Media event date: 
26 January 2021
Date published: 
27 January 2021
Media type: 
Media release
General public

Congratulations Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann AM from the Northern Territory, who has been named the Senior Australian of the year for 2021.

Dr Ungunmerr Baumann was recognised for her contribution to children’s education, demonstrating an admirable commitment to making Australia a better place.

Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, Richard Colbeck, said Dr Ungunmerr Baumann had gone above and beyond in her service to education in the Top End.

“Miriam-Rose became the first fully qualified Aboriginal teacher in the Northern Territory in 1975, and later served as the principal of the Catholic school in her home community,” Minister Colbeck said.

“She is a renowned artist and a strong advocate for visual art to be a part of every child’s education.

“The Miriam Rose Foundation, which she began, is driving reconciliation at the grassroots level by bridging the divide between Aboriginal culture and wider Australian society.

“The Senior Australian of the Year award is recognition of significant achievement over many years, but it also highlights that dedicated Australians working for their communities come from all walks of life and background.”

Minister Colbeck also paid tribute to the other nominees from across Australia and the winners in each state and territory.

“It must be a difficult task narrowing down the nominees each year, looking through those shortlisted for this honour shows that you can always make a difference.

“While there is only one Senior Australian of the Year, I am continually impressed by all of those Australians who are nominated - they should all be rightly proud of their achievements.”

Congratulations to each of the 2021 Senior Australian of the Year finalists, who continue to inspire and contribute to their communities.

New South Wales

Aunty Isabel Reid

Elder, survivor and advocate for the Stolen Generation


Bich Cam Nguyen

Refugee and migrant advocate, multicultural leader, CEO of the Australian Vietnamese Women’s Association


Aunty McRose Elu

Advocate for Torres Strait communities and climate change


Brian Williams

Scout leader and mentor

South Australia

Professor Richard Bruggemann

Disability advocate

Western Australia

Dr Richard Walley OAM

Aboriginal cultural champion, musician, performer and artist

Australian Capital Territory

Patricia Anderson AO

Writer and advocate for the health of Australia’s First Peoples