Alf Taylor is a member of the Stolen Generations. He and his brother were removed from their family as infants and placed in the New Norcia Mission. Taylor only discovered his heritage when he left the mission at age sixteen and searched for his family.
As a young man, Taylor worked in the Perth and Geraldton areas as a seasonal farm worker, before joining the armed forces and living in several locations around Australia. Taylor and his wife had seven children, of whom only two survived. He began writing poetry when young, and started publishing it in the 1990s.
Bill Neidjie was born at Alawanydajawany along the East Alligator River. His father was Nadampala and his mother Lucy Wirlmaka from the Ulbuk clan of the Amurrak people. He spent most of his childhood in his father's country, Bunitj Clan land on the western side of that river. Here he learnt to hunt and manage the resources of his environment. As a boy Neidjie lived for five or six years at Cape Don with his mother and her family. Billy Manilungu, a prominent ceremonial leader and buffalo hunter, taught him much of the traditional Aboriginal law. Neidjie attended school at Oenpelli Mission for two years around 1927. When his father died in 1928 he followed his mother to Coopers Creek where they camped for about four years, living on bush tucker. Prior to World War II Neidjie had a variety of jobs for which he was paid in kind with tea, sugar, meat, flour and tobacco. He worked for eight years at timber-mill camps and a short time in Darwin. During the war Neidjie provided supplies for Colonel Bill Sanderson of the Royal Australian Air Force who kept the lighthouse open at Cape Don. He was in Darwin during the 1942 bombing and assisted indigenous people affected by it. It was at this time that he was also initiated in a Ubarr ceremony at Paw Paw Beach.
Both before and after the war, Neidjie worked for Leo Hickey on a lugger along the north coast for nearly 30 years. In 1979 he returned to take up permanent residence on his Bunitj Clan land and became a claimant in the Alligator Rivers Stage II land claim. He had a large input into Indjuwanydjuwa : a report on Bunitj clan sites in the Alligator Rivers region (1982). As a result of the claim the Bunitj people of the Gagudju language group gained title to their land. Niedjie was instrumental in the decision to lease the traditional lands to the Commonwealth of Australia so it could be managed as a resource for all Australians. He became a senior elder of Kakadu National Park, where his son, Johnathan Nadji (q.v.) trained as a park ranger. In 1989 he was awarded the Order of Australia for services to conservation. When he died in late May 2002, the Gagadju tongue died with him. The last speaker of the language of the Bunidj people, he died near Kakadu, the park named after his language.
Albert Namatjira was born at Ntaria on the Finke River in central Australia on land which was then part of the Hermannsburg Lutheran Mission. His parents, Namatjira and Ljukutja, were Western Aranda people. Originally, Namatjira was known only by the name Albert, but when he began exhibiting art work in the 1930s, he took his father's traditional name as his surname.
Namatjira married at the age of eighteen, and the family lived away from the Mission for several years while Namatjira worked as a camel driver and as a ringer on a cattle property. After moving back to the Mission in 1923 with his wife, Namatjira became involved with the Mission's craft workshops, creating pieces that were sold to visitors to raise money for the Mission. Namatjira began painting in the mid-1930s, after only a few weeks' instruction from a visiting artist who gave art lessons in exchange for Namatjira camel-driving services.
Namatjira exhibited his work in numerous solo exhibitions throughout the 1940s and developed critical reception; however, when he applied for a Northern Territory grazing lease in 1949 it was rejected. In 1951, he attempted to buy suburban land in Darwin on which to build a home but again prejudice and hostility thwarted his attempts.
In 1957, Namatjira and his wife were granted full Australian citizenship and no longer considered wards of the state. This meant they were allowed to own property, vote and buy alcohol. His work was being exhibited overseas as well around Australia. However, in 1958, Namatjira was sentenced to three months' jail for leaving alcohol in a place that made it accessible to other Aboriginal people who, under Northern Territory law, were not allowed to be supplied alcohol. He died of heart failure within months of being released from incarceration.
Many of Namatjira's descendants are also painting and he inspired a major water colour painting movement in Central Australia.
While his year of birth is unrecorded it was most likely Percy Mumbulla was born sometime between 1890 and 1905.
His parents, known as King Jack and Queen Rose, represented all the traditional ways. Mumbulla, an elder of the Aboriginal people and an expert on bush medicine, became a well-known and respected storyteller. He was also very active in the struggle for land rights in New South Wales.
Mumbulla developed a close friendship with Roland Robinson (q.v.) and related his stories to Robinson in the 1940s and 1950s.
In 1979, as an Elder for his people, Percy Mumbulla was invited, along with Guboo Ted Thomas, to speak at the New South Wales Parliament House in Sydney about the cultural significance of the sacred sites on Mumbulla Mountain.
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.
Herb Wharton was born in Yumba, an Aboriginal camp in the south-western Queensland town of Cunnamulla, one of eleven children. His maternal grandmother was Kooma, and both grandfathers were Irish. Before Wharton started writing, he worked as a stockman, a drover and a labourer. He took up writing late in life, at around the age of 50 and, with a grant from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board (ATSIAB) of the Australia Council, bought an electric typewriter and began writing poems, some of which were published in various journals.
In 1990, he entered some of his poems for the David Unaipon Award. These were highly commended and the University of Queensland Press then commissioned him to write a novel. His writing career began to flourish after the publication of this first novel, Unbranded (1992), based on his experiences as a stockman in the Australian outback. Since then, he has published several collections of short stories and poetry, and a young adult novel.
A full-time poet and fiction writer, and a recognised story teller, Wharton has also been a prominent speaker at national and international literary festivals and a lecturer in Australian Indigenous literature, and he has travelled extensively throughout Australia and abroad.
Most recently, he was involved with Ringbalin: River Stories, a documentary film mapping Indigenous stories of the Murray Darling Rivers (2013).
Rhoda Roberts is a Bundjalung woman of the Wiyebal clan. Her totem is the lizard. Roberts' childhood was spent in Lismore and Sydney.
After leaving school she trained to be a Nurse's Aide and eventually graduated as a registered nurse in 1979. With her nursing qualifications, Roberts travelled overseas to work. When she returned, she became involved in acting, training for three years before getting a job with a theatre company.
Roberts has worked as the Current Affairs Presenter of Vox Populi (SBS-TV), Radio Announcer on various radio programs, Reporter for First in Line, Presenter for Qantas in-flight videos, Artistic Director for the Awakening Ceremony for the Festival of the Dreaming (1997), and Indigenous Cultural Advisor for the Olympic Games in Sydney (2000).
In 2012, Roberts was named Artistic Director of Indigenous progamming at the Sydney Opera House.
Doris Pilkington's Aboriginal name is Nugi Garimara and she was born on 'traditional birthing ground under the wintamarra tree' on Balfour Downs Station in the East Pilbara region of Western Australia.
As a toddler, she was removed by authorities from her home at the station, together with her mother Molly Craig and her baby sister, Annabelle. They were sent to Moore River Native Settlement. Molly Craig walked back to Jigalong but was only able to carry baby Annabelle, leaving Doris at the Settlement. At eighteen, Doris left the mission system as the first of its members to qualify as a nursing aide at the Royal Perth Hospital. After marrying and raising a family, she studied journalism and worked in film and television production. In 2002, she was appointed Co-Patron of State and Federal Sorry Day Committee's Journey of Healing.
Doris Pilkington Garimara'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 2004, she was named a Western Australian State Living Treasure. In 2008, she was the recipient of the Red Ochre Award for outstanding lifelong contribution to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts.
Pauline McLeod was a member of the Stolen Generations. She was removed from her family at the age of two and adopted by a European family by the name of Schmidt. After being refused access to continuing education, McLeod worked as a trainee Aboriginal District Officer at the Department of Youth and Community Services. Here she was able to access her own files relating to her removal from her family. McLeod belongs to the Monaro and Ngarrindjeri people.
In adulthood McLeod became an author, story teller, cultural educator, director and performer. Her work encompassed most facets of popular media, including television, radio, theatre, film and writing (from plays to short stories). She studied at the Eora Centre for Performing Arts in Redfern, Sydney, where she completed her training in the early 1990s. She was one of the first Aboriginal performers to appear regularly on an Australian nation-wide television show. Popularly known as 'Pauline from Playschool', she appeared on a number of Australian television shows with ABC and SBS, and was considered a master story teller both nationally and internationally. She worked regularly as a cultural educator, story teller and performer at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Sydney Opera House, the Australian Museum Sydney and the National Gallery in Canberra. She performed at reconciliation forums throughout Sydney between 1996 and 2000, and presented her cultural stories in New South Wales schools, as well as lecturing in Aboriginal studies at TAFE colleges and universities. The Pauline E. McLeod Foundation, which presents the Pauline McLeod Awards for Reconciliation, has been established in her honour.
McLeod's retellings of Aboriginal Dreaming stories have appeared in two educational readers: Aboriginal Art & Stories (1994) and Aboriginal Dreaming Playscripts and Masks (1994). Her video productions include Aboriginal Dreaming Stories (1993), Australian Animal Dreaming Stories (1997) and the posthumously-released Aboriginal Dreamtime series (2004-2005).
May O'Brien's long career as a teacher in Western Australia began at Mount Margaret Mission, where she had grown up. After twenty-five years of teaching in rural and suburban schools she was transferred from the classroom to the Aboriginal Education Branch as a consultant, whose task was to facilitate the establishment of Aboriginal committees on education throughout the state.
O'Brien's contribution to education, particularly to Aboriginal education, was acknowledged with a British Empire Medal in 1977. She was also the recipient of a Churchill fellowship in 1984 to study education programmes in other Western societies, with a view to enabling indigenous people to retain their own cultures while adjusting to mainstream culture. In 1985 O'Brien was appointed to the position of Superintendant of Aboriginal Education. O'Brien has also been involved with the Aboriginal Lands Trust in Western Australia. In 2009, part of her life story was featured in the National Museum of Australia's exhibition From Little Things Big Things Grow: Fighting For Indigenous Rights 1920-1970.
Writer and poet, Lyndy Delian traces her heritage through her father, mother and grandmother to Black's Town, Dunolly, Western Victoria. She 'sees herself as a product of the cultural genocide that occurred in Australia under colonisation'. Delian's search for family follows the oral tracks left to her in stories from childhood. Her work spans music, singing, songwriting, visual art and writing. Delian's artworks have won major awards and some are held in the collections of the National Museum of Australia, the National Gallery of Australia, the Australian National Botanic Gardens, the Canberra Institute of Technology, Canberra Institute of the Arts, Winnunga Nimmityjah, Aboriginal Health Service, Redfern AHS and in numerous private and public collections. Delian has also illustration in two books : Writing Us Mob, 2000 and Talking Ink from Ochre 2002. Delian was also a founding member of ITAG, the ACT Indigenous Textile And Glass artists group and won the Northern Territory Fashion Awards 2003 in the Category of Textiles, 3m printed fabric. Source : Talking Ink from Ochre (2002); per.comm. Kerry Reed-Gilbert, 2016)
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.
'At 23 Richard Walley was chairing the Aboriginal Advisory Board and was actively involved in the formation or operation of the Aboriginal Housing Board, Aboriginal Medical Service, Aboriginal Legal Service, Aboriginal Alcoholism Committee, Aboriginal Sports Foundation and the New Era Aboriginal Fellowship.
In 1978 Richard Walley began his illustrious career in the Arts, when, with three friends, he formed the Middar Aboriginal Theatre. Aiming to take the Nyungar culture from the South West corner of Western Australia to as many people as possible, Middar's success can be gauged by its results. During its lifetime, the Middar group performed in thirty-two countries, on every continent, to live audiences totalling almost ten million people.
After acting in theatre and TV, Walley went on to further develop his theatre skills, holding the role of either director or assistant director in 10 productions in theatre and TV from 1982 through to 1993. Several of these productions took place in the USA and London. During this period he also wrote several screenplays.
His versatility and thirst for new challenges saw him branch out into other areas of the arts. He is a renowned didgeridoo player and has produced a CD collection of didgeridoo music that is inspired by the six seasons of the Nyungar calendar. One of his musical project is 'Two Tribes', a collaboration with a group of artists which has resulted in an eclectic selection of songs combining traditional Indigenous music with contemporary styles including rap and hip hop.
His didgeridoo playing live performances have been at the Albert Hall in London, in Greece, Slovenia, Japan, Mexico, the USA, and Canada, to name but a few. In 2001 he performed in Westminster Abbey for dignitaries, including the Queen of England, as part of the Centenary of Federation celebrations.
Walley is also a visual artist, with his works in much demand by collectors in Australia and overseas.
Richard Walley has been a recognized indigenous leader of the Arts in Australia and in 2001 was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Letters by Murdoch University in Western Australia for his contribution to Nyungar culture and the wider community.
As a past Chair of the Australia Council's Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Board Richard has played an integral role in focusing the direction of indigenous arts in Australia.'
Source: www.multicultural.online.wa.gov.au (Sighted 11/02/08).
'Rosie grew up at the old mission at Tjalyiwarn, Western Australia, spending time at Mintirr Rockhole with other local family groups to give them some independence from the mission. While at the mission, Rosie worked with the children in the kindergarten. She also worked for Lake Stretch Station near Kururrungku (Billiluna), Western Australia, trapping dingo pups, killing and skinning them in exchange for food.
Rosie has custodial duties for women's law and ceremony. She began painting in 1989 and her work has been exhibited widely across Australia and overseas. The main themes in her work are: Travelling Tingari women;
Tingari men; and Wati Kutjarra two men dancing'. (Source: Aboriginal Art Online: Biographies of Balgo Hills Artists sighted on http://www.aboriginalartonline.com/art/balgo3.php)
Jeannie Egan Nungarrayi was a long-time member of the Central Land Council and she was co-founder of the Jaru Pirrijirdi Program. The program's aim was to teach young Walpiri people their culture and the proper way of doing things. Egan was involved in bilingual education, worked at Yuendumu School for many years and represented Central Australian Aboriginal people at Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's 2020 Summit in 2008.
Egan was an artist and began painting commercially in 1987. Examples of her works are held in the National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria and the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. She won the 1987 National Aboriginal Art Award and the 1987 Rothmans Foundation Award.
Aunty Maureen Watson
'Tireless educator and campaigner for the rights of her people, gifted and passionate performer on stage and film, poet, author and playwright, children’s author, beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, and recognised Murri elder in South-East Queensland.
'Born in Rockhampton in central Queensland on the 9th November, 1931 of Birri Gubba descent, Maureen was brought up in the Dawson Valley, her mother’s Kungulu country.
'She was a dux of her school, an all-round sports person and brilliant horse-rider, but her scholarship year came to an abrupt end with a bad horse fall. So as a teenager she worked beside her father, becoming skilled at shooting kangaroos, trapping dingoes, mustering, droving and branding cattle, picking cotton, planting seed crops, driving tractors and bulldozers.
'At 21 she married Harold Bayles, a Wakka Wakka man from Eidsvold and in 1970 Maureen with their family of five children moved to Brisbane. She joined the fledgling Aboriginal rights movement and commenced an arts degree at the University of Queensland.
'Her experiences of growing up in a home where her family and visitors talked of politics, culture, spirituality and social issues, and her own inate story-telling ability prepared her well for the rest of her life. She was popular and highly-respected by non-indigenous as well as Aboriginal Australians, and showed her strong sense of justice by confronting bullies, discrimination and injustice where ever she saw it.
'Maureen was a founding member of Indigenous organisations that include Radio Redfern and the Aboriginal People’s Gallery. She attended the first National Aboriginal Theatre Workshop in Sydney and a Black Film-makers course. Her first collection of stories and poems, Black Reflections was published in 1982 – she went on to produce six more poetry anthologies, one children’s book and one picture book. She has performed and taught in many venues, from major festivals to local schools and arts organisations.
'She was at the forefront of Aboriginal protests against the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane in 1982, facing arrest during demonstrations. In 1996 she was awarded the Australia Council Red Ochre award in recognition of her national and international contribution towards recognition of Aboriginal arts. Also she received the inaugural United Nations Association Global Leadership Prize for her outstanding work towards building cross-cultural understanding and harmony.
'Maureen also worked with ‘Sisters Inside’, a support group for women in prison. She was a qualified and experienced Neuro-Linguistic Programming councillor.
'Her son, Tiga Bayles spoke at the very moving ceremony to celebrate the life of Maureen Frances Watson. His words of her intense spiritual connection to the Land were a fitting tribute to this feisty, wise, beautiful, intelligent, creative and strong Black woman.
'..’she taught us to look past the racism, injustice, lies and greed. She taught us to look past those things – to look for the goodness inherent in every person. The goodness we all share when we dream of clean air and water, as the essential birthright of every child, regardless of race, colour, creed or country … how all of us, individually, collectively and globally – can empower ourselves to become honourable ancestors to our future generations by bequeathing them a healthy Mother Earth.‘ 12 January 2009, Murri School, Acacia Ridge, Brisbane.'
(source - Workers BushTelegraph)
Jimmy Pike was born and grew up in the Great Sandy Desert and was a member of the Walmajarri people, one of the last groups to leave the desert and settle on cattle stations in the Kimberley during the 1950's. A former stockman on Kimberley cattle stations, Pike was imprisoned for murder in 1981. He took up painting while in prison, studying under Steven Culley and David Wroth and while imprisoned, he met Pat Lowe (q.v.).
He was released from prison in 1988 and soon after, Lowe and Pike went to live at Kurlku, about 200 kilometres from Fitzroy Crossing. In the early 1990s, they moved to Broome and Pike's career as an artist began to flourish. This country, its ancient culture and symbols are the inspiration for Jimmy Pike's work. In 1999, he became the first Australian artist to have his work displayed in the Chinese National Gallery in Beijing.
Waddi Boyoi was born in Djenamuyam country near Keep River Gorge in the Northern Territory. Boyoi's father's name was Charlie and he was a Miriwung man who had married a Gadjerung woman named Mary and they raised Waddi, his sister Gypsy and his brother Joe. Boyoi belonged to the Djimidja skin group, and his Dreaming was the Sun and Fire.
Dr Thancoupie Gloria Fletcher is an Elder of the Thaynakwith peoples in the Western Cape York area of far north Queensland. Thancoupie is the only remaining fluent speaker of the Thaynakwith language.
Thancoupie was born at Weipa to Ida and Jimmy James and was given the name Thanakupi at birth. Her mother gave her the name Gloria James at her Baptism. In rediscovering her language, she adopted the name Thancoupie but she also uses the variant spelling Thanakupi. Thancoupie grew up in the small Napranum community and attended the mission school there before studying ceramics in Sydney.
Thancoupie has worked as a ceramic artist, story teller, educator, community leader, advocate, and negotiator. She began telling her community's stories through clay, tile and other ceramic arts. Her life work has been recording the language and stories of the Thaynakwith people. Thancoupie was awarded the 2006 Visual Arts Emeritus Award by the Australia Council for the Arts for her unparalleled career as an Indigenous artist, teacher, and community leader.
Noongar Elder, Maxine Fumagalli, daughter of Violet and Elijah Jones was a writer, poet, artist, healer and conservationist.
Maxine Fumagalli remembered much of the folklore that her mother had told her before she became absorbed in learning western ways, growing up and having a family. For the past 30 years Maxine made her home in the town of Denmark on the south coast where she raised her family (The Aboriginal word for Denmark is Kurrabup, which means place of the black swan).
She had a deep love for the land and people of the Southwest and also had a vital interest in promoting Noongar culture and heritage. Over the years, Maxine had asisted the Western Australia Museum to locate many important Aboriginal heritage sites in Denmark and had opened a shop and studio in Denmark where she was been able to assist other Aboriginal artists with marketing their work.
David Burrumarra was born into a large family of fifteen children in Dholtji situated near Cape Wilberforce in the Northern Territory. Burrumarra comes from the Warrimiri clan who are saltwater people, his wife's name was Lawuk and she was from the Galpu clan. Lawuk and David Burrumarra had seven children named Leku, Yumbulul, Magutu, Manda, Malwanany, Lambu and Rrapu.
Marjorie was named Knuckey after the place in which she was born. She grew up and went to school in Belyuen. After finishing school at seventeen years old she began working in office and domestic jobs assisting the Manager. Marjorie moved on to helping the sisters make breakfast for little babies, eventually marrying and having five children. In 1991 she began working for the women's centre, cooking in the nutrition programs. During this time she began studying for a Diploma of Adult Education at Bachelor College.
Marjorie is an Elder of the Cox Peninusla community at Belyuen. In their customs Aboriginal men traditionally receive the songs of the group and it is rare for an Aboriginal woman to do so, and even rarer for them to sing them. However Marjorie has not only received songs, but has also sung them.
David Mowaljarlai was a senior traditional lawman of the Ngarinyin people in the West Kimberley, Western Australia. Not only he was an extraordinary painter, he was an anthropologist, teacher preacher, story teller and linguist. He grew up on a mission and for several years during his childhood he was a patient at the Derby Leprosarium. During this time he learnt to play the violin and became a mechanic.
Mowaljarlai underwent various stages of Aboriginal initiation. He worked as a skipper on a pearling lugger, a male orderly, a construction worker during the Second World War and a truck driver. He also managed his people's Arts and Craft industry.
As an important leader in his community, Mowaljarlai both influenced and campaigned for his people to be respected. He was one of the first to be an ordained elder in his church and was deeply concerned for both the preservation of his culture and peaceful co-existence between black and white communities.
During the 1970s and 1980s, he held seats on the Aboriginal Arts Board, the Western Australian Museum Sacred Sites Board and the Institute of Aboriginal Studies in Canberra. He married Turki Mowaljarlai and they had six children.
Albert Holt is a respected Aboriginal Elder from Inala in Brisbane's south-west. He grew up at the Cherbourg mission after his family was forcibly removed from their home, overcoming adversity to become a respected role model. Towards the end of 2001 Uncle Albert Holt retired from full time work. His last employment was with the Queensland Police Service, where he worked as a Police Liaison Officer for more than seven years. Upon retirement, he became more engaged with the Brisbane community. Along with other distinguished Aboriginal Elders, he was integral in establishing the Queensland Murri Courts, which is a voluntary service. He saw the Murri Courts expand to seventeen throughout Queensland. This was possible because of the invaluable contributions of the Elders. Sadly, the Murri Courts became a victim of the Newman government cuts which was a profound disappointment for Uncle Albert and a backward step for our community.
For most of his life, Uncle Albert Holt has been passionately committed to encouraging all students to maximise the educational opportunities that are available to them. He is always encouraging them to seek educational pathways which benefit themselves, their community, and above all, their country. In acknowledgement for his community work he was awarded the 2005 NAIDOC Week National Male Elder of the year. In 2007 he was awarded the Queensland Premier's Senior Citizen Community Volunteer Award. In his local suburb of Inala, a Community Housing development has been named the Uncle Albert Holt Terraces. Since 2006, he has been a member of the Queensland Indigenous Consultative Committee, a ministerially-appointed committee that gives advice to governments on matters affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders' education.
His passion is centred on education and school visits and has been 'adopted' in over 8 local Schools. He regularly speaks to students on topics such as Aboriginal culture and history with an emphasis on reconciliation. Through Education Queensland, he has been part of the School Principal for a Day event. He says this had a huge impact on students, the Principal, teachers and staff. That a Community Elder could give his time freely to promote the value of what they can achieve with a decent education, was very empowering. For Uncle Albert, he says the joy and respect he receives is rich and rewarding and always looks forward to Education Queensland Week: Principal for a Day.
His most recent endeavour has been as one of the 2012 Australia Day Ambassadors. In this role he got to travel to Charters Towers and be part of their Australia Day celebrations where he spoke in the true spirit of reconciliation. He hopes to continue in this role next year.
Uncle Albert is a published author and has just re-released his autobiography Forcibly Removed to great acclaim. He is working on a second book and hopes to have it published as an eBook. What a long way he has come since his days on the mission!
(Source: Vanessa Kerley 2012)
Frank Gurrmanamana born in the early 1920s at Anaamulerra near Balpilya swamp, grew up in the Blyth River region of Arnhem Land.In his youth he was a skilled hunter and by middle-age had acquired a profound knowledge of the totemic geography and natural resources of the land around the Blyth River. During World War II he worked with the Army in Darwin. He had a daughter named Betty Ngurrabangurraba and a wife named Nancy Bandeiyama. During his life, Gurrmanamana assisted non-Indigenous people to learn about Anbarra culture.
Douglas Multa Tjupurrula is a senior Luritja man from Ikuntji (Haasts Bluff) in western Central Australia. His country is the desert spinifex and sandhill country west of the MacDonnell Ranges. Tjupurrula is descended from some of the last people to live at Puritjarra rock-shelter. Active on the pastoral frontier in the 1890s, the Multas were notorious for cattle-spearing, and later worked as stockmen. His grandfather was one of the cattle-bosses at Haasts Bluff in the 1940s who travelled the country with camels in the 1940s and 1950s.
In his younger days, Tjupurrula was a back-up guitarist in the Warumpi Band. Now he is a member of a gospel band, while his son is drummer in a band called Sunshine Reggae. Tjupurrula is an active member of the Ikuntji Community Council.
Vi McDermott is a well-loved and highly respected community Elder in the greater Inala area and recognised story teller in the south-east Queensland community. A performer, public speaker, cultural advisor and storyteller in both the traditional Aboriginal language of the Gayndah region and in English, Aunty Vi (as she is affectionately known) is a regular guest speaker at public events, in particular, primary and secondary schools throughout Brisbane.
A multi-talented and celebrated woman; spirited singer, song-writer and recording artist, Aunty Vi performs her life experiences with gifted enthusiasm, vitality and an energy which inspires many and continues to warm the hearts of those whose lives with whom she comes into contact.
Mona Ngitji Ngitji was born in Antikirinya country on the Hamilton cattle station, to an Aboriginal mother and an Irish father. Her parents used to hide her in the bush when police came looking for part-Aboriginal children to take away to Adelaide. When she began her schooling at Oodnadatta in 1943 she spoke no English, and had to learn English at School. Her school education consisted of two years in Grade 1, two years in Grade 2, one year in Grade 3 and two years in Grade 4 before doing two weeks in Grade 5 and leaving school. By 1991 she held an Associate Diploma in Aboriginal Studies at the Underdale Campus of the University of South Australia.
Ngitji Ngitji spoke Antikirinya (her mother's language), Yankunytjara and Pitjantjatjara. She taught Pitjantjatjara at Underdale from 1984, and in that year she assisted production of a Pitjantjatjara teaching kit, Wangka Kulintjaku. She was also employed as a translator of Aboriginal languages.
Ngitji Ngitji wrote poetry both in Antikirinya and English. As well as the published work listed here, she has a poem 'Aboriginal Woman's Lament' published on the reverse side of a card produced by Sr. Michelle Madigan at Coober Pedy, featuring art by Kunyi McInerney.
She was the first Aboriginal Artist in Residence with Carclew Youth Performing Arts Centre, performing in numerous schools teaching children about Anangu culture, storytelling, song and dance. In April 2011 she was awarded the Flinders University Honorary Degree of Letters, honoris causa for her lifelong contribution as a cultural education, oral linguist, interpreter and advocate for Indigenous rights.