Indigenous Australian Icon Lowitja O’Donoghue Passes Away at 91

Written by Henrik Rothen

Feb.04 - 2024 8:52 AM CET

Photo: Wiki Commons
Photo: Wiki Commons
Indigenous Australian Icon Lowitja O’Donoghue Passes Away at 91.

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Lowitja O’Donoghue, a prominent Indigenous Australian leader and advocate for Aboriginal rights, has passed away at the age of 91, leaving behind a legacy of tireless work for the recognition and rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This is reported by

Born into the Yankunytatjara people and recognized as a former Australian of the Year, O’Donoghue's contributions to Australian society and Indigenous rights were profound. Her family announced that she passed away peacefully in Adelaide, on Kaurna Country, surrounded by her loved ones.

As a respected matriarch, her life was a beacon of inspiration for both her family and the wider community. Her relatives expressed their enduring admiration and pride for O’Donoghue, highlighting her role as one of the most influential Aboriginal leaders in Australia's history.

O’Donoghue's commitment to the well-being of Indigenous peoples led to the establishment of the Lowitja O’Donoghue Foundation on her 90th birthday, ensuring her efforts and values will persist through future generations.

Her early life was marked by separation from her family, being taken from her Indigenous mother and raised at the Colebrook Children’s Home, an experience that did not deter her spirit or determination. O’Donoghue later became a historic figure, notably as the first Australian Aboriginal person to address the United Nations General Assembly, advocating for constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as Australia's first inhabitants.

Her involvement was crucial in the creation of Australia’s Native Title legislation in 1993, following the landmark Mabo decision, working closely with the government to secure rights for Indigenous Australians.

Lowitja O’Donoghue's passing is mourned by many, but her legacy of advocacy, leadership, and unwavering commitment to Indigenous rights and health will continue to inspire and impact Australia for generations to come.

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