Gertie is a Guugu Yimithirr artist from HopeVale community in Far North QLD. She was born in Woorabinda (West of Rockhampton) in 1944, after her family were forcibly moved from Cape Bedford mission, when the German missionary was suspected of being a spy. Gertie’s family returned to the new mission site at HopeVale when she was four.
Gertie’s country on her mum’s side is Dingal/Cape Flattery, and family totem is the stingray (“when you go to Lizard Island on my mum’s country, you’ll see it’s the shape of the stingray”.) Her family totem on her father’s side is the owl - Whumbul in Guugu Yalanji language; and his country is from Maytown / Bloomfield / Mossman down to the Daintree.