13 October, 2020

MEDIA RELEASE – 13 October 2020

Lowitja Institute welcomes the authorised biography of Dr Lowitja O’Donoghue

The Lowitja Institute warmly welcomes the publication of Lowitja, the authorised biography of its patron, namesake and founding chair Dr Lowitja O’Donoghue AC CBE DSG, written by Australian journalist and writer Stuart Rintoul.

Lowitja Institute chairperson Pat Anderson said Dr O’Donoghue was an outstanding leader and visionary, whose story is one of great courage, integrity and determination.

“She is a national treasure and offers great inspiration to all Australians,” she said. “We hope the publication of her authorised biography will give Australians and others around the world a new opportunity to learn about her life and life’s work.”

Ms Anderson said that the spirit of Dr O’Donoghue permeated the work of the Lowitja Institute, Australia’s Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research, that was named in her honour in 2010.

“We are ever mindful that she entrusted in the organisation her spirit and energy, values and priorities,” Ms Anderson said.

“She told us to be a courageous organisation committed to social justice and equity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, to match words to action, and be known for working fearlessly for change and improvement in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” she said. “We judge all our work through that lens.”

Lowitja Institute CEO Dr Janine Mohamed said Dr O’Donoghue has been an inspiration to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from the very start of her long and respected career in health and public policy, when she took on structural racism to become the first Aboriginal trainee nurse at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

“She was an Aboriginal woman before her time,” Dr Mohamed said. “She gave us all the sense that you can take on the system and the ceilings put in our way, particularly for those of us who are passionate about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing.”

“Her story embodies the trauma and injustices faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, particularly the Stolen Generations. It also speaks to strength and resilience among our peoples, and what change can be wrought with courage and principle.”

Lowitja: the authoritsed biography of Lowitja O’Donoghue by Stuart Rintoul is published by Allen and Unwin (2020).


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