and Gulpilil starred in films such as Storm Boy, The Last Wave, Crocodile Dundee, Rabbit Proof Fence and The Tracker. Gulpilil also led a traditional dance troop for ten years and staged performances at venues around the country, including the Sydney Opera House, and travelled in Europe performing Aboriginal dances. He has also released two traditional song albums and has written a book containing traditional stories.

Gulpilil has lived in Raningining and been an elder of the Yolgnu clan in Arnhem Land. He has won the prestigious Australia Day Eisteddfod in Darwin four times and an AFI Best Actor award in 2002.


Gulpilil played a singing role in the sole recording of Margaret Sutherland's 1964 one-act chamber opera The Young Kabbarli.

Romaine Moreton b. 1969 (109 works by fr. 1995)

A writer, film maker and performance poet, Romaine Moreton is from the Goernpil people of Stradbroke Island and the Bundjulung people of northern New South Wales. Romaine came from a farming and seasonal working family that later settled in the country town of Bodalla, New South Wales.

It was while she was growing up in the country that Romaine developed a love of storytelling. Picking beans in a field, she'd make up stories about her surroundings. Throughout high school, her teachers encouraged her to become a writer, a suggestion she rejected at first and warmed to later. Romaine's work is a direct response to the environment and she uses language to explore identity and explode myths.

In August, 2002 Moreton toured Australia with an African American capella band, Sweet Honey in the Rock, performing her signature spoken words before a sell-out crowd at the Sydney Opera House. Romaine has written for film and two of her short films, including 'Cherish', were shown at the Cannes Film Festival 1999. Moreton was selected as part of a group in 2007 to participate in a project by the Australian Film Commission (AFC) designed to nurture and assist the talents of upcoming Indigenous filmakers. The project was designed to give the chosen individuals the opportunity to develop their first feature film with the assistance of respected directors and producers such as Phillip Noyce, Zachary Skiar and Ray Lawrence.

Tara June Winch b. 1983 (55 works by fr. 2003, 1 works taught in 33 units)

Tara June Winch was born in Wollongong in 1983. She is of Wiradjuri, Afghan, and English heritage. At 17, Winch left home to travel across Australia; she continued on to India before spending six months at a Buddhist centre in Scotland. Back in Australia three years later, she settled in Brisbane.

She studied for a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Wollongong. The manuscript for her first book won the David Unaipon Award in 2004, and was published the following year by UQP. In 2007 the Literature Board of the Australia Council funded Winch to undertake a two month residency during 2008 at Ledig House Writers' Colony, Omi, New York. She was also chosen for the 2008-2009 Rolex Mentor and Protege Arts Initiative in which she was partnered with Nigerian writer Wole Soyinka. Winch was an ambassador for the Australia Council's Indigenous Literacy Project and is an advocate for human rights. She is also passionate about women's and children's rights to education and advocates through OneThousandOrg.

Winch's first work -- Swallow the Air (2003), a collection of interconnected short stories -- has been on the HSC curriculum for Standard and Advanced English since 2009. Her writing has appeared in Best Australian Stories, Griffith Review, the Bulletin, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Age and Manoa. She has also written for VOGUE, McSweeneys, VICE, and meagre sums.

In 2016, after a long period of publishing in magazines and periodicals, Winch published her second collection, After the Carnage (originally titled A Year of Impossible Margins).

Her 2020 novel, The Yield, won the Miles Franklin Award.

Winch is now based in France.

Stephen Hagan b. 1959 (32 works by fr. 2005)

Author and activist Stephen Hagan is a descendant of the Kullilli people of south-west Queensland. His early years were spent living in a fringe camp on the outskirts of Cunnamulla but at the age of seven the family moved to the town.

Hagan was educated at the Marist Brothers College in Ashgrove, Brisbane, and began training as a teacher in 1979. Before completion, he moved to the public service to work for the Department of Foreign Affairs. During his time with the Department he was posted to Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Hagan worked with Charles Perkins on issues around social justice for Aboriginal people. He also spent some time working among the destitute in Calcutta with Mother Theresa. Hagan has worked in various public service roles as well as venturing into cultural tourism in the private sector before becoming an academic and in 2006 was awarded the NAIDOC Person of the Year.

Hagan had lectured at the University of Southern Queensland in Toowoomba, Queelnsland, and also became the editor of the National Indigenous Times newspaper, and wrote a regular column on Indigenous Australian issues in the Koori Mail ,the fortnightly national Indigenous newspaper, and also writes regular opinion pieces for online and print publications. Recently, Hagan with his wife Rhonda are editors for the First Nations Telegraph a free online daily news website.

Deborah Mailman (a.k.a. Deb Mailman) b. 1972 (11 works by fr. 1995, 1 works taught in 14 units)

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.

Sam Watson (a.k.a. Samuel Watson) b. 1952 d. 27 Nov 2019 (17 works by fr. 1990)

Sam Watson was from the Birri-Gubba (from his grandfather) and Munaldjali (from his grandmother) nations. He was a well-known activist on behalf of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. He studied law and arts at The University of Queensland in the early 1970s where he became increasingly engaged in Aboriginal politics. His political activism began as a student in the 1960s over the White Australia Policy. He went on to play support roles in the 1967 Referendum campaign, the Gurindji land rights struggle and other campaigns for equality and justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. 

As these were tumultuous times Watson decided to defer his studies in order to devote more time to Aboriginal community projects at a state, national and international level. He pioneered programs in law, medicine and housing focusing on the community needs and was notably co-founder of the Brisbane chapter of Black Panther Party of Australia with Denis Walker. He was a Socialist Alliance candidate for the Queensland Government Senate in 2001 and 2004.

As well as being a poet, activist, lecturer, writer and storyteller Watson was a film producer. His first film Black Man Down (1995) dealt with Aboriginal deaths in custody. It was featured in the Sand to Celluloid collection of short films.

In February 2007, Watson made his playwriting debut with 'The Mack', which was written in association with the Brisbane-based Kooemba Jdarra theatre group and first performed at the Judith Wright Centre, Brisbane. He worked again with Kooemba Jdarra in 2007 on 'The Oodgeroo Project', a play about the life and times of Aboriginal writer Oodgeroo Noonuccul, also known as Kath Walker. It was staged in 2009.

Watson identified Oodgeroo Noonuccal, Neville Bonner, Gary Foley, Germaine Greer, Pastor Donald Brady, and Buddha as being influential on his political outlook.

Watson was the father of renowned poet Samuel Wagan Watson and novelist Nicole Watson.

Philip McLaren b. 1943 (13 works by fr. 1993, 3 works taught in 10 units)

Philip McLaren was born in Redfern, although his family comes from the Warrumbungle Mountain area, New South Wales and he is a descendant of the Kamilaroi people.

McLaren has worked as a television producer, a director, designer, illustrator, architect, sculptor, lifeguard and copywriter. He has been a creative director in television, advertising and film production companies both in Australia and overseas.

His filmography includes, as art director, The Mavis Bramston Show (1964), The Mike Walsh Show (1973), Grand Old Country (known in the USA as The Ronnie Prophet Show) (1975), and It's a Knockout (1985) and, as production designer, The Beachcombers (1972), Country Joy (1979), and the 1983 film Hostage.

After this varied career, McLaren focused on writing and was among the first Aboriginal writers to write a thriller. His first novel, Sweet Water -- Stolen Land, won the David Unaipon Award in 1992. He subsequently published a number of other novels, including crime thrillers Scream Black Murder, Lightning Mine, and Murder in Utopia: the latter won the 2010 Prix Litteraire des Recits de l'ailleurs, a French award for international literature.

McLaren holds a Doctor of Creative Arts and has worked as a lecturer at Southern Cross University.

Boori Pryor (a.k.a. Boori Monty Pryor; Monty Pryor) b. 1950 (15 works by fr. 1998, 5 works taught in 21 units)

Boori Pryor is a descendant of the Kungganji and Birri-Gubba people of North Queensland. Boori has worked in the film and television industry and also theatre-in-education. He is best-known as a storyteller, travelling widely to introduce his culture to young Australians.

In collaboration with Meme McDonald, he has published a series of books based on his life and the stories of his family. Their first collaboration, Maybe Tomorrow (1998), received a Special Commendation from the Human Rights Awards and their second, My Girragundji (1998), won a Children's Book Council of Australia Award. They have since published several more books, most notably The Binna Binna Man (1999), which won several awards, including the Ethnic Affairs Commission Award in 2000.

In 2012-2013, Pryor was the joint inaugural Australian Children's Laureate. His work has been taught in universities across Australia, and has won multiple awards, including the Prime Minister's Literary Award, the Victorian Premier's Literary award, and the New South Wales Premier's Literary Award (which he won in three categories, for the same novel, in 2000).

Boori's father was Monty Prior.

Bob Randall (a.k.a. Bobby Randall; Robert James Randall; Tjilpi) b. 1934 d. 13 May 2015 (24 works by fr. 1973, 1 works taught in 1 units)

Singer, songwriter, teacher and activist, Bob Randall was born at Middleton Pond on Tempe Station in the Central Desert region of the Northern Territory. He is a traditional owner of the Uluru lands and a former Indigenous Person of the Year. His mother, Tanguawa, worked as a housemaid at Angus Downs cattle station for Randall's father, station owner Bill Liddle. Randall and his mother lived away from the main house with their extended family and he had little contact with his Scotsman father. He was taken away from his mother at the age of seven in Arnhem Land - another member of the stolen generation. He spent time in an Alice Springs institution for children, and at the Croker Island Reservation in Arnhem Land thousands of kilometres from home and family, and he was given a new identity and birth date. Randall had spent most of his youth in government institutions until he turned twenty, when he with his wife and child moved to Darwin, and later to Adelaide, South Australia. It was in Adelaide, that Randall established his career as an Aboriginal Cultural educator, and began looking for his family and his traditional country.

In 1970, Randall helped establish the Adelaide Community College for Aboriginal people and lectured at the college on Aboriginal cultures. He is well known for writing what some consider the anthem of the stolen generation, 'My Brown Skinned Baby'. Randall had appeared in the documentary films by John Pilger and had roles in the movies Picnic at Hanging Rockand The Last Wave. In 2005, with film maker Melanie Hogan, Randall had produced documentary Kanyini about his life story.

Randall's story was recorded by the National Library of Australia for the Bringing Them Home oral history project edited by Doreen Mellor and Anna Haebich (2002).

Randall had served as the Director of the Northern Australia Legal Aid Service and established Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander centres at the Australian National University, University of Canberra and University of Wollongong. (Source: Adapted from 'Songs Tell the Story of an Amazing Life', National Library of Australia, Gateways 46, August 2000)

Beryl Philp-Carmichael (a.k.a. Yungha-Dhu Philp-Carmichael; Beryl Philp; Aunty Beryl Carmichael; Beryl Carmichael) b. 1935 (53 works by fr. 1986)

Beryl Carmichael (whose traditional name is Yungha-Dhu) was born and grew up at the Old Menindee Mission, New South Wales. She attended school there until the age of twelve. Most of her life was spent on stations in the top end of New South Wales until 1966, when she and her family moved to Menindee township. She became active in Aboriginal community affairs and education, and has held a number of public positions. These include founding member of the Western Aboriginal Legal Service and the Alma Bugdlie Pre-School in Broken Hill. She was actively involved in the State Aboriginal Education Consultative Group, and was also an Aboriginal language Support Officer advising the New South Wales Board of Studies.

In 2004 she was awarded the New South Wales Department of Education and Training's Meritorious Service to Public Education Award. She has also been awarded a Centenary of Federation Medal for devotion to cultural awareness and contribution to Australian society. A documentary about her life, called Aboriginal Culture in the Murray-Darling Basin : Aunty Beryl's story, was made in 1996.

Stephen Page b. 1965 (40 works by fr. 1992)

'Stephen Page is a descendant of the Nunukul, Munaldjali and Yugambeh people of south-east Queensland, and one of a trinity of talented brothers David and Russell. With an international reputation as a leading artistic director and choreographer, he is a former dancer for the Sydney Dance Company, and has been the Artistic Director of Bangarra Dance Theatre since 1991. Bangarra's unique productions merge traditional and contemporary dance, oral traditions and social history, and have been acclaimed on the national and international touring circuits. His achievements include the Sidney Myer Individual Award as Artistic Director of the Adelaide Bank Festival of the Arts in 2004; the Matilda Award for Contribution to the Arts in Queensland in 2002; and two Helpmann Awards: Best Choreography for "Corroboree" in 2001, and Best New Australian Work and Best Dance Work for "Skin" in 2000.'

Source: (Sighted 28/09/2007).

Jimmy Chi (a.k.a. James Ronald Chi) b. 1948 d. 26 Jun 2017 (12 works by fr. 1984, 2 works taught in 13 units)

Born in Broome in 1948 to a Bardi Aboriginal mother with Scottish heritage and a Broome born father whose parents were Chinese and Japanese, Jimmy Chi embodies his hometown's cultural diversity. Although he left Broome to undertake an engineering degree in Perth, the cultural dislocation caused him to abandon his studies to return home. Broome's blend of cultural and creative influences was the right environment for Chi. In this respect they played a significant role in nurturing a rich artistic society where music was the dominant expression. Indeed, by the late 1970s the town had developed a distinctive style which became known as the "Broome Sound"). In 1981 Chi and several other musicians from Broome formed the band Kuckles in Adelaide while they studied at the Centre for Aboriginal Studies in Music (CASM). After recording an audition tape titled Milliya Rumarra (1982), the band won a trip to Germany to perform at the Third Annual International Cologne Song Festival in 1982.

The band returned to Broome and with Chi (as author) later became the inspirational heart and creative drive behind the acclaimed stage musical Bran Nue Dae. A hit at the 1990 Festival of Perth, the musical eventually toured Australia winning numerous awards (including the prestigious Sidney Myer Performing Arts Award). Bran Nue Dae, which celebrates family, forgiveness and reconciliation, has not only become one of Australia's most successful musicals but also brought acclaim for many Aboriginal artists including Ernie Dingo, Josie Ningali Lawford and Leah Purcell, as well as helping to play an instrumental role in the formation of the Black Swan Theatre. Its success led Chi to creating a second musical Corrugation Road, which similarly toured Australia and broke box office records. With Corrugation Road Chi has sought to break down the ignorance surrounding mental health, abuse, sexuality and religion through the use of humour and optimism.

Jimmy Chi's dedication to Australian artistic endeavour and justice for Indigenous people has seen him recognised a number of prestigious awards. He has been honoured by the State of Western Australia as a Living Treasure and the Australian federal Government awarded him the Centenary Medal for his contribution to Australian society. Chi, who is the patron of SANE Australia, was also presented with the Red Ochre Award at a ceremony in Broome in 1997.

Kev Carmody (a.k.a. Kevin Carmody) b. 1946 (10 works by fr. 1987)

Songwriter and composer Kev Carmody, of Aboriginal and Irish descent, grew up on a cattle station near Goranba, Queensland. At the age of ten he was removed from his parents and sent to a Christian school. He later returned to rural Queensland where he worked as a labourer for 17 years.

At the age of 33 Carmody began studying at university, later progressing to work on a PhD on the history of the Darling Downs between 1830 and 1860. His music career began during this phase of his life and he subsequently became a travelling singer/songwriter touring Australia and the world. Carmody's songs have been covered by various artists including Paul Kelly and his album Cannot Buy My Soul was shortlisted in the 2007 Deadly Awards, Album Release of the Year.(Source: Carmody's website)

Gary Foley b. 1950 (19 works by fr. 1972)

Dr Gary Foley began writing for Tracker in April 2011. His column The Contrarian appears regularly. However, Foley is better known as an activist, academic, writer and actor and his role in establishing the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra in 1972, and established an Aboriginal Legal Service in Redfern in the 1970s. Also Foley co-wrote and acted in the first Indigenous Australian stage production, Basically Black.

Gerry Bostock (a.k.a. Gerald L Bostock; Gerald Bostock) b. 1942 d. 14 May 2014 (31 works by fr. 1976)

Bostock's formal education only went to year six as his headmaster thought he would do only menial labour and would not need any further education for that. For a while Bostock found employment as a seasonal worker, but he eventually joined the Australian Army in 1961 which took him overseas to Malaya and Borneo. After receiving most of his education from the Army during his service up until 1970, Gerry Bostock began to re-educate himself upon his return to Australia.

In 1972, Gerry Bostock participated in the political struggle surrounding the Aboriginal Embassy in Canberra. During this time he was an active participant in street theatre, helping to establish the Black Theatre in Sydney. Bostock was also among the second Aboriginal delegation to visit the People's Republic of China. In 1973, Bostock travelled throughout Australia discussing Aboriginal affairs, self determination and poetry with Aboriginal community members in the Northern Territory, NSW, South Australia, Queensland and Victoria. Gerry Bostock travelled to New Zealand in 1974 to have discussions and exchange different ideas about self determination programs.

When the Embassy collapsed Bostock felt compelled to write the poem 'Black Children' which was later published in Black Man Coming (1980). William H. Wilde, Joy Hooton and Barry Andrews in The Oxford Companion to Australian Literature, 2nd ed.(1994) note that this poem became a catchcry of the Indigenous political movement. Bostock found it hard to get his poetry published so when he wrote his play Here Comes the Nigger in 1974, he included a poet because he felt it was the only way his poetry could be shared with the public. Within the play, Bostock based the military character on his own experiences in the Australian Army.

Joining Film Australia in 1977, Bostock began working in film production, research and as an assistant on documentary films. Gerry Bostock and his brother Lester Bostock were the co-founders of Kuri Productions in 1985. His experience as a playwright gave him the opportunity to lead a practical workshop in the Our Words - Our Ways : National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Writers Workshop. In 1994 and 1995, Bostock was on the Sydney Writers' Festival Committee and was a panellist for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Theatre : On the Edge during the 1995 festival.

Tony Briggs (7 works by fr. 2004, 1 works taught in 1 units)

Tony Briggs is a playwright and actor who has appeared on stage in many productions such as Stolen and Yanagai! Yanagai!, Corrugation Road' and 'Jandamarra' as well as on film in Australian Rules and Joey.

Briggs is the son of Laurel Robinson, a member of the singing group 'The Sapphires' on whom Briggs based his stage show The Sapphires.

Beck Cole (19 works by fr. 2002, 1 works taught in 1 units) Beck Cole, scriptwriter and filmaker is from the Yawuru/Djarbera-Djabera. She was selected as part of a group in 2007 to participate in a project by the Australian Film Commission (AFC) that was designed to nurture and assist the talents of upcoming Indigenous filmmakers. The project was designed to give the chosen individuals the opportunity to develop their first feature film with the assistance of respected directors and producers such as Phillip Noyce, Zachary Skiar and Ray Lawrence.
Mitch Torres (a.k.a. Michelle Torres) (18 works by fr. 1998)

Mitch Torres began an extensive career in the performing arts in 1986 as a theatre and film actor, researcher, writer, film director, film producer, radio broadcaster, television presenter and locations manager. Mitch has also been a children's author and a media consultant. Mitch Torres has been active in Film and TV as a Director/Writer working on a number of important documentaries detailing Indigenous histories and people.

Bob Maza (a.k.a. Robert Lewis Maza) b. 25 Nov 1939 d. 14 May 2000 (19 works by fr. 1972, 1 works taught in 1 units)

Bob Maza was born on Palm Island, a Murri Reserve in Queensland. His father was from Murray Island in the Torres Strait and his mother from the coastal Yidinjdji people. He completed his schooling in Cairns, spent some years as a manual labourer and then worked as a store clerk in Darwin. Maza began acting in Melbourne in 1969 with little formal training. He was a founding member of the National Black Theatre in Sydney in 1972. In 1970 Maza was a delegate to the 25th United Nations Assembly in New York to highlight the Third World status of Indigenous Australians. In that year he was also involved in the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra, where he often used theatre as a means of showcasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues. In 1981 he was an official delegate to the World Indigenous Festival held in Canada.

Maza directed his first play, the premiere of Richard J. Merritt's The Cakeman, at the National Black Theatre in 1975. After that he worked as an actor, director, playwright and a consultant in theatre, radio, film and television. Maza's pioneering role in the ABC program Bellbird, which saw him playing a barrister, was vital in changing the way Indigenous people were portrayed in the media. His eminent acting career included countless roles on television, in theatre and feature films such as The Fringe Dwellers, The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith and Reckless Kelly. In 1993, in recognition of his work in the Arts and for his people, Maza was awarded an Order of Australia (AM). During his years as an AFC commissioner (1995-98) he made a significant contribution not only to the development of Indigenous filmmakers in Australia but to the Australian filmmaking community generally. Maza is the father of Lisa Maza and actor and director, Rachel Maza Long (qq.v).

Stan Grant b. 1963 (15 works by fr. 2002)

Stan Grant's father was a Wiradjuri man and his mother was a Kamilaroi woman. Grant's childhood was spent travelling from place to place while his father searched for work. When his family moved to Canberra they stayed there and he was able to stay in school. While a young man, Grant spoke with Marcia Langton who helped him to realise that he could dream, and that his dreams could become real.

With Langton's encouragement, Grant attended the University of New South Wales where he studied politics and sociology. After university, he was a cadet at the Macquarie Radio network. As a well-known journalist, Grant travelled widely, reporting from the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and Asia. From 1987 to 2001, he worked for the ABC, SBS, and the Seven Network. He has served as political correspondent with the ABC, and has written for various newspapers and been featured widely on radio.From 2001 to 2012, he worked for CNN as an anchor in Hong Kong and then a correspondent in Beijing.

In 2015, Grant published Talking to My Country; in the same year, his coverage of Indigenous affairs was recognised with a Walkley Award.

Michelle Blanchard (35 works by fr. 1990) Michelle Blanchard is a descendant of the people of North Stradbroke Island (Minjeeribah) in Queensland. She has served as the Deputy Director of the Koori Centre at the University of Sydney and taught within the broader area of Aboriginal Studies. Blanchard holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts (Creative Writing) and is well known as in the areas of radio, stage, film, and print. Blanchard's PhD research, undertaken with the University of Technology Sydney, explores the relationships between Western theatre practice and the role of Indigenous performance. Blanchard participates in many internal and external community committees, both in Australia and abroad.
Glenys Ward (a.k.a. Glenyse Spratt) b. 1949 (13 works by fr. 1987, 1 works taught in 1 units)

Glenyse Ward was removed from her parents at the age of one by the Native Welfare Department and sent to St. John of Gods orphanage in Rivervale where she stayed a short time. She was later sent 80 miles south with two Catholic priests Father Leuman and Brother Lennard to St. Francis Xavier Native Mission in Wandering. Ward stayed there and like others was unable to attend school in Perth due to her poor grades.

After her schooling she was made to work at the mission doing domestic chores and at the age of 15 she was sent to work for an upper class white family. A year later, Ward left and went to Busselton where she was employed as a domestic in the Busselton Hospital kitchen.

Galarrwuy Yunupingu (a.k.a. Galarrwuy Yunpingu; James Galarrwuy Yunupingu) b. 1948 (14 works by fr. 1972)

In his early years, Galarrwuy Yunupingu attended Mission School at Yirrkala and for a two-year period he moved to Brisbane to study at the Methodist Bible College, before returning to Gove in 1967. Yunupingu entered the struggle for land rights in the early 1960s with his father Mungurrawuy, who as Gumatj clan leader, fought and lost the battle to stop a bauxite mine operating on his land. Yunupingu was his father's interpreter throughout the historic Gove land rights case in 1971.

After his father's death in 1979, Yunupingu, a well-respected member of the wider community, became a very prominent leader and strong voice on behalf of Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory and Australia. He was Chairman of the Northern Land Council from 1977-2004 and in 2001 was elected as co-chair of the Aboriginal Development Consultative Forum in Darwin.

His honours include Australian of the Year (1978), the Order of Australia (1985), and an honorary Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) from the University of Melbourne.

Josie Ningali Lawford (a.k.a. Ningali Lawford; Ningali Lawford-Wolfe; Josie Lawford; Ningali Lawford-Wolf) b. 1967 d. 11 Aug 2019 (6 works by fr. 1994)

Ningali Lawford was born at Wangkatjungka, near Fitzroy Crossing in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. She spent her early years on a cattle station where her father worked, and completed her secondary education in Perth. She was the recipient of an American Field Service scholarship and spent twelve months in Alaska. Lawford-Wolf trained as a dancer at the Aboriginal Islander Dance Theatre, and performed with Bangarra Dance Theatre. In her work as an actress, singer and dancer she has appeared in various theatre, film and television productions. She was touring the UK with the Sydney Theatre Company and performing in The Secret River, which she was involved in developing, when she passed away in Edinburgh. 

Lawford-Wolf played the narrator in Neil Armfield's adaptation of The Secret River in 2016 and national tour, as well as performing in the production when it was staged outdoors at the Anstey Hill Quarry in Tea Tree Gully as part of the 2017 Adelaide Festival where Limelight reviewer Clive Paget described her as “an authoritative, heartbreaking Dhirrumbin”. (Limelight Magazine)

She is well known for her films Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002), Bran Nue Dae (2009) and Last Cab to Darwin (2015) and television shows including The Circuit (2007-2010) and Mystery Road (2018). (Limelight Magazine)

Lorraine McGee-Sippel (a.k.a. Lorraine Sippel) b. 1943 (27 works by fr. 1996)

McGee-Sippel poet and best-selling author is of Aboriginal Wemba Wemba, Aboriginal Yorta Yorta and Anglo Celtic background . She was separated from her Aboriginal mother shortly after birth and was adopted at six weeks of age by a non-Indigenous family. Her writing is in response to the pain she felt from not knowing her family and true cultural identity. She met her biological mother and family for the first time in 1981.

A registered nurse and midwife McGee-Sippel was caring for relinquishing mothers and those with sick, premature and stillborn babies at St Margaret's Women's Hospital, Darlinghurst, Sydney, while searching for her own mother. Following the untimely death of a much loved younger sister, in 1991, and a series of close family deaths, her words began pouring out, in the form of poetry.

Needing a career change and wanting to learn more about her cultural roots, Lorraine decided to do an Associate Diploma in Adult Education (Koori Education) 1992/3 at the University of Technology (UTS), Sydney. In 1994, she began a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, majoring in Aboriginal Studies and Writing, but the need to write her own story was strong, so in 1995 she left the University of Technology and began writing her autobiography, as well as becoming involved with Aboriginal Reconciliation, human rights and social justice issues.

McGree-Sippel was co-founder of Lane Cove Residents for Reconciliation, She has read her work at the State Library of New South Wales, the New South Wales Writers' Centre, Reconciliation meetings and various community gatherings, as well as on Koori Radio, (93.7 FM), and AWAYE (Radio National). In 2001, her manuscript/autobiography, 'The Best Part' was shorlisted for The Varuna Awards For Manuscript Development.

McGee-Sippel'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).

Steven McGregor (17 works by fr. 1996)

Steve McGregor is an Indigenous writer and Director from the Northern Territory. He was a graduate from the Australian Film Television and Radio School.

Adrian Wills (a.k.a. Adrian Russell Wills) (18 works by fr. 2007) In 2003 Adrian Wills graduated from the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS), and then went into production of the SBS current affairs-based program Living Black. He also worked as a feelance writer and director. Source: (Sighted 12/05/09)
Tom E. Lewis (a.k.a. Barlang Lewis) d. 11 May 2018 (9 works by fr. 1996) Tom Lewis is the son of an Aboriginal mother and a Welsh father. He grew up in the Roper River community. Lewis has acted in films such as The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, A Town Like Alice, The Proposition, Crocodile Dreaming, Double Trouble, William, and September. Tom Lewis' documentary Yellow Fella was featured in the 2005 Cannes Film Festival. Tom has been awarded the Bob Maza Fellowship. Tom Lewis is a Murrungun (Numbulwar) man who is a talented actor, musician, filmmaker and a teller of great stories.
Darlene Johnson b. 1970 (9 works by fr. 1996)

Darlene Johnson, a filmmaker from the Dunghutti people of the east coast of New South Wales graduated with a BA (Hons), specialising in Indigenous and post-colonial cinema from the University of Technology, Sydney.

In 2000 Johnson wrote and directed Stolen Generations, her first hour-long television documentary. The film was nominated for an International Emmy (2000) and for Best Documentary at the 2000 AFI awards. It screened at the 2000 Margaret Mead Film Festival and was a finalist in the Hollywood Black Film Festival. Stolen Generations won the journalist award for Best Documentary at Film De Femmes International Women's Film Festival in France and the Golden Gate Award in the History section of the 2001 San Francisco Film Festival.

Darlene Johnson has directed a documentary about the making of Phillip Noyce's feature, Rabbit Proof Fence and in 2017 wrote her first feature film, Obelia

In March 2019, she was awarded the inaugural Australian International Screen Forum scholarship; the scholarship included a three-month attachment on a film shooting in New York later in 2019.

Francis Jupurrula Kelly (a.k.a. Francis Kelly) (10 works by fr. 1998, 1 works taught in 4 units) Francis Jupurrurla Kelly was born at Mt Doreen Station, Northern Territory on Warlpiri land near Yuendumu at a place called Luurnpakurlangu. His parents came from two different Warlpiri tribes. He is a film-maker and a key figure in the development of Warlpiri Media Association, and contributor to the development of Indigenous media and work in film and television.His contribution to his community contains positions such as a nurse for Northern Territory Health; and he was once a local Council Supervisor until he was further appointed as Community Advisor to the Local Government Minister's Indigenous Commissioner of Lands and Housing. Francis had also become President for the Yuendumu Local Government Council.

For the past 30 years, his most outstanding contribution is in the development of Warlpiri Media Association at Yuendumu and Aboriginal media in the remote Northern Territory and across Australia. His media career began in the 1980s, as a strong advocate for Aboriginal control of media broadcast in remote Communities. As a key board member, Francis was instrumental in establishing the first Aboriginal TV station, Indigenous Community TV (iCTV) in Australia. This development became the cornerstone in the "implementation of the Broadcasting for Remote Aboriginal Communities Scheme" enabling local produced television to be broadcasted in language. This development, led to the establishment of National Indigenous Television (NITV) for which Francis was a founding board member. Still actively involved in the Northern Territory's film industry, Francis is also a member of the Australian Indigenous Communications Association and chair of the PAW Media (Pintubi Anmatjere Warlpiri Media and Communication).
Francis is recognised for his roles in films such as Bush Mechanics and Aboriginal Rules. He continues to make media in Yuendumu and has won many awards including:

  • Troy Albert Award for Best Cinematography Preston Memorial Award for Life Time Achievement for the Indigenous Remote Communications Association.
  • Bob Plasto Screen Award in 2012 for his achievements in the screen industry in Northern Territory.
(Sources: Coniston website:; Francis Jupurrurla Kelly on; Koori Mail, issue 536 2012:50)
Danielle Maclean (10 works by fr. 1998)

Danielle MacLean is a Luritja/Warumumgu woman. Maclean's interest in film began in the mid-1990s at Central Australia Aboriginal Media Association Productions, where she spent six years in a directing traineeship under the guidance of indigenous director Erica Glynn. Maclean was also involved with the Nganampa Anwernekenhe documentary series where television programmes were presented in Aboriginal languages.

Maclean was also screenwriter and director for My Colour Your Kind (1998) and worked on the Bonita Mabo documentary, For Who I Am (2002). She has also worked as a researcher for television.