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Jack Waterford

2019 Speaker

Jack Waterford, now retired, is a journalist, and a former editor and writer at the Canberra Times who has had a lifetime association with Aboriginal Australia.

 

He was born on a sheep station near Quambone, in western NSW, and later at Goodooga, and his parents and grandparents were long associated with struggles for Aboriginal rights and dignity.

 

Jack attended Sydney boarding schools and went to the ANU, where he was involved in Vietnam protests, anti-conscription and anti-apartheid activities as well as Aboriginal land rights campaigns and the Aboriginal Embassy struggle of 1972.

 

He took leave from his journalism job in 1977 to work in Central Australia with the Fred Hollows program to combat trachoma, and with the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress, helping to establish health and housing services in the bottom half of the Northern Territory, as well as in the Pitjantjatjarra Homelands.

 

Later he worked again with the trachoma program, visiting Aboriginal communities throughout mainland Australia, and helping to write its landmark report documenting and detailing health and living conditions in more than 500 communities.

 

In 1985 he was the Graham Perkin Australian Journalist of the year, and in 1987 he was a Jefferson Fellow in the United States.

 

He was made a member of the Order of Australia in 2007 “"for service to journalism, particularly as a commentator on national politics, the law, to raising debate on ethical issues and public sector accountability, and to the community  in the area of Indigenous affairs’’, and later in the same year was named Canberra Citizen of the Year.

Read more about Jack Waterford here.

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