Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann

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Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann

An Aboriginal Australian woman in a denim jacket sits in front of a white wall
Ungunmerr-Baumann in 2021
Born1950 (age 72–73)
Occupation(s)Aboriginal activist, educator and artist
2021 Senior Australian of the Year
Preceded byJohn Newnham
Succeeded byValmai Dempsey

Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann AM (born 1950) is an Australian 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] and the owner of Rak Malfiyin Homeland.[2] She is also the first Indigenous Australian woman to visit Antarctica.[3] Ungunmerr-Baumann is a "devout Christian" and much of her artwork reflects religious themes.[2] In 2021, she was named Senior Australian of the Year.[4]


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. 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.

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. ^ Eccles, Jeremy (25 June 2014). "NATSIAA Surprises". Aboriginal Art Directory. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  2. ^ a b Svasek, Maruska; Meyer, Birgit (2016). Creativity in Transition. Berghahn Books. pp. 205–206. ISBN 9781785331824.
  3. ^ Burns, Robin (2001). Just Tell Them I Survived!: Women in Antarctica. Allen & Unwin. p. 17. ISBN 1865083828.
  4. ^ Burnside, Niki (25 January 2021). "Sexual assault survivor and advocate Grace Tame named 2021 Australian of the Year". ABC News. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  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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