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.
Della Walker lived on Ulgandahi Island Aboriginal reserve in the Clarence River delta near Maclean, New South Wales before her family moved to Yamba. At the age of seventeen her family moved again to the Tabulam reserve west of Casino, there she worked as both domestic aid and an assistant to her husband in his seasonal farming jobs. She also became an unofficial midwife at the reserve and was involved in a number of community activities: "organisation of church services and the Djunagun dance troupe; promotion of her mother tongue, Aboriginal education, the teaching of Aboriginal Studies at regional TAFE colleges; and counselling of prisoners at the Grafton gaol." Further to these activities Walker was a "member of the Aboriginal advisory council of the College of Advanced Education in Lismore, president of the Housing Association and the local Land Council at Tabulam, a director of the Yamboora Aboriginal Corporation at Yamba, and chair of the Nungera Aboriginal Cooperative Society at Maclean." (Source: Australian Women's Register website)
Rex Marshall spent his first sixteen years at Baryulgil Reserve, and attended St. Joseph's Primary School and Baryulgil Primary School. Active in Aboriginal affairs for most of his life, Rex joined with other Aboriginal activists to set up the Aboriginal Embassy in 1972, and in 1973 was elected as a representative on the first National Aboriginal Consultative Committee.
Marshall has also been the Director of Aboriginal Cultural Education for the Kempsey Youth and Cultural Centre and the Administrator for the Coffs Harbour Aboriginal Family Centre. Between poems, he attends various functions in his capacity as a Justice of the Peace.
'Senator Aden Ridgeway was born on the Bellwood Aboriginal Reserve near Nambucca Heads in New South Wales and was educated at Bellwood and St John's College, Woodlawn in Lismore. After leaving high school in Year 11 and working for a while as a boilermaker, he spent 14 years in the New South Wales Public Service working his way from park ranger though policy positions to management. During this time he also served on the Sydney Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) Regional Council for its first two terms.
For five years, he was Executive Director of the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council and responsible for its head office, regional offices and the one hundred and eighteen local Aboriginal Land Councils throughout the State. During this time he was responsible for implementing broad-based structural and management reforms. He was a member of both Indigenous Native Title negotiating teams following the Mabo and Wik decisions and was a member of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation for its last two years.
Aden joined the Australian Democrats in 1990 attracted by their stance on Indigenous issues, the environment and education and membership involvement in the party structure. He was elected as a Democrat Senator for New South Wales in October 1998. In July 1999, he became only the second Indigenous person to take a seat in the Australian Parliament. He was Australian Democrats' Deputy Leader from April 2001 til October 2002 His portfolio areas have included Arts and Sport, Consumer Affairs, Forestry, Indigenous Affairs, Industry, Small Business and Tourism and Trade and Overseas Development.
Aden has been Chairman of Bangarra Aboriginal Dance Company and a board member of the Tikkun Australia Foundation, the Lumbu Indigenous Community Foundation and a trustee of the Charlie Perkins Children's Trust.'
(Source: www.democrats.org.au and
'Lilly Brown is an interdisciplinary educator, facilitator and researcher. With a Master of Philosophy in education from the University of Cambridge and a PhD in youth research, Lilly currently lecturers into the Indigenous Studies program at the University of Melbourne. With a background in critical Indigenous studies and youth sociology, Lilly’s research and teaching focuses on the wellbeing of young First Peoples and the possibilities education presents as both a site of positive transformation and social reproduction; the ongoing colonial state violence resisted by First Peoples; and, the way anti-Indigenous racism, as foundational to Australian nationhood, continues to function. Lilly’s academic practice is informed by her relationships and work with different communities in Victoria and across Australia, including with Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal young people, their families, communities and schools. Lilly belongs to the Gumbaynggirr people of the mid-north coast of New South Wales.'
In September 2023, Lilly Brown was announced as the new CEO of Magabala Books.
Aunty Jessie Williams is an Elder of the Gumbayngirr people. She was born on Stuart Island in 1924. Her mother was Eva Whatty a Gumbayngirr woman, and her father, Ernest Lindsay, was from Berry. Aunty Jessie Williams' grandfather and uncle made Ernest go through an initiation to become a Gumbayngirr before he could marry Eva Whatty.
A member of the Stolen Generations, Williams was taken from her family as a child.
Ricky Macourt, a Gumbaingirr man, grew up in the Bowraville area on the mid north coast of New South Wales. After being a awarded a scholarship he was educated from age twelve at St Joseph's College, Hunters Hill, New South Wales. He undertook a Law degree at Bond University.
Actor and playwright.
Sandy Greenwood holds a BA Hons in Creative Industries from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and has worked with theatre companies including Sydney Theatre Company, Ilbijerri Indigenous Theatre Company, and, internationally, the Seattle Theatre Company.
In 2018, she wrote and performed Matriarch, a story of four generations of First Nations women, for Melbourne Fringe.
'Melissa Greenwood was born on her Gumbaynggirr jagun (homelands) in Coffs Harbour and raised between both Gumbaynggirr and Bundjalung nations.
'On Melissa's matriarchal side, she is a Gumbaynggirr custodian with strong ties to Bundjalung and Dunghutti. Her father's side has English and Welsh heritage. Melissa was raised by her single Aboriginal mother so identifies strongly with her Aboriginal heritage and is a miimi (mum) of two beautiful giibarrin (boys).
'From a very young age Melissa has been passionate about creating change for her people. Melissa completed both an Associate Diploma in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies and a Bachelor of Justice Studies majoring in Critical Criminology. Melissa has used her skills to work tirelessly for the Indigenous community for over a decade running National Projects, Aboriginal Youth Programs and supporting survivors of the Stolen Generation.
'Melissa is the founder and director of Miimi and Jiinda, a thriving Australian art business. Melissa has just launched a sister brand called Ochre by Miimi and Jiinda which is her fashion and homewares label. Melissa's dream is to create a platform that not only supports her people but provides opportunities for them for employment and avenues for growth and self-determination.' (https://www.harpercollins.com.au/cr-160643/melissa-greenwood/
'Dakota Feirer is a Bundjalung-Gumbayngirr man based in Dharawal and Yuin country on the south coast. Since graduating from an honours degree at the University of Wollongong, Dakota has consulted for NITV, the Art Gallery of New South Wales and AIATSIS. He is carving a path as an independent researcher, educator and advocate for cultural sovereignty and progressive warriorhood.' (https://overland.org.au/2021/07/poetry-heal-country/)
'Gumbaynggirr/Wiradjuri woman Dalara Williams is an Actor/Creative based in Sydney on Gadigal/Bidjigal country. Who expresses herself through the art of performing and visual arts. Dalara has always had strong ties to her culture and now through writing is on the journey to bring those two worlds together, showcasing the importance of our voices, language, culture and stories to the stage and screen.
'Dalara started acting in 2010, enrolling in Eora Tafe and went on to graduate from Australia's premier acting school NIDA in 2017. She has performed with various theatre companies such as Mooghalin Performing Arts, Darlinghurst theatre, Belvoir St Theatre, STC, Malthouse and Ilbijerri. She has participated in Yellamundi Festival in 2013 and 2019 as an actor'.
Source: Yellamundie Festival.
Artist, musician and Aboriginal community leader Martin Ballangarry has a long record of service to numerous organisations including the Bowraville Community Alliance, the Nambucca Valley Reconciliation Group, the Bowraville Aboriginal Medical Service and the Bowraville Local Aboriginal Land Council. He created history in 2004 when he became the first Aboriginal person to be elected to the Nambucca Shire Council.
When Ballangarry was 10 years old, Charles Perkins and the Freedom Ride came to Bowraville. Ballangarry was one of the Indigenous people who attended the segregated picture theatre at Bowraville and was escorted from the theatre by police, for attempting to sit in the seats reserved for white patrons. In 2009 part of Ballangarry's life story and the old Bowraville theatre seats were featured in the National Museum of Australia's travelling exhibition From Little Things Big Things Grow.
Kaleesha Morris studied arts/law at UNSW. She has been a youth ambassador for the Justice Reinvestment for Aboriginal young people NSW Campaign.
'Lay Maloney, a Gumbaynggirr and Gunggandji person of South Sea Islander descent, was born in Cairns and raised in Yarrabah. Maloney is a storyteller with a focus on writing and illustrating. Their debut work ‘Weaving Us Together’ is a young adult manuscript about a non-binary Aboriginal person named Jean growing up on Australia’s mid-north coast.'
Nathan Brennan has worked in the Vocational Education and Training sector with Technical and Further Education (Tafe) NSW‘s newly formed Aboriginal Learning Circle as a project co-ordinator. He has studied for a Bachelor of Arts/Laws with the University of New England.
'Tim Gray is a Gumbaynggirr/Wiradjuri man who studied at Eora College in 2010-11, 2013 and 2016. He was trained in classical piano up to grade 5 and has always loved film music - his inspirations are John Willliams, Ennio Morricone, John Carpenter, and Hans Zimmer, to name a few. Tim has a reggae/ska band called Green Hand Band, in which he plays the keyboard. He came out of the emerging artists program at Gadigal/Koori Radio and was also volunteer broadcaster at Koori Radio. He sings in a group called Voices Carry, lead by Sydney choral director Tania Bowra.' (https://www.australianmusiccentre.com.au/about/AMPlify_ICI)
'Todd Phillips is a Bundjalung and Gumbainggirr man from the north coast of New South Wales. He has three degrees in education from Queensland University of Technology and ten diploma-level qualifications. Todd is leading Macquarie University's Indigenous Connected Curriculum Project, and Australian-first, university-led educational framework that has been designed and developed by Walanga Muru, the university's Indigenous peoples' unit, which is applying the embedding of Indigenous values, philosophies and knowledges across all educational faculties and departments.' (Source : Growing up Aboriginal in Australia)
'Tyrone Sheather made his first film entirely in Gumbaynggirr Language in 2008. This film won Best Short Film and Peoples Choice at the Local Clapper Film Festival and is still being used for language teaching by Muurrbay Language Centre, and Training by 3rd Space Mob. In 2009 Tyrone received the Lester Bostock scholarship, which included mentorship, a cash budget and equipment to make a short film. At this time he began working with photography in the form of photo shoots with local models.'
'In 2011 Tyrone began the Gumbaynggirr Dreaming project with 3rd Space Mob. In this project he made films of 3 stories his great grandfather recorded in 1970. He also created the artwork, sets and costumes for the film. The films were launched in August 2012. He took on the role of Arts Director in the inter-arts program entitled ʻWelcome to Gumbaynggirrʼ funded through NSW Aboriginal Regional Arts Fund. As well as the artist behind a photography project ʻDreaming Aloudʼ funded by Australia Council for the Arts brings a contemporary view to the original stories of Gumbaynggirr.' (Source: Situate Art in Festivals website)
'Jingalu is a Bagawa woman from Gumbayggirr and Yaegl Country. She grew up in Coffs Harbour, in the Mid North Coast of New South Wales, and travelled around Australia with her art career as a young adult before returning home to raise her family. Jingalu has been painting since the age of 16 and creates to share stories and important messages about Culture.' (https://www.magabala.com/collections/jingalu)