WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that the following may contain images, story and voices of deceased, by and about persons. Discretion advised.

 

14 July 2020 // Pat Eatock

June Patricia "Pat" Eatock (14 December 1937 – 17 March 2015) was born in Redcliffe Queensland. She left school at 14 and by 26 was a single parent of six.

1972 Pat Eatock became the first Aboriginal to stand for Federal Parliament in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). She participated in the Aboriginal Embassy and Women's Liberation in 1972.

In 1973 she became the first non-matriculated mature aged student at the Australian National University(ANU), graduating as a Bachelor of Arts in 1977.

In 1975 she was sponsored by the government to attend the Alternative Tribune to the International Women's Year World Conference in Mexico City, and also attend the Women in Politics Conference in Canberra that year.

Her public service career included working as a Project Officer in the Department of Social Security's Aboriginal Unit (1978-81), and in the EEO unit of the NSW Department of TAFE (1987-89). In 1991-92 she lectured in community development at Curtin University, Western Australia.

In December 1992 she established Perleeka Aboriginal Television, which she managed until its demise in 1996. Through it she trained Aboriginal film-makers, produced films for community television, and unsuccessfully attempted to open an Aboriginal TV channel. She taught Aboriginal Studies at James Cook University in 1997, and in 1999 undertook a one-year preliminary course with the intention of beginning a Masters degree in history at the University of Queensland.

In 2011 Pat Eatock came to public attention when she brought a case of racial discrimination against Andrew Bolt, journalist with the Herald and Weekly Times newspaper, the Herald Sun. The case was heard in the Federal Court of Australia. Bolt wrote a number of articles implying that people of fair skin who identified as Aboriginal did so for social and political advantage. Pat Eatock's case was upheld and the court directed the newspaper organisation to print a corrective notice.

 

Pat Eatock passed away on 17 March, 2015 after a long period of ill health.

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