Thursday, 3 November 2011

Oodgeroo Noonuccal

If anyone has caught today's Google doodle, you should take a moment to stop and feel proud.

Not the "I've personally done something fabulous" kind of proud, but rather the "Someone else has done something fabulous and I feel happy that they have been celebrated" kind of proud.

Google is celebrating Oodgeroo Noonuccal's 91st birthday today.

For those of you who might not be familiar with Australian poets, Oodgeroo Noonuccal (once known as Kath Walker) was an Indigenous Australian poet and activist. She was one of the first Aboriginal woman to have a book published, and was once one of Australia's best selling poets. Oh, yeah, and she was a wireless operator during World War Two.

During the latter half of the 20th Century, she was one of the clearest and best loved voices of Aboriginal culture, and established literary and cultural programmes in schools and universities. She had a magical ability to take complex issues and use poetry to find the simple message at the heart of the matter. Her poems were entertaining, thought provoking and accessible, and often acted as a window into the life of Aboriginal women.

She was smart, she was influential, she was ground breaking...

But more importantly: she was a great poet.

We once used a library book display to argue that we should have more poets on our money, and should replace the Parliament House on the $5 note with C.J. Dennis. Well, Dennis does rock, but quite frankly Oodgeroo Noonuccal deserves it more. She deserves to be someone we all encounter in our day-to-day lives.

If you've never read one of her poems, well you should get yourself into one of our campus Libraries. We've got collections of her poems and books about her life at both Townsville and Cairns. You should search for "Oodgeroo Noonuccal" OR "Kath Walker" using OneSearch or our Catalogue to get the best range of results.

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