10 years of exponential transformation
June 3, 2022
2022 marks the 10 year anniversary of Moriarty Foundation delivering transformational change in some of Australia’s most disadvantaged and remote Aboriginal communities.
Our story began in the late 1930s when co-founder John Moriarty was born to a Yanyuwa mother and Irish father in Borroloola in the remote Gulf of Carpentaria, Northern Territory.
Because John’s skin was paler than his mother’s, John was taken from her at the age of four as part of the now-infamous assimilationist policies of the Stolen Generations, a government strategy to eradicate Aboriginality.
Moriarty Foundation founders, John Moriarty AM – the first Indigenous footballer to be selected to play for Australia – and Ros Moriarty, met in Canberra in the late 1970s and began working on ideas to celebrate the beauty of Aboriginal art and culture through design. Their three children, James, Tim, and Julia, have each played a part in the Moriarty Foundation and its programs.
In 1983, Ros and John founded Australia’s foremost Indigenous design and strategy studio, Balarinji. Balarinji is best known for the Qantas-Balarinji Flying Art Series, five Qantas aircraft featuring Aboriginal designs.
In 2012, at the request of Borroloola’s senior Law women who wanted to see their grandchildren educated, the Moriartys established the Moriarty Foundation to deliver two programs, Indi Kindi and John Moriarty Football.
These programs were piloted in Borroloola where cultural traditions are strong and the local languages include Yanyuwa, Garrwa, Marra, Gudanji, and Binbingka.
The Borroloola area has been home to the Yanyuwa for tens of thousands of years. They are li-antha-wirriyara, people of the salt water. Borroloola and its surrounding communities face complex multi-generational issues of disadvantage and trauma. Extreme remoteness and low levels of education, health, and employment are the context for Moriarty Foundation’s breakthrough impacts.
From our Borroloola beginnings, today we reach over 2,000 Indigenous children each week in 19 remote and regional communities and 20 public schools in Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales through our interrelated programs. We are achieving proven progress in 13 of the 17 Closing the Gap targets.
Our programs succeed because we are Indigenous-founded, Indigenous-delivered, embedded, holistic and authentic.
To celebrate our 10 years of delivering transformational change, over the coming weeks we’ll be sharing some of our major milestones, achievements and stories looking at how we have grown, and evolved, and celebrating special moments and the people who make Moriarty Foundation so special.
We are deeply grateful to our partners, principle supporters, generous individual donors, volunteers, ambassadors, staff and our volunteer Board who have supported us over the past decade and helped us to enable Aboriginal families and communities to unlock their children’s potential.