Spinifex Gum is a musical collaboration for our times. The Cat Empire’s Felix Riebl and Ollie McGill have teamed up with Marliya Choir, an all-female, all-Indigenous group from Cairns (conducted by Lyn Williams AM and choreographed by Deborah Brown) to create something strong and beautiful. Voices raised in unison have always had the power to inspire, to move, and to make change.


The Spinifex Gum sound does all that and more.


Talented women from Spinifex Gum.


The group has toured all over Australia, collecting rave reviews and new fans wherever they perform. It has also created communities, and a sense of optimism. The young women of the Marliya Choir are sisters-in-arms, looking to the future with linked arms, prepared to do what needs to be done to make their world a better place.

Spinifex Gum has chosen to reduce the environmental impact of touring by planting trees. It was important for the project managers to do this in a very real sense, as the spirit of Spinifex Gum is tied up with the future of its young voices.


YouYang planting by Koala Clancy Foundation.


Fifteen Trees has planted 1304 trees for the group, who have also covered the cost of tree guards. Six hundred trees have gone into the ground in the YouYangs, as part of the Koala Clancy project. The remainder (704) have been planted at Eucalcama Back Creek and surrounds by Campaspe Valley Landcare to aid in regeneration projects.


Eucalcama Back Creek


We were definitely motivated to plant trees following the tour as a recognition of the environmental cost of touring a large group of people large distances across the country. It was particularly important that we offset this environmental cost in a real way, given that young women (who will be left with the burden of past environmental decisions and degradation) are at the core of the Spinifex Gum project.

Spinifex Gum


Today’s young people are going to bear the brunt of decades of systemic environmental inaction. It’s a hard fact to swallow. Spinifex Gum is setting an example of optimism combined with practical action that everyone can be inspired by. If enough of us raise our voices, together, we can change our future for the better.

Sisters is out now:



Article by Sarah Hart.

Sarah is a self-taught artist whose passions include the stories and experiences of women and narrative driven creative work. Her aim is to delight, to reveal glimpses of everyday beauty, and to celebrate flights of the ordinary. Sarah works across a range of media, with an abiding interest in pen and ink, mixed media and the human form.