Vale Yunupingu – Yolŋu elder, leader and campaigner

3 Apr 2023

The Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation (ILSC) would like to acknowledge with great sadness the passing of Yolŋu Elder, Yunupingu, aged 74.

Born at Ganyangara on the Gove Peninsula in north-east Arnhem Land, Yunupingu was a passionate campaigner, spending his life fiercely fighting for Indigenous rights, not only for his Gumatj clan, but his Country and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.

Yunupingu’s leadership includes many triumphs, such as creating the first bark petition presented to the Australian Parliament in 1963 (followed by another bark petition in 1988), being named Australian of the Year in 1978 and Chairing the Yothu Yindi Foundation, overseeing the establishment of various education facilities for Aboriginal communities.

Ian Hamm, ILSC Chair offered his condolences to Yunupingu’s family and friends, “On behalf of the ILSC, we are deeply sorry to hear of Yunupingu’s passing.”

“Yunupingu was a respected and remarkable Elder. His achievements will forever live on through his family and his many contributions to the Indigenous community and to the Australian nation leaving behind a legacy,” said Mr Hamm.

Yunupingu was a recognised singer, activist, lawman and importantly, a friend to many. His loss is profound. Vale Yunupingu.

With family at the 2018 Garma Festival. Image by Melanie Faith, Yothu Yindi Foundation
With family at the 2018 Garma Festival | Image by Melanie Faith, Yothu Yindi Foundation

Share this post