Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunugpingu
Born blind and unware of the Braille system, Gurrumul
speaks few words of English and is reportedly very shy.
He was born in Elcho Island, off the coast of Arnhem
Land. He belongs to the Gumatj clan of the Yolngu and
his mother is from the Galpu nation. This incredible
artist can play the drums, keyboards, guitar (a right
hand-strung guitar left handed) and the didgeridoo.
His most impressive instrument however, is his voice.
Formly with the group Yothu Yindi, he is now singing
stories about his land in various Indigenous languages
playing with the Saltwater Band. In 2011, Rolling Stone
magazine labelled him ‘Australia’s most important
voice’. Through his two studio albums ‘Gurrumul’ in
2008 and ‘Rrakala’ in 2011, it has been said that he will
change the way you breathe and that, he does.
David Unaipon (Ngunaitponi)
An innovative inventor, writer, preacher and lecturer David Unaipon
now leaves the legacy of being the face of the Australian $50 note. He
began his education at the age of seven at the Pont McLeay Mission
School and was known by his teachers for his intelligence. He held
various jobs including a servant, bootmaker and book-keeper. He
became known as the Australian Leonardo da Vinci for his mechanical
ideas which included pre WWI drawings for a helicopter based on the
principle of the boomerang. He invented various machines including a
shearing machine which is the basis of modern mechanical shears
today. He received no financial return and no formal
acknowledgement. He was a great writer and public speaker and was
the first Aboriginal writer to publish in English. His legacy continues
today on our $50 note.
Neville Bonner was the first Aboriginal person to sit in Federal
Parliament as a Senator for Queensland from 1971 to 1983. Having
a limited education and working various labour orientated jobs,
Neville lived on Palm Island for five years where he further
experienced the hardships of indigenous people. In 1967 after the
referendum that gave indigenous people the right to vote Bonner
decided to make his first move into politics as he recognised that to
make change he needed to be part of the system. In 1971 for the
first time in Australian history there was an aboriginal voice in
"We've got to come together, that's what we want for Australia. A one
people. We're all Australians, regardless of your ethnic background,
regardless of your political belief, regardless of your religious beliefs we
are all Australians."