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Warumungu traditional owner Aunty Rosemary Plummer OAM

Aunt Rosemary Plummer OAM Warumungu traditional owner

Plummer was born at the Phillip Creek Mission in 1955 . She was educated at Kormilda College, Darwin, between 1969 and 1971 and was then employed as a teacher at Tennant Creek and also as a Warumungu interpreter. Plummer is a Warumungu custodian and has been actively involved in the campaign to have Aboriginal tribal law recognised by the Australian legal system. Rosemary grew up at Alekarenge ( Ali-Curung) and travelled around with her parents, over the Barkly Tablelands and all around Anmatyerr, Warlpiri and Kaytetye country. After doing office training at Kormilda College in Darwin, Rosemary was living in Tennant Creek with her family when her mother died. She worked for Native Affairs, where her father had worked as a patrol officer. She was a field officer at the Department of Aboriginal Affairs in the 1980s and worked at Tennant Creek High School as cultural resource officer. She is a qualified interpreter and interpreted on the Warumungu land claim, the longest running claim in Australia. She was a founding member of the Papulu Apparr-kari Indigenous Language Centre.

Order of Australia Medal in the 2020

Rosemary’s OAM honour was especially timely, marking 50 years since her late father, Teddy Plummer*, received the British Empire Medal.

A prize-winning poet and published author, Rosemary has an impressive resumé of achievements and has made protecting Aboriginal culture and languages her mission.

Each Thursday she teaches Warumungu at the primary school.

“We write little stories and songs for the children in Warumungu and the kids like it. They have their favourite songs in the language and they sing it,” she said.

Rosemary is a founding member of the Papulu Apparr-Kari Language Centre and Barkly Regional Arts and remains a member of both organisations.

She began work with the Department of Native Affairs at just 15 as a translator, where she still works under the ever-changing department banner.

“As a human you have to feel proud for achieving something and working very hard for so long,” she said.

“Back when I first started work I received $30 every fortnight, it was hard work.”

Rosemary also works part-time at the Language Centre to continue recording and preserving the Indigenous languages of the Barkly.


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