John Moriarty

Businessman, author & speaker

John Kundereri Moriarty AM is the talented individual responsible for the sensational indigenous designs painted over two entire Qantas jumbos: the Wunala and Nalanji Dreamings. John is the Chairman and Co-founder of Australia's leading Australian Indigenous design and strategy consultancy Balarinji, which he founded with his partner Ros Moriarty in 1983. A life-long advocate for Aboriginal equality, reconciliation and cultural preservation, John co-founded and co-chairs The Nangala Project. This not-for-profit initiative is committed to creating sustainable opportunities that will relieve poverty and disadvantage among children and youth in Australia's remote Indigenous communities.

Born at Borroloola in the Gulf of Carpentaria in the Northern Territory, John was taken from his mother at the age of four and brought up in a number of boys' homes in Sydney and Adelaide under the then government's assimilation policy. This motivated a lifelong commitment to advocacy for Aboriginal equality, reconciliation and cultural preservation.

Today a full member of the Yanyuwa people of his birthplace and belonging ceremonially to the Rainbow Snake and Kangaroo Dreaming, John has held senior and executive positions in Departments of Aboriginal Affairs at both Federal and State Government levels.

John holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Flinders University, and is a Churchill Fellow. He is an Honorary Doctor of the University of South Australia, and a Convocation Medalist of Flinders University. John is a former Board Member of Sydney Harbour Federation Trust, the National Indigenous Council, the National Aboriginal and Islander Health Council, the Australian International Cultural Committee, the NSW Government Aboriginal Business Round Table, the Sustainable Minerals Institute, University of Queensland, the Northern Territory Tourist Commission and the South Australian Museum.

He is a former Chairman of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board of the Australia Council, the ATSIC Electoral Boundaries Review Committee and the National Aboriginal Sports Corporation of Australia, and a former Deputy Chair of Indigenous Business Australia. John is the recipient of the Order of Australia (AM), the St Peters Citizenship Award, and the Advance Australia Award for Service to Industry and Commerce.

He was named South Australian Aboriginal Businessman of the Year in 1992. In 2014 John was inducted into the Australian Design Hall of Fame, and in 2015 was inducted into the Football Federation of Australia Hall of Fame.

John Moriarty also enjoyed a successful career in soccer, having played with South Australian First Division teams Port Thistle, Port Adelaide, and Adelaide Croatia, before playing for Adelaide Juventus. John represented South Australia seventeen times. John co-founded John Moriarty Football in 2012 to bring children together through sport, promoting good health and well-being in some of Australia's most remote communities.

In 2000, John published the best-selling autobiography Saltwater Fella to critical acclaim. The Sunday Telegraph described his book as "The most important book for decades... this is not a 'black' book or a 'white' book. It is a profoundly Australian book... It is about humans and adversity and love, lots of love."

John maintains professional involvement with an extensive network of indigenous people in urban, rural and bush communities throughout Australia; Federal and State governments and bureaucracies; with overseas indigenous peoples and institutions; and a wide range of national and international corporations and non-government organisations.

John Moriarty talks about:

  • Indigenous Design Business

Well known for creating the sensational indigenous designs painted entirely on two Qantas jumbos, Johns speaks about indigenous design and its impact.

  • Finding your Passion & Creating Successful Business

Balarinji is Australia's leading indigenous art and design studio that markets its work domestically and internationally operating across five continents.

  • Stolen Generation & Overcoming Prejudice

John speakers about overcoming adversity and becoming an internationally renowned designer and proud indigenous Australian.

  • The Importance of Family, Ethics & Loyalty

Fostering links with the indigenous communities, John speaks about his philosophy of focusing on innovative, creative goals and product integrity.

Client testimonials

John drew a large audience, was a delightful, warm and personable speaker and very professional to deal with.

The National Archives of Australia