Who is that lady who appeared on the Google homepage this morning?
Well, that’s Aunty Glad. Gladys Elphick, who was born 104 years ago today.
Glad was an Australian Aboriginal woman of Kaurna-Ngadjuri descent, born in Adelaide in 1904 but sent off to a mission on the Yorke Peninsula.
She left school at 12 years, worked in a dairy, and married a shearer. After her husband’s death, she moved to Adelaide to work as a domestic servant.
Glad joined the Aborigines Advancement League of South Australia in the 1940s. In 1964, she became the founding president of the Council of Aboriginal Women of South Australia.
Glad actively campaigned for the 1967 Referendum, and helped establish Aboriginal Community Centres and the Aboriginal Medical Service.
The 1967 Referendum gave the Federal Government power make laws concerning Aboriginal Peoples, previously the responsibility of state governments. The Referendum also enabled Aboriginal Peoples to be included in the Census. This was achieved by amending section 51(xxvi), and removing section 127 of the Australian Constitution.
Gladys established women’s shelters, health services, and helped set up legal aid services, kindergartens, and adult education courses.
Gladys received an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in 1971, and was named South Australian of the Year in 1984. She died in 1988.
Since 2003, annual Gladys Elphick Awards have been given to South Australian Aboriginal women for their achievements.
Aunty Glad was known for her sense of humour, her ability to cut through humbug, and for getting things done. She dedicated herself to improving the lives of others, particularly Aboriginal women.
So now you know!
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Well done Google for reminding us of this extraordinary woman.