7 February, 2024


Reflecting on the remarkable life and legacy of Lowitja O’Donoghue, it is impossible to overlook the profound sentiment that guided her journey – a love for her people. In her own words, “Because I loved my people,” was something she embodied for nearly a century and fuelled her unwavering determination to change Australia for the better specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

From humble beginnings in remote South Australia, Lowitja defied the odds to emerge as one of Australia’s most remarkable leaders, an advocate, and a bridge between Australia’s past and the future it needed to embrace. Her legacy is a testament to the power of love, resilience, and an unyielding commitment to justice.

Pat Turner, CEO of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), extends her condolences on behalf of NACCHO. “Lowitja O’Donoghue’s passing leaves an immeasurable loss to our community. Her relentless advocacy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health has left an enduring impact. I had the privilege of working alongside Lowitja during our time at ATSIC, where her wisdom and dedication were evident to anyone who met her.

To her family and loved ones, I extend my deepest sympathies. We will feel the loss of her love, visionary leadership, and guiding presence.”

Donnella Mills, NACCHO Chair, adds, “Lowitja’s wisdom and leadership paved the way for transformative change. As we mourn her departure, we must also celebrate the extraordinary life she lived and commit ourselves to continuing her legacy.”

Lowitja’s lifelong commitment to developing an Australia characterised by hope, fairness, and a thriving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, is a vision we share at NACCHO, and we commit to continuing to build on the legacy left by this great leader.

Thank you, Lowitja O’Donoghue, and our sincere condolences to the O’Donoghue family.