John Kundereri Moriarty

John Kundereri "Jumbana" Moriarty AM (born c. 1938) is an Aboriginal Australian artist, government advisor and former football (soccer) player. He is most well-known as founder of the Balarinji Design Studio, for painting two Qantas jets with Aboriginal motifs.[2]

John Kundereri Moriarty
Bornc. 1938 (age 82–83)[1]
EducationBachelor of Arts
Alma materFlinders University
OccupationDesigner, Businessman
EmployerJumbana Group
Known forArt, Sport
Spouse(s)Ros Moriarty
John Moriarty (Football)
Personal information
Full name John Kundereri Moriarty
Date of birth c. 1938 (age 82–83)[1]
Place of birth Borroloola, Northern Territory, Australia
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
Port Thistle
Adelaide Juventus
Adelaide Croatia
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 23 December 2008

Today a full member of the Yanyuwa people of his birthplace, and belonging ceremonially to the rainbow serpent and kangaroo Dreamings, Moriarty has held senior and executive positions in the Department of Aboriginal Affairs at both federal and state government levels. He is a long-time advocate for Indigenous rights and Indigenous arts.

Early lifeEdit

Moriarty was born around 1938[1] in Borroloola in the Northern Territory of Australia, to a tribal Aboriginal woman, who spoke seven Aboriginal languages, and an Irishman from County Kerry. As such he was classified as half-caste. The policy at that time was generally to remove "half-caste" children from "full-blood" mothers. He was removed from his mother at four years of age, making him part of the Stolen Generation,[2][3] and did not see his mother for another 10 years.[4]

Up until that age, he spoke only the Yanyuwa language. His Aboriginal name is Jumbana and his ceremonial name is Kundareri. He explained that Kundareri is a formal name, linking him to culture and sacred and other ceremonies, while Jumbana is more informal, like a given name, which is allocated by the older people in the community and sometimes called a "bush name".[3] He was placed in a home for Aboriginal children at Mulgoa in the west of Sydney, and a few years later, in 1949, was moved to St Francis House in Adelaide,[2] where he met Gordon Briscoe, Charlie Perkins, Malcolm Cooper, and others would later become Indigenous activists.[4][3] It was also at St Francis where he started playing football. His talent was recognised, and as it became his passion, he was given a pair of football boots and a new goal in life.[5]


Moriarty received his schooling at St Francis House in Semaphore, a beachside suburb of Adelaide, South Australia.[4][6]

In 1970 Moriarty graduated from Flinders University with a Bachelor of Arts. He was later a recipient of a Churchill Fellowship.[7]


Moriarty was a foundation member of South Australia's Aborigines' Progress Association in 1964, becoming vice-president of the organisation, which fought for land rights and established the groundwork for an Aboriginal legal service (now referred to as an ATSILS, a specialised community legal centre).[4]


Moriarty played association football (soccer) for South Australian First Division teams Port Thistle and Adelaide Juventus before playing for Adelaide Croatia, alongside St Francis House schoolmates Perkins (also his cousin) and Briscoe.[2][4][6][8]

In 1960 he was selected to play his first game for the state, which meant travelling to Western Australia. In order for him to be allowed to travel out of the state, the South Australian Soccer Federation had to get permission from the Protector of Aborigines[4] (Clarence Edmund Bartlett,[9] who also wrote a book about Point McLeay mission[10]). Also in 1960, Moriarty was the first recognised Indigenous Australian to be selected for a national soccer team.[5] He was selected to play in an Australian national team tour to Hong Kong, but the tour was cancelled after Australia's expulsion from FIFA.[2]

Moriarty's career ended after a collision with a goalkeeper, after he had represented the state of South Australia 17 times. After retiring, Moriarty served on the board of Adelaide Juventus (later Adelaide City).[2]

John Moriarty FootballEdit

Moriarty, along with co-founder Ros Moriarty, established John Moriarty Football (JMF),[11] focused on grassroots participation, which awards scholarships for young Indigenous soccer players. [12][5] JMF has received international praise from FIFA,[13] and has received money from outside sources such as Tim Cahill.[14] As of 2020, Craig Foster is a board member of the JMF.[5]

One of the early recipients of a scholarship was Shay Evans,[15][16] who played her debut game for the Young Matildas in 2018, and as of 2020 plays in the W-League.[5]

From November 2020, as part of Indigenous Football Week, JMF started offering new Community Scholarships Pathways Program, which in addition to football training, offers educational support.[5]

JMF has collaborated with the Football Australia (FA) to offer community coaching and leadership training programs, and there is a strong Indigenous focus and emphasis on gender-equal quotas.[5]

Indigenous Football WeekEdit

Indigenous Football Week was established in 2015.[17][18] It is an initiative of JMF, in partnership with FA, the Professional Footballers Australia (PFA), SBS TV, NITV, and FOX Sports. Its fifth edition was celebrated in JMF communities in the Northern Territory, New South Wales, and Queensland.[11]

Australian rules footballer Adam Goodes was patron of Indigenous Football Week in 2020.[5]


In 1983 Moriarty founded the Jumbana Group in Adelaide, with the Balarinji brand being the most prominent component.[3]

In 1994 Moriarty was commissioned by the Australian national airline, Qantas, to design artwork for a Boeing 747-400 aeroplane. The finished result was the "Wunala Dreaming", which was first displayed on (VH-OJB[19]), then on (VH-OEJ[20]).[21] This was "the largest piece of movable Aboriginal art".[4] A second aeroplane, a Boeing 747-300, was painted in 1995 and is known as "Nalanji Dreaming" (VH-EBU[22]).[21] He was also responsible for repainting two NR class locomotive to Indigenous livery.[23]

Other careersEdit

Prior to founding Balarinji, John was a public servant in various departments of Aboriginal Affairs, both state and federal.

Between 1994 and 2004 Moriarty served on the board of Indigenous Business Australia.[24]


In 2000, he wrote an autobiography, Saltwater Fella, published by Viking Press.[25]

He and his cousin Charlie Perkins were interviewed by Australian journalist John Pilger in his 2002 book The New Rulers of the World.[citation needed]

Awards and honoursEdit


  1. ^ a b c Moriarty's date of birth was recorded officially as 1 April 1938 but this is not believed to be accurate
  2. ^ a b c d e f Baum, Greg (24 May 2006). "Socceroos Dreaming". The Age. Retrieved 23 December 2008.
  3. ^ a b c d Moriarty, John (1 October 2001). "The National Interest" (Interview). Interviewed by Lane, Terry. Radio National. Archived from the original on 21 October 2000. Retrieved 23 December 2008.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Moriarty, John (25 November 1996). "John Moriarty (1938)". National Museum of Australia (Interview). Interviewed by Sue Taffe. Archived from the original on 30 September 2009. Retrieved 22 March 2010.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Intili, Daniela (9 November 2020). "Indigenous Football Week sparks calls for greater Aboriginal representation in game". ABC News. Retrieved 28 November 2020.
  6. ^ a b Briscoe, Gordon (2010). "Educated men or Christian misfits? 1950 to 1956". Racial Folly: A twentieth-century Aboriginal family. Australian National University. ISBN 978-1-921666-20-9.
  7. ^ "John Moriarty AM". Celebrity Speakers Australia. Retrieved 23 December 2008.
  8. ^ Jupp, James (2001). The Australian People: An Encyclopedia of the Nation, Its People and Their Origins. Cambridge University Press. p. 248. ISBN 0-521-80789-1.
  9. ^ Aborigines Protection Board (1955). "Report of the Aborigines Protection Board for the year ended 30th June, 1954" (PDF) – via AIATSIS. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  10. ^ "Aboriginal missions in South Australia: Point McLeay". LibGuides at State Library of South Australia. 12 June 2012. Retrieved 29 November 2020.
  11. ^ a b "Indigenous Football Week to highlight how pathways can change the game for Indigenous players". Football NSW. 1 November 2020. Retrieved 28 November 2020.
  12. ^ Feltham, Sarah. "JMF Scholarship Program". John Moriarty Football. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  13. ^ "Australian football program recognised at FIFA award ceremony". The World Game. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  14. ^ Ross, Julius (20 November 2018). "Tim Cahill donates $50,000 to John Moriarty Football on behalf of Socceroos and Matildas". Professional Footballers Australia. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  15. ^ Foundation, Supplied: John Moriarty (16 November 2018). "John Moriarty Foundation Shay Evans". ABC News. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  16. ^ "Indigenous Football Week kicking goals in remote communities". USA TODAY. 5 November 2020. Retrieved 28 November 2020.
  17. ^ "Indigenous Football Week". Moriarty Foundation. 11 November 2020. Retrieved 28 November 2020.
  18. ^ "Indigenous Football Week kicks off". Football Federation Australia. 1 November 2019. Retrieved 28 November 2020.
  19. ^ "CASA Aircraft Register (VH-OJB)". Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
  20. ^ "CASA Aircraft Register (VH-OEJ)". Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
  21. ^ a b "'Wunala Dreaming' decorated aircraft model and print by Balarinji Studio". Powerhouse Museum Collection. Powerhouse Museum. Retrieved 23 December 2008.
  22. ^ "CASA Aircraft Register (VH-EBU)". Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
  23. ^ Flickr
  24. ^ "Annual Report 2003 – 2004" (PDF). Indigenous Business Australia. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 July 2008. Retrieved 24 December 2008.
  25. ^ Moriarty, John; McHugh, Evan (2000), Saltwater fella, Viking Press, ISBN 978-0-670-87865-9 Trove
  26. ^ "Honorary Doctorates". University of South Australia. Archived from the original on 4 September 2008. Retrieved 24 December 2008.
  27. ^ "Dr John Moriarty". Retrieved 13 July 2019.
  28. ^ "Convocation Medal: past recipients". Flinders University. Retrieved 23 December 2008.