Question:

Who was Shirley Smith (´Mum Shirl´) ?

Fred Hollows

Fred Hollows (1929–1993)
Fred Hollows was born in Dunedin, New Zealand. He became a doctor and began to specialise in the treatment of diseases of the eye. He had to travel to England to do this and won a prize as one of the top students.
After he returned to Australia, Hollows spent a lot of his time studying and treating an eye disease called 'trachoma', which causes blindness if it is not treated quickly. Many Aboriginal people suffer from this disease.

Fred Hollows helped set up the Aboriginal Medical Service in Sydney and arranged for teams of people to travel all over the country to treat trachoma. This saved many people from becoming blind. He also helped to train doctors for work in Africa and set up a program to cure another common eye disease called 'cataracts'.

His work has been recognised in many ways. He was given a Human Rights Medal, an Australian Achiever Award, made Australian of the Year, given an Order of Australia Award and had a medical foundation named after him.

Shirley Smith ('Mum Shirl')

Shirley Smith ('Mum Shirl') (1921–1998)
Shirley Smith was an Aborigine who was born in Cowra, New South Wales. She was not able to go to an ordinary school because she suffered from epilepsy and was taught at home by her grandfather.
Shirley began to visit Aboriginal people in prison when one of her brothers was there and found other people also enjoyed having someone to talk to. She also went to court sometimes to help people who had been charged with a crime. People began to call her 'Mum Shirl'. Some of her time was spent finding homes for children whose parents could not look after them or helping children to find their own parents again.

With some other people, she set up the Aboriginal Medical Service and the Aboriginal Legal Service to give proper service to Aboriginal people who needed it. Shirley could not read or write, but could speak 16 different Aboriginal languages.

Her work was commemorated with an Order of Australia and an Order of the British Empire.

Mandaway Yunupingu

Mandaway Yunupingu (1956– )
Mandaway Yunupingu was born in the Northern Territory in 1956. He was the first Aboriginal to become a principal of a school in Australia, at Yirrkala in the Northern Territory. While he was principal, he made sure that lessons with both Aboriginal and European ideas were included.
In 1986 he began the band, Yothu Yindi. The band sang songs explaining the problems of Aboriginal life. Yunupingu hopes that the music will improve life for Aboriginal people by improving the way other Australians see them. He has worked hard to have Aboriginal people and other Australians work together and to be more friendly towards each other.

In 1992, he was made Australian of the Year for his work in improving understanding between Australians.

Truganini

Truganini (about 1803–1876)
Truganini was an Aboriginal woman who was born on Bruni Island in Tasmania. She worked with her husband, Woorrady, to help the Protector of Aborigines, George Robinson, move Aboriginal people from the mainland to settle on Flinders Island. She is said to have saved Robinson's life by helping him escape an attack by floating him across a river on a log.
She travelled to Port Phillip (now known as Melbourne, Victoria) with Robinson and his wife but returned to Flinders Island to move with her people to Oyster Cove on the mainland. This settlement was not successful and most of the people died.

Truganini became known as the last Tasmanian Aborigine but this is not true. At the end of her life Truganini lived in Hobart and was very well known. She died in 1876.

Archbishop Peter Hollingworth

Archbishop Peter Hollingworth (1935– )
Archbishop Peter Hollingworth was born in 1935. He became a priest and tried to encourage the church to do more to improve people's lives. He trained as a social worker as well and took a job with the Brotherhood of St Lawrence. This is a group that helps people who are in trouble or in need.
Hollingworth believes that poor people should have more control over their own lives and that people should respect different ideas and ways of life from their own. He has also worked to help Aboriginal people and young people who have no jobs. His ideas have caused some arguments with other people in the church, but he was made an archbishop in 1990.

In 1991 he was made Australian of the Year.

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