Item F3874 - Kath Walker talks to Paul Tripcony

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Kath Walker talks to Paul Tripcony


  • 1973 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

1 sound cassette (60 min.)

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Oodgeroo Noonuccal of the Noonuccal tribe of North Stradbroke Island near Brisbane, was a poet and Aboriginal activist. She was born Kathleen Jean Mary Ruska on 3 November 1920 at Bulimba (then in the Shire of Balmoral and from 1925 a suburb of Brisbane). Her parents were Edward (Ted) Ruska, and Lucy, nee McCullough. She was the second youngest of seven children. Her father was a Noonuccal descendant. Ruska's childhood home was One Mile on North Stradbroke Island on the outskirts of Dunwich. She completed her education at Dunwich State school in 1934, at the age of thirteen, and left home to work in Brisbane. In 1941 she enlisted in the Australian Women's Army Service and was discharged in 1944. She married Bruce Walker, a childhood friend, on 8 May 1943. The couple had one son, but later separated. Kath Walker later worked for Raphael and Phyllis Cilento. In 1953, she had a son with the Cilentos' son, Raphael junior.

Kath Walker was involved in numerous organisations. From 1961 to 1970 she was the Queensland State Secretary of the Federal Council for the Advancement of Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders as well as an Executive of the Queensland Aboriginal Advancement League and Secretary of the Queensland State Council for the Advancement of Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders. She was a member of the Aboriginal Arts Board, the Aboriginal Housing Committee, the Australian-American Bicentennial Committee. She was also the Chairperson of the Cultural Committee of the Queensland Multicultural Task Force in 1978 and later the Managing Director of the Noonuccal-Nughie Education and Cultural Centre.

During her lifetime Kath Walker filled several lecturing and artistic positions. These included Adult Education Lecturer; Delegate to the World Council of Churches Consultation on Racism; Guest Lecturer at the University of South Pacific; Official Australian Envoy on a Diplomatic Passport to International Writers' Conference in Malaysia; Senior Advisor to the Australian Aboriginal Contingent to the First World Black Festival of Arts in Nigeria; Guest of the Government of Papua New Guinea for the PNG Festival of Arts; Delegate to the Second World Black Festival of Arts; Lecturer and assistant to Professor P. Edwards, Camp Jungai pre-tertiary Aboriginal students summer camp; Remedial Tutor at the Dunwich State Primary School. She toured the United States on a Fullbright Scholarship and Myers travel grant lecturing on Australian Indigenous culture.

In 1981 Kath Walker launched her new career as a painter and fabric designer. Her first exhibition was in July 1981. In an article by Bruce Dickson, Kath Walker says that "painting has always been her first love [as] it communicates more effectively than the written word".

In protest at the 1988 Australian Bicentenary celebrations, in 1987 Kath Walker changed her name to Oodgeroo of the Noonuccal tribe. In the same year she returned the MBE (awarded in 1970) to the Governor of Queensland.

She died of cancer on 16 September 1993.

Name of creator


Biographical history

Paul Ambrose Tripcony was born on 12 April 1901 at Myora Mission, on North Stradbroke Island. His parents were Thomas Buchanan Tripcony (1870-1958) and his wife, Mary Rose Tyrrell Rollins (1867-1939). Paul Tripcony was one of eight children. He worked as a grader driver, machinery man, and roadmaker. Tripcony was interested in Australian aborigines and their culture and collected aboriginal artefacts. He had an extensive collection of both Australian and overseas literature, which covered his wide range of interests from politics to poetry. Paul Tripcony died on 12 August 1975.

Archival history

Previously catalogued in the Fryer Library general collection: DU280.S85 W3 1973

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Sound recording from 1973 or 1974 by Oodgeroo Noonuccal, and others, interviewing Paul Tripcony while he was on a visit to MinJerribah.

Content advice: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are warned that this resource may contain voices, images, transcripts or names of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples now deceased. It may also contain historically and culturally sensitive words, terms, and descriptions.

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Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Restricted access, due to fragility. Access can only be given to digitised copy held in Fryer Library (Restricted) collection in UQ eSpace.

Conditions governing reproduction

In copyright. Can be reproduced for personal research and study. For other uses see About copyright. Please attribute the Fryer Library.

Language of material

  • Australian Language
  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

There are two copies and neither are not to be played. One copy may be faulty.

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Digital copy held in Fryer Library (Restricted) collection in UQ eSpace.

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Publication note

This material has been cited in:

Kerkhove, R (2019) ‘Reconstructing the Battle of ’Narawai (Moongalba)’', Queensland review (St. Lucia), 26(1):3–31, doi:10.1017/qre.2019.4.

Kirkwood, S (2016) 'Music museum curatorship : reclaiming rights and responsibilities for musicking on Minjerribah (north Stradbroke Island), Australia', A Cultural Cacophony : Museum perspectives and projects, Sydney : NSW branch of Museums Galleries Australia, pp. 143-157.

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Alternative identifier(s)

Invalid MMS ID


Former call number

DU280.S85 W3 1973

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Dates of creation revision deletion

Created, Linda Justo, 21-Feb-2024.




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