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Maroochy Barambah

Maroochy, of the Turrbul/ Dippil ancestry was born on Cherbourg Aboriginal Reserve in Queensland.   She is the Songwoman and Law-woman of the Turrbal People – the Traditional Owners of Brisbane.

At the age of 12 she was taken from her family and fostered out to a family in Melbourne.  Maroochy later attended the Melba Conservatorium of Music in Melbourne and Victorian College of the Arts where she graduated in Dramatic Arts in 1979.

Over the years, Maroochy has acted in such television series as “The Flying Doctors”, “Winner Take All” and “Women of the Sun”. She has performed in numerous concerts and once had her own jazz/reggae band.

She was an integral part of the shows such as “A Fruitcake of Australian Stories” and “Bran Nue Dae”.

Maroochy has also had an extensive community involvement over many years working with the younger generation of Indigenous Australians in the arts industry.  She has delivered several lectures on Aboriginal culture in various institutions and was a keynote speaker at the Australian Reconciliation Convention in Melbourne in May 1997.

When Maroochy made her operatic debut in “Black River” in October 1989, she became the first Aborigine to perform on the Australian operatic stage. She was the first Australian to perform at the United Nations in New York in honour of the International Year for the World’s Indigenous Peoples in 1993.  In November 1995, Maroochy starred in the American opera Porgy & Bess and became the first Indigenous Australian to perform in an opera at the Sydney Opera House.  She hopes to continue to work in this area of the performing arts, while at the same time engender better understanding of Aboriginal culture.

Maroochy has received many awards, both in Australia and overseas.    In April 2000, Maroochy was awarded an Honorary Senior Fellowship of the University of the Sunshine Coast in Qld. for her outstanding and sustained contributions to the community.

She is a co-contributor to the book Going Digital 2000: Legal Issues for E-Commerce, Software and the Internet on the issue of the protection of Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property.  She is also a Board member of the Bennelong Society – an organisation that promotes informed debates about Aboriginal Australian issues.

Maroochy is presently the Artistic Chief Executive of Daki Budtcha Records in Brisbane.

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