Dr Evelyn Scott AO

In 1991, Dr Evelyn Scott became the first female chair of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation.

Honour Roll

Evelyn was born and grew up in a cane-farming town, Ingham, in far north Queensland. She was of Aboriginal and South Sea Islander descent. Her grandfather was 'black-birded' and brought out to Australia as a Kanaka slave to clear the land in Queensland for the sugar industry.

Growing up in Queensland she experienced racism. In 1963, when she went to a shop buy a wedding dress she asked to try two on but was refused. She was told they could sell her a dress but it was against their policy to let her try it on. Even in 1999 in Sydney she was refused a taxi ride to the airport because of her colour. Back in 1963 she simply left and bought her dress elsewhere. In 1999, she took the driver to the Anti-Discrimination Commission, she received apologies from the company and the driver and he lost his job.

Dr Scott became chair of the Cairns and District Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Corporation for Women and has been involved in Aboriginal affairs for over 30 years. She played an instrumental role in the establishment of Aboriginal Legal Services, Housing Societies and Medical Services in Queensland. In 1991, she was appointed chairperson of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation. This group worked for almost a decade before handing their final report to the government in December 2000.