• Entry type: Person
  • Entry ID: IMP0081

Bandler, Faith Ida Lessing

(1920 – 2015)
  • Born 27 September, 1920, Tumbulgum New South Wales Australia
  • Died 13 February, 2015
  • Occupation Author, Campaigner


Faith Bandler has campaigned for Aboriginal and Islander rights throughout her life, firstly through the Aboriginal-Australian Fellowship and later through the Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders (FCAATSI). She has written novels and children’s literature as well as many non-fiction works relating to Aboriginal rights. Her biography, Faith: Faith Bandler, gentle activist, written by Marilyn Lake, was published in 2002.


Faith Bandler and her sister enlisted in the Australian Women’s Land Army during World War II. She was employed at Young, picking cherries and also the farming districts of Bathurst and Griffith. She was discharged on the 11 October 1945.

Bandler was offered an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for her services to the community in 1976, but declined it in protest against the dismissal of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam by the Governor-General, Sir John Kerr. She later accepted a nomination as Member of the Order of Australia (AM) and received the honour on 11 June 1984. This was for service to Aboriginal welfare.



  • 2001 - 2001

    Inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women

Published resources

  • Edited Book
    • The Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia : Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, society and culture, Horton, David, 1994
    • Who's Who in Australia 2002, Herd, Margaret, 2002
    • As a woman: writing women's lives, Scutt, Jocelynne A., 1992
  • Resource Section
  • Book
    • Faith : Faith Bandler, gentle activist, Lake, Marilyn, 2002
    • The black Diggers : Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders in the Second World War, Hall, Robert A., 1997
    • Turning the tide : a personal history of the Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, Bandler, Faith, 1989
    • Faith Bandler [videorecording] : born 1920 : civil rights activist, Heimans, Frank, 1993c
    • Marani in Australia, Bandler, Faith; Fox, Len, 1980
    • The Time was ripe : a history of the Aboriginal-Australian Fellowship (1956-69), Bandler, Faith; Fox, Len, 1983
    • Wacvie, Bandler, Faith, 1977
    • Welou, my brother, Bandler, Faith, 1984c
    • Australian literature : an historical introduction, McLaren, John, 1989
    • Australian women writers : a bibliographic guide, Adelaide, Debra, 1988
    • Talkin' up to the white woman : Aboriginal women and feminism, Moreton-Robinson, Aileen, 2000
  • Newspaper Article
    • Betrayal [White attitudes to Indigenous people], Marr, David, 2000
    • Keeping the faith [Although she has faith in youth and the future, Faith Bandler grieves for the life she has lost in the battle for rights], Hope, Deborah, 1998
    • Faith -Bandler-, a vision splendid, Stephens, Tony, 1991
    • A lifetimes accomplishment [Faith Bandler], Secord, Walt, 1989
    • Details of pioneers in Aboriginal movement., Horner, Jack, 1972
    • Faith lives in world Bandler touched, Robinson, Natasha, 2015
  • Journal Article
    • Paving the way : a tribute to black Australian writers. [Keynote speech given at the presentation of the New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards (1993)], Bandler, Faith, 1999
    • They spoke out pretty good: the leadership of women in the Brisbane Aboriginal rights movement, 1958/ 1962, Darling, Elaine, 1996
    • 2001 Eldershaw Memorial Lecture : founding fathers, dutiful wives and rebellious daughters.[Lecture presented to a Tasmanian Historical Research Association meeting on 10 Apr 2001.], Lake, Marilyn, 2001
    • Citizenship as Non-discrimination: Acceptance or Assimilation? Political Logic and Emotional Investment in Campaigns for Indigenous Rights in Australia, 1940 TO 1970, Lake, Marilyn, 2001
  • Book Section
    • Aboriginal women, Richards, Michaela, 1988
    • Australian land rights policy, Bandler, Faith, 1987
  • Conference Proceedings
    • Reports and resolutions, Conference on Aboriginal Affairs (8th : 1965 : Canberra, A.C.T.), 1965
  • Resource
  • Site Exhibition

Archival resources

  • National Library of Australia, Manuscript Collection
    • Papers of Jack and Jean Horner, 1956-2003 [manuscript]
  • AIATSIS Film Collection
    • Aboriginal women farm workers during World War II - three archival film interviews
  • AIATSIS Manuscript and Rare Books Collection
    • Annual report by N.S.W. State Secretary
  • Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection
    • Aboriginal National Theatre Trust Limited - files, 1902-1991
    • Women's Redress Press - book files, 1976-1996, including correspondence, contracts, readers' reports, reviews and photographs
    • Collection 01: Faith Bandler papers, 1968-1992
    • Series 04: Faith Bandler interviewed by Carolyn Craig, 1997
    • Collection 02: Faith Bandler further papers, 1875, 1945-1997
    • Ros Bowden - interviews conducted for radio programs and documentaries, ca.1975 - 1989

Related entries

  • Related Organisations
    • Australian Women's Land Army (AWLA) (1942 - 1945)
  • Related Women
    • Gibbs, Pearl Mary (1901 - 1983)
    • Oodgeroo Noonuccal (1920 - 1993)
  • Related Exhibitions
    • Australian In My Difference: Women and Migration in Australia Since 1945
  • Friend
    • Scott, Evelyn Ruth (1935 - 2017)
  • Related Concepts
    • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women
  • Founded
    • Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders (1958 - 1978)
  • Secretary
    • Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders (1958 - 1978)