Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann

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Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann AM (born 1950) is an Aboriginal activist, educator and artist of the Ngan’gityemerri language group. Ungunmerr-Baumann is the first Indigenous teacher to work in the Northern Territory.[1] She is the founder of the Merrepen Arts Centre,[2] and the owner of Rak Malfiyin Homeland.[3] She is also the first Indigenous Australian woman to visit Antarctica.[4] Ungunmerr-Baumann is a "devout Christian" and much of her artwork reflects religious themes.[3]


Ungunmerr-Baumann was born in 1950 in Daly River.[5] She was baptized as a Catholic when she was fifteen.[6] As a teenager, she worked as a domestic servant to a teacher who eventually employed her as an assistant teacher.[6] She attended Kormilda College to become a teacher.[5] Ungunmerr-Baumann became the first Indigenous teacher in the Northern Territory in 1975.[1] She used art in her classroom, encouraging children to express themselves.[5] She attended Deakin University and in 1988, received a Bachelor of Arts.[5] In 1993, she became the principal of St. Francis Xavier Catholic School.[1]

Ungunmerr-Baumann became a Member of the Order of Australia in 1998 for her "role in promoting Aboriginal education and art."[7][5] She was also awarded an honorary doctorate from the Northern Territory University in 2002.[6]


Ungunmerr-Baumann's work uses both Indigenous techniques and "western acrylics."[6] She has worked to encourage elders in Aboriginal communities to pass along artistic techniques to the younger generation.[8]


  1. ^ a b c Piotrowski, Daniel (26 January 2015). "A terror survivor, a teacher, a doctor and a general: The selfless Aussies you SHOULD have heard about on Australia Day but were drowned out by Tony Abbott's bizarre decision to knight Prince Philip". Daily Mail. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  2. ^ Eccles, Jeremy (25 June 2014). "NATSIAA Surprises". Aboriginal Art Directory. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  3. ^ a b Svasek, Maruska; Meyer, Birgit (2016). Creativity in Transition. Berghahn Books. pp. 205–206. ISBN 9781785331824.
  4. ^ Burns, Robin (2001). Just Tell Them I Survived!: Women in Antarctica. Allen & Unwin. p. 17. ISBN 1865083828.
  5. ^ a b c d e Kirkwood, Peter (16 July 2000). "Deep Water Sounds of an Indigenous Mystic". Eureka Street. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  6. ^ a b c d Henningham, Nikki. "Ungunmerr-Baumann, Miriam Rose (1950 - )". The Encyclopedia of Women & Leadership In Twentieth-Century Australia. Australian Women's Archives Project. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  7. ^ It's an Honour. Retrieved 12 December 2016
  8. ^ Nolan, Deidre (7 March 1979). "An Aboriginal Artist Who Re-created the Dream Times". The Australian Women's Weekly. Retrieved 25 August 2016.

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