Main site navigation

Hurriyet Babacan


Hurriyet Babacan, portrait

More information about the Turkey-born community in Australia can be found at the DIMIA website.

Hurriyet's parents engendered an awareness of social issues and social justice in her from a young age and this has been reflected in Hurriyet's work and career choices.

Dr Hurriyet Babacan was born in Turkey and migrated to Australia with her parents and three siblings in 1971, when she was ten years old. Her early memories of Australia were of life in a migrant hostel in NSW - an ex-army barracks. What is most memorable for Hurriyet, however, is the de-skilling of her father that came with migration. Once a middle class academic in Turkey, he became a member of the Australian working class when he joined the workforce at the steel mills nearby. This transition meant that he was exposed to risks that he had not encountered before. In the years to come, both parents suffered injuries due to unsafe work practices in the factories of Sydney and Melbourne at a time when only lip service was paid in many workplaces to the enforcement of minimum occupational health and safety standards.

Hurriyet spent her adolescent years trying to learn English. Schooling was an immense struggle without English language fluency and the experience of racism only added to her stress. The adjustment problems associated with being dropped into a school environment without additional support were considerable. It wasn't until four years later, when the family moved to Melbourne, that Hurriyet received assistance in special English classes. Despite the language barriers, Hurriyet did well at school in subjects where reliance on English language skills was not as crucial to her performance, such as mathematics and chemistry. After completing school, Hurriyet went on to complete numerous studies in higher education. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Social Work, Master of Arts (Social Policy), PhD, Graduate Certificate in Education and interpreting/translation qualifications.

Hurriyet's parents engendered an awareness of social issues and social justice in her from a young age and this has been reflected in Hurriyet's work and career choices. Over the last twenty years Hurriyet has worked as an academic, social worker, policy officer, senior public servant, researcher, author and trainer. Hurriyet currently holds a position at the University of the Sunshine Coast where she is the acting Head of Social and Community Studies and also Associate Director of the Centre for Multicultural and Community Development. She coordinates and lectures in courses in community development, gender, cultural diversity and social and human service practice.

Prior to holding this position, Hurriyet was a senior executive in the Queensland Government where she held the position of Executive Director, Multicultural Affairs, Women's Policy and Community Outcomes Branch in the Department of Premier and Cabinet. Hurriyet has also held lecturing positions in three other universities across Australia, worked as a senior public servant in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Victorian Government. She has also worked in numerous community organisations, holding community development, social worker and director roles.

Hurriyet has undertaken extensive research on a range of topics, including immigration and settlement, racism, health, family services, community capacity building, social exclusion/inclusion, child protection, ageing, women, globalisation and human rights. She has published widely and has completed work for UNESCO on gender and development. She has written a book on Death and Dying across six non-Christian religions that has sold over 10,000 copies. She has also completed a guide for migrant job seekers on how to address selection criteria which has also been well regarded.

Hurriyet has been involved in numerous community organisations over the last twenty years, and has been a founding member of many of them. The most recent ones include:

Hurriyet's contribution to community life has resulted in invitations to serve on Ministerial advisory councils. She has been:

This is in addition to membership of numerous departmental and management committee roles on non-government organisations. Hurriyet is regularly invited to speak at conferences, seminars and symposiums as a keynote speaker, locally and abroad.

Hurriyet's work has been recognised with a number of awards including:

In her private life, Hurriyet is married to a person of Indian background. They live in Queensland but straddle extended family networks in Australia, India and Turkey. Hurriyet enjoys travelling, reading, music, folk dancing, weaving and playing with her dog.

Source of Image:

<< Previous | Next >>

Select Resources

There is very little material (published or archival) relating to the experience of Turkish women in Australia. The following list represents some items located in official repositories:

Hatice Hurmuz Basarin and Vecihi Basarin, The Turks in Australia : celebrating twenty-five years down under, Hampton, Vic: Turquoise Publications, c1993.

An art exhibition profiling five female artists from the Turkish community, Melbourne : Immigration Museum, 2000.

Child care : the Turkish experience : report on the study of the Turkish child care arrangement in Victoria, Australia, Melbourne: VICSEG, 1987.

AusTurk Education and Cultural Association

R. AkL.celik (ed.), Change and persistence of Turkish culture : (seminar papers, 14 April 1984, Monash University) Mulgrave North, Vic.: Australian-Turkish Friendship Society, 1984.

Memleket - NSW Turkish Language Newspaper.

Ernie Fontaine and Yadel Kaymalci, Merhaba hello : what it means to be Turkish in Australia, Canmbellfield : Australian Turkish Association, 1996.

Erkan Kucukyuruk, Report on the Turkish community in Australia, Fitzroy, Vic: Depaul Centre, [1984]

Christine Inglis, Joy Elley, and Lenore Manderson, Making something of myself : educational attainment and social and economic mobility of Turkish Australian young people, Canberra : Australian Govt. Pub. Service, c1992.

Community Support Groups

There are many organisations in Australia that support the Turkish community. The following is a partial list:

New South Wales

Australia Alevi Cultural Centre
PO Box 619 Blacktown NSW
Phone (02) 9896 4205

Northern Cyprus Turkish Association
295 Clyde St
Granville South
Phone (02) 9897 3114

Turkish Welfare Association
33 North Parade
Auburn 2144
Phone (02) 9649 7502

NSW Council of Turkish Associations
PO Box 613
Auburn 2144
Phone (02) 9749 5600

Sydney's Turkish Peoples' House
133 Smith St
Summer Hill 2130
Phone (02) 9798 9503

Australian Turkish Pensioners' Association
PO Box 697
Auburn 2144

Auburn United Soccer Club
PO Box 361
Auburn 2144
Phone (02) 9682 4770


Vicnet on-line directory

Australian Turkish Association
Phone:(03) 9583 2753

Australian Turkish Cultural Association
Phone:(03) 9428 82 50

Avustralya Milli Gorus Teskilatlari
Phone:(03) 9302 3030

Australian Turkish Friendship Society
Phone:(03) 9857 4824

Melbourne Alevi Cultural Centre
Phone:(03) 9354 8154

Victorian Northern Cyprus Turkish Association
Phone (03) 9312 5628

Western Australia

Turkish Australian Culture House
PO Box 573, Cannington WA 6987
Tel.: +61 8 9356 3949

See also:

Federation of Ethnic Communities' Councils of Australia
PO Box 344 Curtin, ACT 2605
Phone:02 6282 5755
Fax: 02 6282 5734

<< Previous | Next >>