Aboriginal Legal Service celebrates the life of Dr Lowitja O’Donoghue
With great sadness and admiration, the Aboriginal Legal Service mourns the passing of Dr Lowitja O’Donoghue, a warrior who fought tenaciously for the rights, health, and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
“The resistance has lost a truly courageous leader and we extend our deepest condolences to her family,” said Jason Allan, Chair of the Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT) Limited.
Dr Lowitja’s story is one of adversity, dignity and triumph. As a member of the Stolen Generations, she was ripped from her family and community at the age of two. Her harsh mission upbringing lit the flame of activism inside her, and the racism and injustice which pervaded her early years drove her to demand more for her people and herself.
Against enormous odds, Dr Lowitja became the first Aboriginal nurse at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and fought to open the door for others. She was a vociferous campaigner for recognition in the 1967 referendum, and in the wake of the High Court’s 1992 Mabo decision, was lead negotiator working with the Keating Government on the Native Title Act. She was the first Aboriginal person named a Companion of the Order of Australia, the first to address the UN General Assembly, and the first chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission.
“As an Aboriginal-led legal service devoted to securing the rights of mob in NSW and the ACT, we are grateful for the work of Dr Lowitja in blazing a trail for justice and equality. We also acknowledge the incredible ongoing work of the Lowitja Institute in improving health outcomes for our people,” Mr Allan said.
“Having been born and raised at Walhallow, a former Mission, I looked up to Dr Lowitja as an idol. May her fire continue to burn in all who strive to improve the lot of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and in us as we continue the fight for social justice and equity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, families and communities,” he said.
Alyssa Robinson [email protected] 0427 346 017
Bart Denaro [email protected] 0427 950 312
Both Alyssa and Bart can also be contacted at [email protected]