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Bell, Jeanie (1949 - )

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Aboriginal Linguist, Educator and Academic


Jeanie Bell is a linguist and educator who has lived and worked in Queensland, Victoria and the Northern Territory. Over the course of her career Bell has made an extraordinary contribution to the development of Aboriginal education within the tertiary sector, and to the preservation of Aboriginal linguistic heritage.


Jeanie Bell was born in 1949 and grew up in Brisbane. After leaving school she moved to Melbourne, where she worked first as a secretary and then as a nurse. Following her graduation from Monash University, Bell spent three years in Alice Springs teaching linguistics at the Yipirnya school and training Aboriginal interpreters for the Institute for Aboriginal Development, in addition to her work editing two books for the Aboriginal Languages Association.

In 1984 she was appointed Lecturer in Aboriginal Studies at the Northern Rivers College of Advanced Education in New South Wales. The following year she became the University of Queensland's first coordinator of the Aboriginal and Islander Studies Unit. She subsequently returned to Alice Springs as acting assistant director of the Institute for Aboriginal Development.

In 1988, Bell was a member of the National Aboriginal and Islander Education Policy Task Force, and in 1990 she undertook research for the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. Her research interests have included work on historical dictionaries of the Gubbi Gubbi and Badtjala languages, and biographical work.

Sources used to compile this entry: Horton, David (ed.). The Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia, Vol. 1, Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra, 1994, p. 115.

Leonarda Kovacic and Barbara Lemon

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