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Sykes, Roberta (Bobbi) (1944 - 2010)

Townsville, Queensland, Australia
14 November 2010
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Aboriginal Administrator, Aboriginal health worker, Journalist, Academic and Writer


Roberta (Bobbi) Sykes was born and brought up in Townsville, Queensland. She left school at 14 and trained as a nurse. In 1971 she moved to Sydney, and in 1972 helped establish the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra. She worked as Education and Publicity Officer for the newly founded Aboriginal Medical Service in Redfern, and began a ten-year career as a freelance journalist. She has written poetry and film reviews, and contributed to contemporary discussions on a wide range of indigenous issues.

From 1975 to 1980 Bobbi Sykes was an adviser on Aboriginal health and education to the New South Wales Health Commission, following which she moved to the United States and completed her doctorate on Aboriginal education at Harvard University. Upon her return to Sydney, she continued writing and lecturing. She has held appointments at Charles Sturt and Macquarie universities and has worked as a consultant.

Sources used to compile this entry: Horton, David (ed.), The Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia : Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, society and culture, Aboriginal Studies Press for AIATSIS, Canberra, 1994, 2 v. (xxxiii, 1340 p.) pp; Sykes, Roberta (Bobbi), 'Dr Roberta Sykes', in Women of the Year: a collection of speeches by Australia's most successful women, National Council of the Women of the Year, Buderim, Queensland, 1987, pp. 212-215; Sykes, Roberta (Bobbi), Snake cradle, Snake dancing and Snake circle (autobiographical trilogy), Allen and Unwin, St Leonards, NSW, 1997-, 330 (vol 1) pp.

Leonarda Kovacic and Barbara Lemon

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