Mary Graham was born in Brisbane and grew up on the Gold Coast. She is a Kombu-merri person and is also affiliated with the Waka Waka group through her mother. She has lectured and tutored on Aboriginal history, politics, and comparative philosophy at the University of Queensland and at other educational institutions around the country. She was the Administrator of the Aboriginal and Islander Child Care Agency (AICCA) during the 1970's and has served on the Boards and Committees of many Aboriginal organisations. She has worked in Native Title negotiation with the Foundation for Aboriginal and Islander Research Action (FAIRA), was a member of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation during its first term, and was a member of the ATSIC Regional Council for South East Queensland for 6 years. She currently does research work with Kummara, an Aboriginal community development organization conducting a Stronger Indigenous Families project.