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Here we present some of our people who have been trailblazers in their lifetimes. This section contains images of deceased people; the use of these images has been approved by the artist's families and trustees.

1920 - 1993

Nation: Noonuccal

Oodgeroo Noonuccal

Oodgeroo Noonuccal was born on North Stradbroke Island, country of the Noonuccal nation. She attended Dulwich Primary; left school and became a domestic in Brisbane at the age of 13. As an Aboriginal person, she said, 'there wasn't the slightest possibility of getting "a better job" [even] if you stayed on at school' (Murawina, 1993).
"Dad always said to me 'you're Black, you're Aboriginal, always be proud of it, but always know this, that if you're going to do anything in this world you've not only got to be as good as the white person, you've got to be better'."

Oodgeroo served in the Australian Women's Army Service (1942-1944). She published her first book of poetry, We Are Going, in 1964, going on to become a trailblazer in published Aboriginal writing in Australia. Oodgeroo was Queensland State Secretary of FCAATSI for ten years in the 1960s and from 1972 was managing director of the Noonuccal-Nughie Education Cultural Centre on Stradboke Island. Throughout her life, she was a renowned and admired campaigner for Aboriginal rights, promoter of Aboriginal cultural survival, educator and environmentalist. (Australian Women’s Archive Project, Claire Land)

Her work includes We are Going (1964), which was the first book ever to be published by an Aboriginal person, My People (1970) and Stradbroke Dreaming (1972). For more info see ‘Oodgeroo: a tribute’ (Shoemaker (ed), 1994

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