HerStory Archive

BARAMBAH, Maroochy

Also known as: Yvette Isaacs (former name)

Born: c. 1950

Aboriginal or Torrest Stait Islander: Yes

Special Achievements:

Maroochy Barambah is a distinguished Indigenous musician whose career since the 1970s has spanned the genres of jazz, rock, musical theatre and classical opera.  She was the first Indigenous Australian to sing professionally on the Australian operatic stage in 1989 (in Black River); co-lead in the first Aboriginal musical (Bran Nue Dae 1990); was the first Aborigine to sing the national anthem at Sydney's Australia Day celebrations (1993); was the first Australian singer to perform at the United Nations Goodwill Concert (New York, 1993), in honour of the International Year for the World's Indigenous Peoples; and the first Aborigine to sing the national anthem at an AFL Grand Final (1993). In November 1995, Maroochy starred in the American opera Porgy & Bess and became the first Indigenous Australian to perform in an opera at the Sydney Opera House.

Maroochy is the Songwoman and Law-woman of the Turrbal People – the Traditional Owners of Brisbane.  She hopes to continue to work in the area of the performing arts, while at the same time engender better understanding of Aboriginal culture.

Additional Information:

At the age of 12 Maroochy was taken from her family and fostered out to a family in Melbourne.  Maroochy later attended the Melba Conservatorium of Music in Melbourne and the Victorian College of the Arts where she graduated in Dramatic Arts in 1979.

Over the years, Maroochy has acted in a number of television series, such as Women of the Sun. She has performed in numerous concerts and once had her own jazz/reggae band.

Maroochy has also had an extensive community involvement over many years working with the younger generation of Indigenous Australians in the arts industry.  She has delivered several lectures on Aboriginal culture in various institutions and was a keynote speaker at the Australian Reconciliation Convention in Melbourne in May 1997.


Resources

  • Image - Maroochy Barambah

    Image courtesy of Maroochy Barambah, NPWHF collection


  • References

    Maroochy Barambah is a co-contributor to the book Going Digital 2000: Legal Issues for E-Commerce, Software and the Internet  on the issue of the protection of Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property.