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Chairperson of the Lowitja Institute, Pat Anderson, appointed Officer of the Order of Australia

Lowitja Institute Chairperson Ms Pat Anderson An Aboriginal advocate for social justice and tireless campaigner for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia, Ms Pat Anderson, has been appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for her services to the community.

The Chair of the Lowitja Institute, Australia’s national institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research, Ms Anderson is recognised nationally and internationally for her leadership on health, education and the protection and nurture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

The Queen’s Birthday honour recognises her work in enhancing the rights of Indigenous Australians and increasing awareness of issues of injustice and inequality in Australia.

“I am humbled to receive this award for something that has not just been a career, but my life’s work,” Ms Anderson said. “I have dedicated my life to creating and nurturing understanding, compassion and honesty between people – both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal – and there is much still to be done.”

An Alyawarre woman, Ms Anderson’s mother was part of the Stolen Generations. Ms Anderson grew up in Parap Camp in Darwin in the Northern Territory, before leaving in the 1960s to travel and work in the UK, the Netherlands and Israel.

On her return to Australia, Ms Anderson worked for the Woodward Royal Commission into Aboriginal Land Rights as a legal secretary, and in 1980 was one of the first Aboriginal women to graduate from the University of Western Australia, with a degree majoring in literature.

During the 1980s and early 1990s, Ms Anderson worked in Tasmania, Western Australia and Victoria as part of the movement advocating for improved education for Aboriginal children. Since the mid-1990s she has been a national leader in the field of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, with a particular focus on the rights and needs of children, the importance of education, and the need for genuine reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia. In 2007, together with Mr Rex Wild, QC, Ms Anderson authored the Little Children Are Sacred report.

Among her many senior roles in public health and education, Ms Anderson was a founder of the Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal and Tropical Health in 1997. She has played a leading national role in building collaborative relationships between researchers, Aboriginal communities, policy makers and health service providers.

In January 2010 Ms Anderson became chair of the Lowitja Institute, named after its patron Dr Lowitja O’Donoghue, AC, CBE, DSG. The innovative research body brings together Aboriginal organisations, academic institutions and government agencies to facilitate collaborative, evidence-based research into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

"Pat is an extremely worthy recipient and has always gone above and beyond the duties of her positions with her personal commitment to advancing the health, well-being and rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia,” the Chief Executive Officer of the Lowitja Institute, Lyn Brodie, said.

“The breadth of her vision, her honesty, and her commitment have been recognised around Australia. We are delighted that Pat has been honoured with this award.”

The Lowitja Institute is Australia’s only national institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research, and brings together world-leading researchers, policy makers and other experts in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. For more information, visit


For further information contact:

Greta Donaldson at Greta Donaldson Publicity (03) 9696 3234, 0427 658 638 or

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Created: 06 June 2014 - Updated: 09 June 2014