They are the leaders who have made their stamp on Australia – literally.
This week Professor Tom Calma, Dr Lowitja O’Donoghue and Dr Galarrwuy Yunupingu were immortalised on new Australia Post $1 commemorative stamps.
Australia Post managing director and chief executive officer Ahmed Fahour said the ‘Australian Legends’ stamps recognised the lifelong advocacy and leadership the three had achieved for their communities.
Professor Calma, a Kungarakan elder, has served as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner and also Race Discrimination Commissioner. He is currently co-chair of Reconciliation Australia.
Dr Lowitja O’Donoghue, of Irish and Yankunytjatjara descent, was the first Aboriginal woman to be accepted into nursing training in South Australia and went on to be the most senior Aboriginal person in public office. She is the only Indigenous Australian to have addressed the UN General Assembly.
A leader and land rights activist, Dr Yunupingu acted as an interpreter for the first litigation on traditional land rights in the ’70s. In 1997 he was named an Australian Living Treasure by the National Trust.
Professor Calma said he hoped the stamps would highlight what can be achieved in a lifetime.
“Advocates like myself never seek the spotlight for the work we do, and while I am acknowledged in the stamp, many who have walked with me share this honour,” he said.
“I am proud, humbled and appreciate that my lifetime work and the achievements of Indigenous advocates and our colleagues are celebrated in such a meaningful way.
“I hope that occasions like this highlight what is achievable in a lifetime and will encourage greater advocacy for equality. Together we can affect change.”
Mr Fahour said the 2017 release of the ‘Australian Legends’ series also marked the 50th year since the 1967 referendum, when Australians voted overwhelmingly to amend the Constitution and provide rights to our First Peoples.