Dr G Yunupingu, a leading Indigenous musician and member of the Gumatj nation, sadly passed away in Darwin yesterday.
Dr G Yunupingu’s achievements over his life have left a legacy in the music industry, Indigenous community and across the whole nation.
Tragically, Dr G Yunupingu passed away too early after a long battle with illness.
He was born in remote Galiwinku (Elcho Island) off the coast of North East Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory in 1971.
From an early age, he learnt to play guitar and then as a teenager joined the acclaimed Yothu Yindi band – a band that changed the Australian music industry, but more importantly changed the psyche of our nation.
Through his role in the Yothu Yindi band and his later solo career, Dr G Yunupingu brought issues affecting remote Galiwinku to the forefront of mainstream Australia.
He showcased Australia and our music industry to the world and as a solo artist performed for the likes of former US President Barack Obama and Queen Elizabeth.
Dr G Yunupingu also worked hard to deliver better outcomes for his community, and through the Yunupingu Foundation, has left a legacy that is supporting young First Australians to participate in art and cultural programmes and contribute to their communities.
He was greatly supported by many friends and colleagues, particularly through his long partnership with skinnyfish music.
Dr G Yunupingu was a hero of North East Arnhem Land and a champion of the Indigenous music industry. But more than that, he was a hero of Australia and champion of our entire music scene.
He demonstrated how Indigenous culture is at the heart of Australian culture.
On behalf of the Australian Government, I express my deepest condolences to the family of Dr G Yunupingu at this difficult time and pass on my condolences to members of the Gumatj nation.