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Watson, Maureen (1931 - 2009)

Born
9 November 1931
Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia
Died
4 January 2009
Occupation
Aboriginal Storyteller, Actor, Singer and Aboriginal activist

Summary

Maureen Watson was born in Rockhampton in 1930. Of Biri descent, spent her early life in rural Queensland, moving to Brisbane with her five sons in 1970. She became heavily involved in the struggle for indgenous right and justice throughout the 1970s and 80s, as her participation in protests at the Brisbane Commonwealth Games testified to. She developed a well deserved reputation as a storyteller, her major medium for the promotion of Aboriginal culture.

Details

Maureen Watson was born in 1931 in Rockhampton, Queensland, of Biri descent. She spent her early life in rural Queensland, left school at 13, married, and had five children.

She later returned to school and matriculated, and then moved to Brisbane with her five sons to begin an arts degree at the University of Queensland in 1970. She completed two years of her course before the pressures of raising a family forced her to quit. Over succeeding years, she emerged as a poet, singer, actor and political activist.

Moving to Sydney, she set up the Aboriginal Peoples Gallery in Redfern in 1981. She was at the forefront of the Aboriginal protests against the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane in 1982, and was arrested three times while participating in demonstrations.

Black Reflections, a collection of her stories and poems, was published in 1982, followed by Kaiyu's Waiting, a school kit of children's stories, in 1984. She was the narrator for Robert Bropho's film, Mundu Nyuringu, in 1983, and she appeared in Jack Davis' play, The Honey Spot, in its 1986 tour of Victoria and New South Wales.

Storytelling remained her major medium for promoting Aboriginal culture, and she has travelled widely in Australia, New Zealand and Europe to give storytelling presentations. Her stories told about the Aboriginal experience of urban life.

Sources used to compile this entry: Horton, David (ed.). The Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia, Vol. 2, Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra, 1994, p. 1163; Wikipedia entry, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maureen_Watson.

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