Woman Langton, Marcia

Aboriginal activist and Academic

Written by Nikki Henningham, The University of Melbourne

Marcia Langton is a leading academic and Indigenous spokesperson who has held the foundation chair of Australian Indigenous Studies at the University of Melbourne since February 2000. An anthropologist with a BA from the Australian National University and a PhD in human geography from Macquarie University, who began her academic career in 1995 at the Northern Territory University in Darwin, Langton has made a significant contribution to Indigenous studies as a discipline and to government and non-government policy and administration throughout her career. She has published widely on a range of Aboriginal affairs issues including land rights, the mining industry and indigenous communities, resource management and the social impacts of development.

Born in Brisbane, Queensland and raised in a number of outback towns 'along the road to Cunnumulla' (Marcia Langton Blog) Langton was schooled in Brisbane and attended her first year at the University of Queensland before travelling overseas. She returned to Australia in 1975 and combined tertiary education with paid work, advocacy and activism, including in Aboriginal organisations such as the Aboriginal Medical Service in Sydney, (the Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders (FCAATSI) in Canberra, the Central Land Council in Alice Springs and the Cape York Land Council in north Queensland. She also worked for the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and the Queensland Government.

Langton's work in anthropology and the advocacy of Aboriginal rights was recognised in 1993 when she was made a member of the Order of Australia. She became a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia in 2001 and was awarded the inaugural Neville Bonner Award for Indigenous Teacher of the Year in 2002.

Archival Resources

National Film and Sound Archive

  • A Current Affair. 1975.09.19, 280123; National Film and Sound Archive. Details
  • Night Cries: A Rural Tragedy, 524741; National Film and Sound Archive. Details
  • A Ticket to Ride: A film about Aboriginal people who have succeeded as leaders in the community, 1984, 554790; National Film and Sound Archive. Details

Published Resources


  • Langton, Marcia, "Well, I heard it on the radio and I saw it on the television": An Essay for the Australian Film Commission on the Politics and Aesthetics of Filmmaking by and about Aboriginal People and Things, Australian Film Commission, Sydney, New South Wales, 1993. Details

Online Resources