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.

 

30 July 2020 // Ida West

Further reading

 

Ida West (30 September 1919 - 8 September 2003) was born on the Reserve at Cape Barren Island on , the second daughter of the late Ivy Victoria Albeana (Everett) and Henry Isaac Armstrong. The family moved to Killiecrankie, Flinders Island in the early 1920s -a full account of her childhood is available in her book Pride Against Prejudice.
 

Ida married Marcus Sydney West on 30 September 1939 under the gum trees at Killiecrankie, Flinders Island. Her daughter, Lenna was born at the Queen Victoria Hospital in Launceston on 27 July 1940, followed by two sons, Darrell and Michael. Ida and Marcus divorced in 1960.

Ida first became politically active after joining a Union and seeing the benefit of joint action. Soon after she joined the Labor Party and became involved in Aboriginal politics in the 1970s.

She would go on to become President of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre (incorporated 1973). Her efforts over a decade (along with other Aboriginal activists) culminated in the handing over of the title deeds to Wybalenna on Flinders Island to the Aboriginal community on 18 April 1999.

 

Ida's major contributions to her community were recognised with a number of awards. Most notable have been being named the National Female Aboriginal Elder of the Year at the NAIDOC ceremony in 2002 and being made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) on 26 January 2002.


In 2003 Ida was presented with a National Special Achievement Award at the NAIDOC ceremony in Hobart. Other honours include being featured by the Mercury newspaper (1/11/1999) as one of ten Tasmanians of the century and being represented on Bridging the Gap, a Centenary of Federation artwork displayed at Parliament House, Canberra.

Ida has achieved much in her life and is revered by the whole Tasmanian community.

In her lifetime she achieved significant results in women's health, land rights and recognition of the Aboriginal community in Tasmania.


Ida passed away on Monday 8 September 2003 after a long battle with cancer.