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Professor Lowitja O'Donoghue AC CBE

Born at Indulkana in Central South Australia, Professor O'Donoghue is a member of the Yankunjatjara people of north west South Australia. Professor O'Donoghue was appointed as the inaugural Chairperson of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission and acted in this role from the inception of the Commission in 1990 until her retirement in December 1996.

Professor O'Donoghue received the Order of Australia award in 1977, was made a Commander of the British Empire in 1983. In 1984 she was honored as Australian of the Year in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the welfare of Aboriginal people and was acknowledged as one of Australia's Living National Treasures in 1998. In 1993 she was a leading member of the Aboriginal negotiating team which negotiated with the Federal Government the agreement which provided the basis for the Native Title Act. In 1999 she was awarded the Companion of the Order of Australia for her work in the area of Aboriginal human rights.

Professor O'Donoghue has received Honorary Doctorate awards from the Murdoch University in Western Australia, Flinders University of South Australia, University of South Australia, the Australian National University in Canberra and the Queensland University of Technology. She is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing Australia as well as the Royal College of Physicians. She is also patron of the Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre and the Congress for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses.

In her retirement Professor O'Donoghue is continuing her commitment in the areas of Aboriginal health, welfare and human rights and is currently a Visiting Fellow at Flinders University of South Australia. She is Chairperson of the Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal and Tropical Health; Chairperson of the Sydney Olympic Games National Indigenous Advisory Committee; member of the Sydney Olympic Games Volunteers Committee; member of the republican "Yes" Campaign Committee; trustee of the Rio Tinto Aboriginal Foundation and member of the Indigenous Law Centre, University of New South Wales

Professor Lowitja O'Donoghue archival collection

Professor O'Donoghue's collection is held by, and stored at the Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Library. The Lowitja O’Donoghue collection contains documents, books, photographs and realia including honorary doctorate gowns and Sydney 2000 Olympics memorabilia. For further information please contact the Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Library or search our UniSA Research Archive.


Bob Hawke with Lowitja O'Donoghue at the 2005 Annual Hawke LectureAWARDS RECEIVED