Mr Kev Carmody



Mr Kev Carmody is a Bundjalung/Lama Lama man and a singer and songwriter who is recognised in Queensland and across Australia for his contributions to the arts and to social justice. 

Mr Carmody grew up on cattle stations in Queensland’s Darling Downs. In 1956, he was removed from his parents as part of the Stolen Generation and enrolled in school in Toowoomba. After leaving school, he worked in various roles on rural properties, later becoming a welder and working in Toowoomba.

While living in Toowoomba, Mr Carmody revisited his love for music, studying classical guitar and musical theory, and graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from the Darling Downs Institute of Advanced Education in 1980. He then went on to complete a Diploma in Education in 1981 at The University of Queensland. 

Across his more than 50-year career, Mr Carmody has continually crafted and performed music that inspires the nation. A key component of Mr Carmody’s work is highlighting the social injustices inflicted on Indigenous Australians throughout history. His songs are a product of oral history and the long tradition of storytelling, and blend politics, history and the natural world. 

His 1988 debut album, Pillars of Society, remains one of the most powerful protest albums in the history of Australian music, fuelled by Mr Carmody’s anger at injustice and hypocrisy. Mr Carmody’s song, From Little Things Big Things Grow, composed with singer-songwriter Paul Kelly, has become one of the most iconic songs in Australian history, as well as the anthem of the Land Rights movement in Australia. 

Mr Carmody has many accolades and awards for his musicianship. In 2009, he was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame, and in 2021, he was inducted into the National Indigenous Music Awards (NIMA) Hall of Fame. 

Mr Carmody’s affiliation with UQ spans many years, beginning with his studies and his push for change on campus. Mr Carmody helped to establish what is now the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Unit, and in 2021, the new student accommodation building, Kev Carmody House, was named in his honour. 

Kev Carmody House celebrates Mr Carmody’s remarkable life, contributions to UQ and passion for access to education. There is also a scholarship named in Mr Carmody’s honour – the Kev Carmody Scholarship – that will support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who are experiencing financial hardship or are in need of residential accommodation support. 

Chancellor, I present to you Mr Kevin Carmody, Bachelor of Arts of the Darling Downs Institute of Advanced Education and Diploma in Education of this University, for the award of Doctor of Letters honoris causa, bestowed by the Senate of The University of Queensland.



Doctor of Letters honoris causa


Diploma of Education