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Schrieber, Lorna (1926 - 1993)

Yarrabah Mission, Queensland, Australia
Cairns?, Queensland, Australia
Traditional Aboriginal Custodian, Welfare worker and Aboriginal Storyteller
Alternative Names
  • Balurr Wuppi


Lorna Schrieber (Balurr Wuppi), a descendant of the Gungganyji group of Yidinjdji people, was brought up in the girls dormitory between the ages of ten and sixteen, until 1942, when Yarrabah parents successfully appealed to the bishop of north Queensland to allow their children to live at home.

Lorna married Steven Schrieber, who became Yarrabah overseer while she worked in the welfare clinic. They moved to Cairns to give their children better schooling opportunities. They were given a large government house and fostered Aboriginal children from the outback who could then attend school.

In 1977, at the insistence of her people, Lorna was anointed Queen of Yarrabah by the bishop of north Queensland. She was one of the last Gungganyji speakers and custodians, and helped record traditional songs and stories. She paid regular visits to Yarrabah, encouraging children to speak the language and preserve the knowledge of their ancestors.

Sources used to compile this entry: Horton, David (ed.). The Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia, Vol. 2, Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra, 1994, pp. 968-9.

Leonarda Kovacic and Barbara Lemon

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