Cobar’s 2018 Australia Day Ambassador is John Kundereri Moriarty AM, who has overcome adversity to achieve great success in multiple fields.
Mr Moriarty is a life-long advocate for Aboriginal equality, reconciliation and cultural preservation.
He is co-founder and co-chairman of The Nangala Project, a not-for-profit initiative which creates sustainable opportunities that help relieve poverty and disadvantage among the youth in Australia’s remote Indigenous communities.
Born in Borroloola, NT, where he is now a full member of the Yanyuway people, Mr Moriarty is part of the stolen generation after being removed from his mother at the age of four for being ‘half-caste’ due to his father being an Irishman.
Mr Moriarty has held senior and executive positions in the Department of Aboriginal Affairs at both federal and state government level.
His art career began after graduating from Flinders University with a Bachelor of Arts.
Moriarty founded the Jumbana Group in 1983 which is now Balarinji; a leading indigenous design and strategy company in Sydney.
In 1994 he was commissioned by Qantas to design artwork for a Boeing 747-400.
Mr Moriarty also received the South Australian Aboriginal Businessman of the Year title in 1992; an Honorary Doctorate of the University (University of South Australia) in 1997; and the Flinders University Convocation Medal in 2001.
He is a former board member of nine national and state committees; a former chairman of two and deputy chair of one.
In 2014 he was inducted into the Australian Design Hall of Fame and in 2015 was inducted into the Football Federation of Australia Hall of Fame.
Between 1994 and 2004 Moriarty served on the board of Indigenous Business Australia and is a recipient of an Advance Australia Award for service to industry and commerce.
Mr Moriarty was also recognised for his service to Australia and awarded the Order of Australia in 2000.
Mr Moriarty is also well known as the first recognised Indigenous Australian to be selected for a national soccer team in 1960.
The Australian national team was due to tour Hong Kong but the tour was cancelled after Australia’s expulsion from FIFA.
His soccer career ended after a collision with a goalkeeper. He represented South Australia in 17 games.
In 2000, he published the best-selling autobiography Saltwater Fella for which he won a Highly Commended Australian Human Rights Commission Literary Award.
Mr Moriarty will present the Australia Day awards and give an address this Friday at Cobar Memorial Swimming Pool.