Bibliography Oodgeroo Noonuccal
OodgerooNoonuccal was until her death in 1993 one of the bestsellingindigenous Australian writer. She was born Kathleen Jean Mary Ruskain November 1920 in a family of seven children. Her father, EdwardRuska was from the tribe of Noonuccal – the traditional inhabitantsof Minjerribah or the NorthStradbroke Island. He was campaigning as a poorly paid aboriginalState workers in a union of Indigenous Australians (Sharkey, 2016).She was educated at the Dunwich State School up to the age ofthirteen when she went to seek domestic employment in 1933 due to theeconomic depression.
Shewas poorly paid but lacked better opportunities for being a woman ofAboriginal background. In 1939 she enlisted for service in theAustralian Women’s Army Service where she grew through the ranks tobecoming a Corporal and switchboard operator during the Second WorldWar In 1942 she got married to Bruce Raymond Walker with whom she hadher first son Denis in 1946, but they divorced around the same time(Sharkey, 2016). During her marriage to Walker, she lost her hearingwhich cost her the position in the army who only offered to pay for asecretarial and bookkeeping training at Brisbane Commercial College.As a couple, they also joined the Communist Party of Australia thatwas the only anti-white party in the country. After the separation,she worked in another domestic job to support her son where sheconceived her second born daughter, Vivian, by one of the employer`ssons – Raphael Junior.
Herinterest in writing can be traced to the 1950`s where she joined theRealist Writers Group in Brisbane. In 1963 she presented forpublication a manuscript containing her poem collection at JacarandaPress who published it later in 1964 titled ‘We Are Going.` Some ofher other published poetry collections included ‘My People: A KathWalker Collection’ and ‘Kath Walker in China.’ TheSpirit of Australia (1989),Towardsa Global Village in the Southern Hemisphere (1989),AustralianLegends and Landscapes (1990),and Australia`sUnwritten History: and Some Legends of Our Land (1992)were also published by her (APL,2017).
Sheauthored several poetic books during this time with the same themelike ‘The Dawn is at Hand’ published in 1966 which won her theJessie Litchfield Award later in 1975. The book led to the Aboriginalright to vote to get recognition in the constitution in 1967. Anotable poem like ‘Aboriginal Charter of Rights.’ protested theimbalance and asked for a change in the way Aborigines were beingtreated (APL, 2017). In 1972 she published StradbrokeDreamtime’ that was her actual bibliography.In 1978 she traveled to the US to lecture on Aborigine life where shewon the Black Makers Award in California in 1977 for her role in thefilm ‘Shadow Sister’. She wrote more material in her lifetimeincluding children books like TheRainbow Serpent (1988)that she co-authored with her son.
Herpoetry protested the imbalance between the whites and blacks oraboriginal Australians. This was also during her entry into activismthrough joining the Queensland Council for the Advancement ofAborigines and Torres Strait Islanders (QCAATSI) and later FederalCouncil for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders(FCAATSI). In 1965 she stood for elections as the electorate ofGreenslopes, in her home state but lost. Thousands visited her in herstate where she had settled to learn the aborigine ways first-hand.In 1988 she returned an MBE offered to her in 1970 as a sign ofprotest for the continuing oppression of the aborigine population.During this time is when she adopted her tribal name Oodgeroo.She received several honorary degrees for her literary works duringher lifetime. She later died in her home in Stradbroke Island in1993.
APL.(2017). AboriginalCharter Of Rights. Retrieved on 6thof April 2017 from,https://www.poetrylibrary.edu.au/poets/noonuccal-oodgeroo/aboriginal-charter-of-rights-0719030#
Sharkey,M. (2016). PoeticEye: Occasional Writings 1982-2012.Brill.
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