Personal Achievements


During his time as the leading activists of the Aboriginal anti-discrimination movements, Perkins was awarded with numerous honours and awards. These are, as quoted from Wikipedia,Charles Perkins:

Perkins was awarded Jaycees Young Man of the Year in 1966, NAIDOC Aboriginal of the Year in 1993 and an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1987. Perkins was inducted into the Football Federation Australia Football Hall of Fame for services as a player, coach and administrator in 2000. In 1998 Perkins was awarded an honorary doctorate of letters by the University of Western Sydney. Shortly before his death he was awarded and honorary doctorate of law by the University of Sydney. In 2001 the The Dr Charles Perkins AO Memorial Oration and Dr Charles Perkins AO Memorial Prize were established in his honour by the University of Sydney. Perkins was named by the National Trust of Australia as one of Australia's Living National Treasures.

However, his most notable achievements would be ones that he was not honored for. One would be his role in the "Freedom Ride" of 1965, during which he led the Student Action for Aborigines group, comprised of Sydney University students, on a bus tour around New South Wales to raise public awareness of Aboriginal discrimination.

Perkins had witnessed firsthand the discrimination the Aborigines suffered everyday, as he also encountered the double standards and segregation that all Aborigines experienced. He was taken from his home at the young age of 10, albeit not forcefully like members of the stolen generation, and suffered discrimination from his peers during his school-life. He was considered a "second-class" citizen, and was at one-stage chased into the street as a "nigger". In his own words, he described it as a sad and desperate upbringing. So, to safe other Aborigines from experiencing the same pains he did, he became an activist and the "champion" of Aboriginal Affairs.

Charles Perkins was a champion of his people, helping them achieve a self confidence to question Australia's policy on all indigenous Australians. He was able to show the world the racial discrimination that was endured by the indigenous population in Australia, and through his charismatic character and inspiring leadership he helped break down the social wall that has been embedded between the white and indigenous population. Although he retired from his government role in 1988 after a clash with a department head, he was not dissuaded and continued to speak out on Aboriginal issues including the Mabo and Wik decisions on Native Title. He would continue to be an active advocate for Aboriginal rights and equality until his death in October 19, 2000.

Another notable achievement of Perkins was his role in the 1967 referendum. He was one of the driving forces in the referendum, an event which gave Aborigines an unprecedented number of rights, and also formally included them as Australian people.

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