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Vale Professor Gordon Briscoe AO

It is with great sorrow and heavy hearts that we receive the news of the passing of Marduntjara and Pitjantjatjara man Professor Gordon Briscoe AO. He was a true luminary, a prominent Indigenous activist, leader, researcher, writer, teacher, and historian. Professor Briscoe's exceptional career and unwavering dedication to his community have left an indelible mark on countless lives.

Born in 1938, Professor Briscoe devoted his life to pursuing knowledge and social justice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs, becoming a revered figure in his field. He significantly contributed to various research areas throughout his esteemed career, particularly Indigenous studies. His extensive work delved into the complexities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture, and land rights, shedding light on overlooked narratives and fostering a deeper understanding and respect for First Nations people.

In recognition of his achievements, Professor Briscoe was awarded membership of the Order of Australia in 2002, receiving the second-highest grade of Officer. This prestigious honour celebrated his work in the Aboriginal Medical Service, Aboriginal Legal Services, the National Trachoma and Eye Health Program, and his academic accomplishments.

As a long-standing member of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) since May 2004, Professor Briscoe has been pivotal in advancing the organisation’s mission. His expertise, guidance, and unwavering dedication to preserving and promoting Indigenous knowledge and heritage were instrumental in strengthening AIATSIS and its work.

Beyond his academic achievements, Professor Briscoe's impact extended far beyond the classroom. He tirelessly advocated for the rights and well-being of Indigenous communities, collaborating closely with local organisations and government bodies to bring about meaningful change. His tireless efforts in community development, reconciliation, and empowering Indigenous voices have left an enduring legacy that will continue to inspire future generations.

Today, as we grieve the loss of Professor Briscoe, we extend our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues. We acknowledge the profound impact of their support throughout his remarkable journey, and we stand united in honouring his memory and celebrating his extraordinary contributions.

Professor Gordon Briscoe's legacy will forever be engraved in the annals of academia, his community, and the hearts of all who knew him. His wisdom, compassion, and unwavering commitment to social justice will continue to guide us as we carry his torch forward.

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Last updated: 07 July 2023