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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Barbara McCarthy

c. 2000
Penny Tweedie

type C photograph on paper (sheet: 50.8 cm x 30.9 cm, image: 40.7 cm x 28.0 cm)

Malarndirri Barbara McCarthy is a Yanyuwa woman from Borroloola in the Gulf of Carpentaria. A former journalist, McCarthy has been Labor Senator for the Northern Territory since 2016. She began her career as an Aboriginal cadet journalist for the ABC in Darwin in 1989 and worked across Australia before becoming the presenter of the Northern Territory news and Stateline. She returned to her community of Borroloola in 1997 to establish the region's first community radio station and the Lijakarda Arts, Culture and Media Training Centre. In 2005 McCarthy was elected to the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly for Arnhem, where she drove change and reform in the child protection system and in Homelands policy, developed tourism and grew employment in remote communities. After being defeated at the 2012 election, she worked as a presenter for SBS/NITV News from 2012 to 2016. McCarthy won the Inaugural Journalism Award at the Deadly Awards in 2013. That year she was nominated for two Walkley Awards for her story on a Mercedes Benz advertisement shot on Wave Rock in Western Australia, a culturally significant site. In her first speech in the Senate in 2016, she highlighted the struggles of recognition and land rights for First Nations people, and she was the first politician to list ownership of traditional Indigenous lands as part of declarations of interest in Federal Parliament.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the artist 2004
© Estate of Penny Tweedie

Artist and subject

Penny Tweedie (age 60 in 2000)

Malarndirri Barbara McCarthy

Donated by

Penny Tweedie (47 portraits)

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency