Indigenous heritage and biodiversity expert to help lead Australia’s bush foods industry

26 February 2021

Indigenous rights activist and expert in Indigenous intellectual and cultural property and heritage, Professor Henrietta Marrie AM has joined the ARC Uniquely Australian Foods (UAF) Training Centre, based at The University of Queensland.

Professor Marrie will provide advice on the strategic direction of UAF research and best practice protocols to protect the rights and interests of Indigenous project participants.

Professor Henrietta Marrie AM. Photo © The State of Queensland, 2018.

UAF Director, Professor Yasmina Sultanbawa, said Professor Marrie would play a critical role in driving the Australian native foods industry forward.

“We are working with Indigenous communities across Australia, food industry entrepreneurs, and a research team spanning law, engineering, food science and the social sciences, to create a new agri-food sector based on Australia’s remarkable native bush foods like Kakadu plum (also known as Gubinge).

“Professor Marrie brings a wealth of experience to UAF and will help shape the industry, while ensuring the cultural heritage and traditional knowledge of foods eaten by Australia’s First Peoples over many thousands of years will be sustainably developed and benefits shared amongst communities.”

 “I am a Gimuy Yidinji woman of Cairns, born and raised in Yarrabah,” Professor Marrie said.

“My interests include biocultural diversity, indigenous intellectual property, and traditional ecological knowledge.

Professor Marrie was the first Aboriginal person from Australia to be selected for a full-time professional position with the United Nations agency, the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity of the United Nations Environment Programme based in Montreal, Canada.

“As an activist I have fought for the recognition of Aboriginal peoples’ intellectual property and cultural rights and particularly for access to and repatriation of ancestral remains, cultural objects and important historical information from national and state museums and archives,” Professor Marrie said.

Professor Marrie (née Fourmile) has produced over 100 papers and reports in academic journals and has chapters in many edited books. She has a Masters in Environmental and Local Government Law at Macquarie University and is a Member of the Order of Australia for her significant service to the community as an advocate for Indigenous cultural heritage and intellectual property rights, and to education.

Her publications cover Indigenous arts, cultural heritage policy, critical essays on the role of museums as custodians of Indigenous cultural property, and the role of native title in the protection of Indigenous natural heritage rights and protection of biodiversity-related knowledge, access and benefit-sharing and the role of Traditional Owners in protected area management.

Media contact: Carolyn Martin, QAAFI media,,  +61 (0)439 399 886.

The Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation is a research institute at The University of Queensland supported by the Queensland Government via the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.