She was born Yvette Isaacs in the 1950s in Cherbourg, Queensland. She is of the Turrbal-Gubbi Gubbi people and is a member of the Stolen Generations. She considers herself a beneficiary of her removal. As a tribute to her Aboriginality she took the names Maroochy (meaning "black swan") and Barambah (meaning "source of the western wind").
Maroochy Barambah rose to fame for her part in the 1989 Sydney Metropolitan Opera production of Black River, by Julianne Schultz and Andrew Schultz, an opera about black deaths in custody, and later starring in the 1993 film adaption which was awarded the Grand-Prix, Opera Screen at Opera Bastille, Paris. She also has appeared in the indigenous musical Bran Nue Dae, the 1981 television series Women of the Sun and in the opera Beach Dreaming (written for and about her by Mark Isaacs).
She performed at the 1993 AFL Grand Final, singing Waltzing Matilda and Advance Australia Fair. Maroochy's translation of Advance Australia Fair into Turrubul, the native language of the Aborigines of the Brisbane region, was performed at the 2013 Indigenous All Stars Rugby League match at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, on 9 February 2013.
On 15 November 2014, Maroochy featured in the Welcome to Country ceremony at the formal opening of the 2014 G-20 Australia Summit, held in Brisbane, Australia, performing in front of national leaders and international dignitaries.
- Aborigine (1996) single - Daki Budtcha Records
- Mongungi (1994) single - Daki Budtcha Records
- Once upon a dreamtime (1997) - Daki Budtcha Records
- Black River (1997) soundtrack - MusicArtsDance Films
- David Horton, ed. (1994). The Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia : Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, society and culture. Aboriginal Studies Press for AIATSIS. ISBN 0-85575-250-5.
- The Australian Strong voices, separate songlines
- Atkinson, Ann; Linsay Knight; Margaret McPhee (1996). The Dictionary of Performing Arts in Australia: Theatre, film, radio, television. Allen & Unwin. p. 26. ISBN 9781863738989.
- Powerhouse Museum Exhibition notes - Bayagul