• Entry type: Person
  • Entry ID: AWE0977

Clayton, Iris

(1945 – 2009)
  • Born 15 February, 1945, Leeton New South Wales Australia
  • Died 5 July, 2009, Bega New South Wales Australia
  • Occupation Author, Community worker, Health worker, Public servant, Researcher


Iris Clayton was taken to the Cootamundra Domestic Training Home for Aboriginal Girls in the 1950s, and from there sent to work as a servant in Canberra. At the age of 18 she was allowed to return home where she married. She returned to Canberra in 1977 to work at AIATSIS, first as a library assistant and later on the switchboard, where she stayed for a number of years. She was awarded a grant to research the Wiradjuri births, deaths and marriages, and her findings have been deposited at AIATSIS.

From 1991, Clayton worked as a health worker at the Winnanga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service in Canberra. She was involved in community issues and served as a council member of the ACT Cultural Council. She influenced a generation of Canberra school children by becoming a regular visitor to ACT schools, sharing her stories and explaining her culture.

Iris Clayton died on 5 July 2009 at Bega, New South Wales, after more than a decade of recurrent health problems.

Published resources

  • Edited Book
    • The Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia : Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, society and culture, Horton, David, 1994
  • Book
    • Wiradjuri of the rivers and plains, Clayton, Iris and Barlow, Alex, 1997
  • Newspaper Article
    • Problems with Aboriginal Genealogical Research, Clayton, Iris, 1989
  • Journal Article
    • Wiradjuri Identity, Clayton, Iris, 1988
    • Obituary: Iris Rose Clayton (1945 - 2009), Scarlett, Philippa, 2009
  • Resource

Archival resources

  • AIATSIS Film Collection
    • Iris Clayton looks at Institute collections, and opening of community centre in Dubbo
  • AIATSIS Pictorial Collection
    • Portrait of Iris Clayton and other staff at the Australian National University
  • AIATSIS Manuscript and Rare Books Collection
    • [Poems]
    • [Warengesda births, deaths and marriages]
  • AIATSIS Sound Collection
    • Wiradjuri words
    • Family history
    • Interviews with Iris Clayton

Related entries

  • Related Organisations
    • Cootamundra Domestic Training Home for Aboriginal Girls (1911 - 1986)