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
- 1977 Member Order of Australia
- 1982 Advance Australia Award
- 1983 Commander of the Order of the British Empire
- 1984 Australian of the Year
- 1992 SA Great Award
- 1993 Honorary Doctorate: Murdoch University, WA
- 1993 Honorary Doctorate: University of South Australia, SA
- 1995 Honorary Doctorate: Australian National University, ACT
- 1995 Honorary Fellowship: Royal College of Nursing, Australia
- 1996 Honorary Doctorate: Queensland University of Technology, Queensland
- 1996 Honorary Doctorate: Flinders University of South Australia
- 1998 Honorary Fellowship: Royal Australasian College of Physicians
- 1998 Australian Living National Treasure
- 1999 Companion of the Order of Australia
- 2000 Honorary Professional Fellow: Flinders University of South Australia
- 2000 Olympic Order
- 2005 Papal Award from Pope Benedict XVI: Dame of the Order of St Gregory the Great for her distinguished leadership of the Aboriginal community and her compassion for the vulnerable in society