• Entry type: Person
  • Entry ID: AWE1199

Sykes, Roberta (Bobbi)

(1944 – 2010)
  • Nationality Australian
  • Born 1 January, 1944, Townsville Queensland Australia
  • Died 14 November, 2010, Sydney New South Wales Australia
  • Occupation Academic, Administrator, Health worker, Journalist, 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.

Published resources

  • Conference Paper
    • Dr Roberta Sykes, Sykes, Roberta (Bobbi), 1987
  • Book
    • Murawina : Australian women of high achievement, Roberta Sykes ; photography by Sandy Edwards, 1993
    • Snake cradle, Snake dancing and Snake circle (autobiographical trilogy), Sykes, Roberta (Bobbi), 1997-
    • Love poems and other revolutionary actions, Sykes, Roberta (Bobbi), 1988
    • Black majority, Sykes, Roberta (Bobbi), 1989
    • Mum Shirl: an autobiography with the assistance of Bobbi Sykes, Mum Shirl, 1981
    • Women who do and women who don't join the women's movement, Rowland, Robyn, 1984
  • Book Section
    • While my name is remembered, Sykes, Roberta (Bobbi), 1994
    • Black women in Australia - a history, Sykes, Roberta (Bobbi), 1975
  • Edited Book
    • The Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia : Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, society and culture, Horton, David, 1994
  • Resource

Archival resources

  • National Library of Australia, Manuscript Collection
    • Papers of Judith Wright, 1944-2000 [manuscript]

Related entries

  • Related Women
    • Behrendt, Larissa (1969 - )
  • Related Concepts
    • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women
  • Related Awards
    • Nita B Kibble Literary Awards for Women Writers