This year’s NT Australian of the Year, Leanne Liddle is a former policewoman who works for a better future for Aboriginal people.

Story Bron Willis   Photo RFDS/Emma Murray

Leanne Liddle has a barramundi on her line and it isn’t giving up easily. Neither is Leanne.“Barra are really smart fish,” she says. “They’ll do absolutely anything to get that lure out of their mouth.”

Leanne, an Arrente woman, is at Shady Camp on the Mary River, two hours from her Darwin home. Waterlilies cover the surface of billabongs and saltwater crocs average 15 per kilometre. Sometimes she reels in half a fish, as the snared barramundi attract passing crocs. 

Leanne says colleagues are surprised when they hear she loves fishing. “It takes a lot of patience and I’m not known as a patient person in the office,” she laughs.

It’s the fight that Leanne likes. She is the 2022 NT Australian of the Year, an award that recognises her lifelong commitment to fighting “the good fight” for justice and a better future for Aboriginal peoples.

This story excerpt is from Issue #145

Outback Magazine: October/November 2022