Today’s Doodle celebrates Indigenous Australian social activist, educator, and campaigner, Evelyn Ruth Scott AO. During National Reconciliation Week, we honor Evelyn who fought tirelessly for Indigenous rights. On this day in the year 2000, Evelyn led the Corroboree 2000 — the largest gathering of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous leaders in Australian history — and Walk for Reconciliation. Today’s Doodle was illustrated by Indigenous guest artist,Samantha Campbell, who descended from the Dagoman people from Katherine.
Evelyn was born in Ingham, Queensland in 1935. Her life of activism started in the 1960s, when she was denied a wedding dress because of her racial identity. Evelyn joined the Townsville Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advancement League and became actively involved in the 1967 Constitutional ‘Yes’ Referendum, a decade-long campaign to include all Indigenous Australians in population counts — 90% of Australians voted in favor.
Fueled by the campaign’s success, she joined the Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders as Vice President and was eventually named its first general secretary. Evelyn also became Chair of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation in 1997. Three years later, she led more than 250,000 people in the Corroboree 2000 and Walk for Reconciliation across the Sydney Harbour Bridge in demand of an official apology for years of neglect towards the Indigenous population. Eight years later, the Prime Minister gave that apology.
Evelyn played a significant role in helping unite all of Australia and paved the way for future generations of Indigenous people. Her inspiring contributions were recognized with countless awards and accolades: the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 1977, the Centenary Medal in 2001, the Queensland Greats Award in 2003, and many more. A monument in Parkes, ACT was raised in her memory, and a school in her name still operates in the same area today.
Thank you, Evelyn Ruth Scott AO for being an unwavering leader in reconciliation efforts. This year’s National Reconciliation Theme, ‘Be a Voice for Generations’, encourages all Australians to use their collective voices and uplift the rich history, culture, and future of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.