Laurie Baymarrwangga – Senior Australian of the Year 2012

In the nine decades since her birth on the island of Murrungga, Laurie Baymarrwangga has seen the arrival of missionaries, exploitation by Japanese and European fishermen, war and tumultuous change. Undaunted, she has almost single-handedly nurtured the inter-generational transmission of local ecological knowledge through a lifelong commitment to caring for kin, culture and country. In the 1960s Laurie established a housing project on her homelands that has benefitted generations of kin. Speaking no English, with no access to funding, resources or expertise she initiated the Yan-nhangu dictionary project. Her cultural maintenance projects include the Crocodile Islands Rangers, a junior rangers group and an online Yan-nhangu dictionary for school children. In 2010, after a struggle stretching back to 1945, Laurie finally received back payments for rents owed to her as the land and sea owner of her father’s estate. She donated it all, around $400,000, to improve education and employment opportunities on the island and to establish a 1,000 square kilometre turtle sanctuary on her marine estate. In the face of many obstacles, this great, great grandmother has shown extraordinary leadership and courage in caring for the cultural and biological integrity of her beloved Crocodile Islands.

4 thoughts on “Laurie Baymarrwangga – Senior Australian of the Year 2012

  1. What a wonderful woman! I got joy-tears in my eyes while listening about her and her life. 🙂 We need more women in the world like her!
    Thank you for sharing her with us, Uta!
    I looked her up on Wikipedia and was sad to see she died in 2014.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Carolyn. Imagine, she did live well into her nineties! She must have been a very strong and healthy and active woman. It is really very remarkable.
      Hugs from me, Uta 🙂

  2. Cat, in Wikipedia you can actually find a lot about her legacy:

    When I looked up today what I published in June 2012, I found this:

    The Link:

    If you go to Gerard’s blog via the above link you can find out all about this special woman in her nineties who became Australian Senior of the Year.

    It’s immensely gratifying that she received this award..

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