Please note: Some of the content on this page was published prior to the launch of Creative Australia and references the Australia Council. Read more.

Elverina Johnson



Elverina (Bunya Badjil – good woman) is a Kunganji Gurugulu Woman of Yarrabah on her Grandfather’s linage and Idinji Gimuy on her Grandmother’s linage. She is a direct descendant of King Menmuny of the Gunganji Nation of Yarrabah and a direct descendant of King Yinnie of Cairns. Yarrabah Aboriginal community is located 60km SE of Cairns and situated between the rainforest and the ocean with a population of over 4000 people. Elverina has been involved in the arts and creative industry for over 25 years as an artist in visual and performing arts and as a manager. She is also a performing artist in her own right and has performed as a singer for various projects including Yarrabah the Musical by Opera Australia (OA), Yarrabah Brass Band Festival by Qld Music Festival, and many more. She has been instrumental in bringing to life the history of the Yarrabah Brass Bands which became a major exhibition for the Qld Performing Arts Centre.

Elverina Johnson is a recipient of major civic awards, such as the Rona Tranby Trust Award and the state of Queensland’s Smart Women/Smart State Award for Community Innovation. In 2017 Elverina was awarded the National NAIDOC Artist of the Year. In 2018 she was awarded the Yarrabah International Womens Day Woman of the Year and was a Finalist in the Cairns Business Women’s Award for Indigenous Business Woman of the Year.

Elverina has represented her community at the United Nations highlighting the issues regarding domestic violence and other issues that Indigenous women face. She is also a Graduate and Fellow of the Australian Rural Leadership Program.

Learn more about the Custodianship Program.