• Entry type: Person
  • Entry ID: AWE1170

Maris, Hyllus Noel

(1934 – 1986)
  • Nationality Australian
  • Born 1 January, 1934, Echuca Victoria Australia
  • Died 31 December, 1986, Australia
  • Occupation Aboriginal rights activist, Community worker, Educator, Scriptwriter


Co-founder of the National Council of Aboriginal and Island Women in 1970, Hyllus Noel Maris co-wrote the award-winning Women of the Sun, which was later adapted as a screen production by the ABC.


Hyllus Noel Maris, of Yorta Yorta and Wurundjeri (Woiwurrung) descent, was born in 1934 in Echuca, Victoria. She spent her early childhood at Cummeragunja, where her grandmother imparted to her a detailed knowledge of her culture and family relationships in Victoria. Her family took part in the Walk-off from Cummeragunja in 1939 and settled near Shepparton, where Maris attended school. She subsequently moved to Melbourne, where she helped found the National Council of Aboriginal and Island Women in 1970. From this body grew the Aboriginal medical and legal services in Fitzroy, of which Maris was a co-founder.

In the mid-1970s, she collaborated with the Austrian-born author, Sonia Borg, in writing Women of the Sun, a history of Australia over the previous 200 years, as seen through the experiences of a number of Aboriginal women. Adapted as an ABC television series in 1982, Women of the Sun won many awards, including the United Nations Media Peace Prize and the AWGIE award of the Australian Writers Guild. Maris was largely responsible for the establishment, in 1982, of Worawa College, Victoria’s first Aboriginal school.
She died of cancer in 1986, and was buried at Cummeragunja.



  • 2001 - 2001

    Inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women

Published resources

  • Edited Book
    • The Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia : Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, society and culture, Horton, David, 1994
  • Book
    • Women of the sun, Maris, Hyllus and Sonia Borg, 1985
  • Resource

Related entries

  • Resident
    • Cummeragunja Reserve (1883 - )
  • Related Organisations
    • Aboriginal Legal Service (1970 - )
  • Related Concepts
    • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women