January 2024 supporter update


January 2024 Close the Gap Research supporter update

Hon Dr Gary Johns

17 Jan 2024

2:04 min

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In this video Close the Gap Research Chairman, Hon Dr. Gary Johns discusses Margaret Valadian, the first Aboriginal university graduate in Australia, highlighting the historical presence of Aboriginal individuals in universities. He also discusses the upcoming Church and State Summit in Brisbane.

Learn about the Church and State Summit

Video transcript

I'd like to draw your attention to an article in WA Today. I've got the link in my message to you about a woman, Margaret Validian, and Margaret was the first Aboriginal graduate of university in Australia and she started at the University of Queensland in 1962.

In fact, I recall that there were scholarships available to Aboriginal men at the University of Sydney in 1952. So university has been open for Aboriginal people for a long, long time, but it's true that there haven't been able to really breakthrough until the last couple of decades.

But wonderful woman Margaret Valadian, the piece written up today is by Patty Warne, who's someone I knew a long time ago. She worked for Gough Whitlam. And I'd recommend it to you because it does remind us that a lot of Aboriginal people have succeeded very well in moving into the Open Society.

And our argument, as always, is to think about why the last 20% or so have not made it and not necessarily the university, but to take for or a life where they're employed and doing well.

The second thing I have for you is a conference that will be in Brisbane in March called Church and State. I want to attend and I'll be there with our banner up for Close the Gap Research.

So if you're in Brisbane in March, I'll give you the link. It'll be a very good conference. It's, you know, conservative people who are Christians and think deeply about life and society and politics, and I recommend it to you.

Image: Margaret Valadian interviewed in 1967 (ABC/Four Corners) Source: ABC/Four Corners

Other resources


Stories from the front line: An interview with Terry Keane


Read the CtGR Adelaide Statement from the Head (PDF)


Stories from the front line: An interview with Cheryl Waye