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Lois O'Donoghue
Title : Lois O'Donoghue Lois O'Donoghue
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Creator : Courier newspaper, photographer
Date of creation : 1992
Format : Photograph
Dimensions : 175 x 125 mm
Contributor : State Library catalogue
Catalogue record
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Copyright : This item is reproduced courtesy of Courier Newspaper and Lowitja O'Donoghue. It may be printed or saved for research or study. Use for any other purpose requires written permission from Courier Newspaper and Lowitja O'Donoghue and the State Library of South Australia. To request approval, complete the Permission to publish form.
Description :

Lois O'Donoghue, CBE, AM, prominent in the field of Aboriginal legal and civil rights, photographed holding her SA Great award for services to the community.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) commenced operation on 5 March 1990. In 1987, the 20th anniversary of the 1967 referendum regarding citizenship for Aboriginal Australians, the Hawke Labor Government had supported the creation of ATSIC as an independent statutory authority, governed by representatives of Indigenous communities.

ATSIC was made up of 35 Regional Councils around Australia with elected Indigenous representatives. A national Board of Commissioners was led by an elected Chairperson. Lois O'Donoghue (who later adopted her Aboriginal name Lowitja) was the founding Chairperson of ATSIC and held the post from 1990 to 1996.

A Pitjantjatjara woman, Lowitja O'Donoghue was born at Indulkana in the remote north-west of South Australia in 1932. She was separated from her family by missionaries and brought up as Lois O'Donoghue at Colebrook Children's Home. O'Donoghue trained at Royal Adelaide Hospital and became the first indigenous nurse in South Australia. She became involved in Aboriginal rights and worked tirelessly for her people, including as a member of the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement (1970-1972), and regional director of the Adelaide Department of Aboriginal Affairs (1975-1976). In recognition of her outstanding contributions, Lowitja has been awarded many honours, including Australian of the Year in 1984, and several doctorates at universities in Australia and overseas.

ATSIC was responsible for administering numerous programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. In March 2005 the Federal Parliament passed the ATSIC Amendment Bill repealing provisions of the ATSIC Act, and abolishing ATSIC. This legislation provided that Regional Councils would cease operations on 30 June 2005. The Office of Indigenous Policy Co-ordination (OIPC) is now responsible for the national coordination of the provision of programs and services to Indigenous Australians.

Related names :

O'Donoghue, Lowitja

Coverage year : 1992
Period : 1980-2000
Further reading :
Australia. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission Interim Administration. What is ATSIC?: Questions and answers about the new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, Canberra: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, 1990

Cockburn, Stewart. Notable lives: profiles of 21 South Australians, Adelaide: Ferguson Publications, 1997

Horton, David, ed. The Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press for the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, 1994

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