Elizabeth Hoffman

Elizabeth Hoffman was a widely respected Yorta Yorta Elder, and instrumental in the founding of the Victorian Aboriginal Women's Refuge.

Honour Roll

Elizabeth Hoffman House in Melbourne was named in her honour in the 1970s in recognition of her work with the Victorian Aboriginal Women's Refuge. She served on its Board of Management for many years and her long involvement continued.

Elizabeth Morgan was born in 1927, at Cummeragunja Aboriginal Reserve near the Murray River in New South Wales, one of seven children to Michael and Maude Morgan. Her schooling up to the age of 14 was at Cummeragunja. For a number of years after her mother's death, Liz lived with the nurses at the Medical Clinic on the Reserve. Permission to visit her family had to be gained from the Reserve manager, and leave was given only for her to have a meal. Afterwards she would return to the clinic where meals were taken separately from the nurses and she slept on the verandah.

Her family left to find a better life away from the oppressive conditions at the Reserve as part of the walk-off from Cummeragunja in 1939. She worked in the canning factory at Mooroopna in northeast Victoria, and then moved to Swan Hill where she worked until she married at 18.

In 1971, Liz moved to Melbourne and started work at the Aborigines Advancement League as Matron of the Gladys Nicholls Hostel in Northcote. She was elected President of the League's Management Committee three times and Vice President and Treasurer. This was followed by her appointment as Director of the Aborigines Advancement League in Victoria in 1976. During this time she was appointed as adviser on Aboriginal Affairs to the City of Northcote Council. Liz served as Commissioner with the Aboriginal Development Commission and a member of the Steering Committee of the Land Council.

Other appointments and offices held were Chairperson of the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service for three years; Chairperson of the Victorian Aboriginal Housing Co-operative and an elected member to its Steering Committee; Executive of the National Aboriginal and Islander Women's Council. When she returned to live in regional Victoria for a time, Liz worked for the Aboriginal Women's Council at Echuca.

Liz retired but continued to inspire others in the Aboriginal community. She was involved with her family and other Yorta Yorta descendants in their fight for recognition of native title to Yorta Yorta land around Echuca on the Murray River.