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Scott, Evelyn Ruth (1935 - 2017)

AO

Born
1935
Ingham, Queensland, Australia
Died
21 September 2017
Queensland, Australia
Occupation
Aboriginal activist, Aboriginal rights activist, Indigenous activist, Indigenous educator and Social justice advocate
Alternative Names
  • Backo, Evelyn Ruth (birth name)

Summary

Evelyn Ruth Scott was an indigenous rights activist and social justice campaigner who played a pivotal role in the reconciliation process in Australia. She was a key figure in the 'yes' campaign of the 1967 referendum whereby 90 per cent of Australian voters chose 'Yes' to count Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the census and give the Australian Government the power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Details

Scott began working in the Townsville Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advancement League in the 1960s after experiencing discrimination in employment, housing and health.

In 1971, she joined the Indigenous-controlled Federal Council for the Advancement of Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders (FCAATSI) as vice-president and she became the first general-secretary in 1973. Through her role at FCAATSI and as Chair of Cairns and District Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation for Women, Scott was pivotal in improving access to legal, housing, employment and medical services for communities. From 1997 to 2000, she became the chair for the National Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation.

Scott was a passionate campaigner for the Great Barrier Reef and served as a Marine Park Authority board member in the 1980s. She believed in the need for stronger Indigenous voices in issues regarding the land and sea.

Scott was awarded honorary doctorates from James Cook University (2001) and the Australian Catholic University (2000). In 1977, Scott received the Queen's Jubilee Medal for her contribution to the advancement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and in 2001 Scott was awarded an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia. She was also the recipient of the Queensland Greats Award for her contribution to the history and development of the state in 2003.

A monument in Parkes, ACT, commemorates Dr Evelyn Scott, and recognizes her contribution to reconciliation in Australia. The monument also honours the work of Dr Faith Bandler and Lady Jessie Street.

Events

1971
Joined the Federal Council for the Advancement of Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders (FCAATSI) as vice-president.
1973 -
General Secretary - Federal Council for the Advancement of Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders (FCAATSI)
1977
Received the Queen's Jubilee Medal for her contribution to the advancement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
1997 - 2000
Chair - National Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation
2000
Awarded - Honorary Doctorate from Australian Catholic University
2001
Officer (AO) in the General Division of the Order of Australia
2001
Awarded - Honorary Doctorate from James Cook University
2003
Awarded - Queensland Greats Award for her contribution to the history and development of the state.

Related entries

Friend and Colleague

Alannah Croom

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

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ISSN 2207-3124