Activist, educator and artist Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann AM has been named the 2021 Senior Australian of the Year.
Activist, educator and artist Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann AM has been named the 2021 Senior Australian of the Year.

First Aboriginal teacher named Senior Australian of the Year

TERRITORY activist, educator and artist Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann AM has been named the 2021 Senior Australian of the Year.

Dr Ungunmerr Baumann AM, from Daly River, became the Northern Territory's first fully qualified Aboriginal teacher in 1975 before becoming the principal of her home community's school.

She then went on to visit schools through the Top End advocating for the inclusion of art in Territory kids' education as an art consultant for the NT Department of Education.

The 73-year-old was awarded the prestigious Senior Australian of the Year award at a ceremony in Canberra this evening.

Beyond teaching, Dr Ungunmerr Baumann continued working to bridge the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians and advocating for the independence of her people when she was appointed to the Federal Government's National Indigenous Council, and then by establishing the Miriam Rose Foundation in 2013.

In recognition of her leadership, she was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia medal in 1998 and an Honorary PhD in Education from Charles Darwin University in 2002.

"Through her professional and creative life, Miriam-Rose has remained dedicated to maintaining the cultural independence of her people and being a spokesperson for the Aboriginal worldview," the judging panel said.

sarah.matthews@news.com.au

Originally published as The Territory's first Aboriginal teacher named Senior Australian of the Year