- 1916-1985 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
28 boxes, 1 parcel, 4 albums, 1 oversize folder
Name of creator
Oodgeroo Noonuccal of the Noonuccal tribe of North Stradbroke Island near Brisbane, was a poet and Aboriginal activist. Born on 3 November 1920 at Bulimba Brisbane to 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 but the marriage did not last. She worked for Raphael and Phyliis Cilento.
Kath Walker was involved in numerous committees including: Queensland State Secretary for the Federal Council for the Advancement of Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders (1961-1970); Executive of the Queensland Aboriginal Advancement League (1961-170); Secretary of the Queensland State Council for the Advancement of Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders (1961-1970); Chairperson of the National rial Council; Member of the Aboriginal Arts Board; Chairperson of the Aboriginal Publications; Member of the Aboriginal Housing Committee; Members of the Australian-American Bicentennial Committee; Chairperson of the Cultural Committee of the Queensland Multicultural Task Force (1978); Managing Director of the Noonuccal-Nughie Education and Cultural Centre.
Kath Walker undertook several lecturing and artisitic positions inlcuidng: Adult Education Lecturer; Delegate to the World Council of Churches Consultation on Racism; Gues Lecturer at the University of South Pacific; Offical 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 n Nigeria; Guest of the Government of Papua New Guinea for their 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; toured the United States on a Fullbright Scholarship and Myers travel grant lecturing on Aboriginal culture.
In 1981 Kath Walker launched her new career as a painter and fabric designer with her first exhibition 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 Queensland's Governor.
She died from cancer on 16 September 1993.
Collection previously titled as: Papers, [194-?]-[ca.1985]
Collection alternatively titled as: Oodgeroo Noonuccal Collection.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Content and structure area
Scope and content
This collection contains poetry, prose, speeches, and reports; correspondence; photographs, newspaper cuttings; press releases; invitations; programmes; research material; and plans.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
System of arrangement
This collection was rearranged in early 2020. Series titles from the previous online listing have been retained with additional series created as required. Where possible, previous box numbers are recorded in the notes field.
Conditions of access and use area
Conditions governing access
Conditions governing reproduction
Language of material
- Australian Language
Script of material
Language and script notes
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
Allied materials area
Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
Related units of description
Material from this collection has been cited in:
Piccini, J. (2019). Human rights in twentieth-century Australia, Cambridge University Press.
The Australian women's register, AWH000383
This collection may contain culturally sensitive words or descriptions, some of which might not normally be used in certain public or community contexts.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are warned that this manuscript collection may contain images or names of Aboriginal and Islander people now deceased.
The creator has been identified by the name used at the time of creation with the exception of the top-level description.
Alma MMS ID
Alma Local System Number
Millennium Local System Number
Libraries Australia ID
Place access points
Name access points
- Oodgeroo Noonuccal, 1920-1993 (Subject)
Genre access points
Description control area
Rules and/or conventions used
Level of detail
Dates of creation revision deletion
Revised, Linda Justo, 21-May-2020;
Migrated from LMS: April 2019, P.A.