Queenie McKenzie ( 1915 – 1998)

Queenie (or Mingmarriya) was born on the banks of the Ord River in the Kimberleys to an indigenous mother and white father at a time when children with mixed parentage were often removed by the Government and sent to an institution. In an effort to keep her safe her mother rubbed charcoal into her skin enabling Queenie to remain on the cattle station where she worked as a cook and gained a love and understanding of country. She is quoted as saying “Every rock, every hill, every water, I know that place backwards and forwards, up and down, inside out. It’s my country and I got names for every place”.

She displayed this feel for the land in her contemporary Indigenous art which remains among Australia’s most collectible with many artworks being autobiographical, and others depicting the violent colonial past.

McKenzie’s importance has been recognized by the government of Western Australia, which declared her as a “State Living Treasure” the year of her death.

Celebrating the women from our past to the present who have helped shape Australia.

5 thoughts on “Queenie McKenzie ( 1915 – 1998)

  1. Marcile Howes

    There are so many “pioneers” who have made such a difference in so many ways. Hopefully the world will continue to be a better, more loving and accepting place for people of all backgrounds. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think we are destined to stumble from one crisis to the next but hopefully will learn from each experience. Unfortunately people forget quickly and history is always written by the winners.


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