HerStory Archive

KUNOTH-MONKS, Rosalie Lynette

Also known as: Ngarla KUNOTH, "Rosie"

Born: 1937

Aboriginal or Torrest Stait Islander: Yes

Special Achievements:

In 1955, Rosalie became the first Aboriginal female to take lead role in a feature film (Jedda).  This film was Australia's first feature-length colour movie. After leaving the film industry she became the first Aboriginal Anglican nun in the early 1960s. Rosalie left the church after about 12 years, when she started to feel an alienation from her people.  She went on to work in the field of Aboriginal welfare, for example setting up the first family group home for Aboriginal children in Melbourne.  She went on to marry Bill Monks and, with their family, returned to Alice Springs in 1977.  The then Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, Paul Everingham appointed her an advisor on Aboriginal affairs.  Rosalie stood for election to the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly in 1979.  She campaigned to oppose the proposed construction of a dam that threatened to destroy land sacred to her people.  She lost that election but went on to continuing activism.

Additional Information:

Rosalie has held numerous positions of responsibility, including being President, Barkly Shire and President, Utopia, the Urapunjta Aboriginal Corporation.

In 1993, she was awarded the Order of Australia for her service to the Aboriginal community.


Resources

  • Image - Photo

    Ngarla Kunoth (Rosalie Kunoth-Monks)

    Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ngarla_Kunoth_(Rosalie_Kunoth-Monks).jpg


  • References

    Rosalie Kunoth-Monks features in Helen Chryssides' book  Local Heroes (Collins Dove, 1993) which profiles ten prominent Aboriginal people,