Thirty-five recipients received awards for distinguished service to the Indigenous community on the Australia Day 2019 Honours List.
Dulcie Flower, Ruth Hennings, Alfred Neal and Diana Travis all received awards for their crucial role in the 1967 referendum.
Dr Anne Martin was awarded for her service to the Indigenous community and to higher education.
Dr Martin is Director of the Tjabal Indigenous Higher Education Centre at ANU and was Co-Chair of NAIDOC (2006-2018).
Born at La Perouse and a descendant of the Yuin people on Sydney’s South Coast, she said winning the award was “a testament to those who went before me,” including her parents, grandparents, cousins, aunties and uncles.
“They gave me these opportunities and grounded me with love and support,” she said. “To me, it’s not just my award, it’s their award.”
She said she was grateful to have met prominent Indigenous Australians like Terri Janke, Dr Kelvin Kong and Damian Miller during her tenure in education.
“I think, ‘Wow I got to share time with you amazing people when you were students and look where you are now’,” she said.
“To me, I am enriched by that.”
Dr Martin said when it comes to educating the next generation, we should not become complacent and “we still have a lot of catching up to do.”
She said the future of Indigenous education in Australia was “in the hands of all of us.”
“It might not happen in my lifetime but I am encouraged for the future.”
“We are very fortunate to have such strong, articulate and passionate people coming through,” she said.
“Not just in the education sector but across so many different sectors.”
Adjunct Professor Muriel Bamblett received an Officer of the Order for her service to Victoria as an advocate for the self-determination and cultural rights of Indigenous children.
The Yorta Yorta and Dja Dja Wurrung woman is CEO at VACCA (Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency) and chaired the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC) from 1998 to 2008.
She worked on the Northern Territory Child Protection Inquiry from 2009-2011 and is involved in over 30 advisory groups concerning the Aboriginal community.
Banduk Marika received an Officer of the Order for distinguished service to the visual arts, particularly to Indigenous printmaking and bark painting, and through cultural advisory roles.
Ms Marika was born at Yirrkala mission in north-east Arnhem Land where she was taught to paint by her father and statesman and ritual leader of the Dhuwa at Yirrkala, Mawalan Marika.
Her linocuts and screenprints include stories from her clan: of Djan’kawu, the Wagilag sisters creation story and the Turtle Hunters.
Dr Lou Bennett received an award for significant service to performing arts, particularly to music and the Indigenous community.
Dr Bennett is a Yorta Yorta Dja Dja Wurrung woman who has spent 29 years in the arts industry as a performer, songwriter, musical director and educator amongst other positions.
She is a former member of the internationally acclaimed music trio Tiddas. In 2006, she co-founded the Black Arm Band, one of Australia’s leading performing arts companies.
This year’s Australia Day Honours List included 1400 awards, including the most ever awards for outstanding service or achievement in the community (516) and the highest percentage and number of women recipients (422).
By Andrea Cantle