Colless, Daphne Rosina, (OAM) (1928-)

Also known as
Colless, Daphne Rose
Field of activity
Aboriginal administrator; Public servant; Aboriginal community worker
NLA Persistent Identifier
http://nla.gov.au/nla.party-725069

Biographies

From working at the meatworks of Qeerah, Queensland, Rose Colless went on to be Queensland Commissioner for Aborigines and manage a centre for the rehabilitation of alcoholics before being presented with an Order of Australia Medal and an Australian human rights award.

Daphne Rosina (Rose) Colless grew up in Ayr and Cairns, Queensland. She was offered a high school church scholarship, but her mother was persuaded by other children's (non-indigenous) mothers that this would be a waste of time. Rosina left school to do housework for ten shillings a week.

Colless worked at the meatworks at Qeerah from 1961 to 1973, becoming a union delegate before taking the position of Liaison Officer with the Department of Aboriginal and Islander Affairs, and later with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service, visiting communities throughout north Queensland. In 1977 she became a Queensland Commissioner for Aborigines and advised the state government on indigenous issues. Her criticism of government actions on Aurukun and Mornington Island led to her losing this job.

In 1974 Colless became a director of Douglas House, a centre for the rehabilitation of alcoholics. In 1978 she became its manager, acquiring a farm on the tablelands and setting up meals in the park for the destitute.

Colless was awarded an Order of Australia Medal in 1984, and in 1987 received an Australian human rights award. She continues to be widely consulted on Aboriginal affairs.

View the full record at Australian Women's Register

Resources for Daphne Rosina Colless

Selected resources (6)

Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS)

  1. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Biographical Index (ABI) Entries

    Please be aware that some ABI records contain language, words or descriptions which may be considered offensive or distressing. These words reflect the attitude of the period in which the item was written and/or that of its author. Please also be aware that ABI records may contain references to deceased people which may cause sadness or distress.

    Names of people mentioned in this source may or may not be Indigenous.

  2. OShane, Pat. The Queensland Acts : Australias Apartheid Laws. 1980() : 24
    [1980]

    Summary: Member of the Queensland Aboriginal and Islanders Commission along with Getano Lui, Les Stewart, Oliver Noel Fatnowna. She was previously a Field Officer with the Aboriginal Legal Aid Service in Cairns.

    Place: Cairns (NE Qld SE55-02)

  3. Sykes, Roberta. Murawina : Australian Women of High Achievement. Moorebank, NSW : Doublebay, 1993 : 83-87
    [1993]

    Summary: Biographical and career details. Rose was the first recipient of the Human Rights Award in 1987. She also received a medal of the Order of Australia in 1984. She founded the Alcohol Relief Service in Cairns.

    Place: Cairns (NE Qld SE55-02); New South Wales (NSW)

    Language: Kuku Yalanji / Gugu Yalandji people (Y78) (Qld SD55-13);

Australian Women's Register

  1. Colless, Daphne Rosina
    Published: National Foundation for Australian Women
    Series: IspartOf The Australian Women's Register
  2. Murawina : Australian women of high achievement
    Roberta Sykes ; photography by Sandy Edwards
    [Sydney]
    Published: Doubleday
  3. The Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia : Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, society and culture
    Horton, David
    [Canberra]
    Published: Aboriginal Studies Press for AIATSIS

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  1. The awards and recipients A.C. Companions in the general division of the Order of Australia
    The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995) Thursday 26 January 1984 p 10 Article
    ... , Rosedale, NSW, for public service. Mrs Daphne Rosina Colless, Cairns, Qld, for service to Aboriginal ... "«"eiaot PleasanXi8!"®8 Wilaon- M°unt Pleasant. WA, for service to the com O.A.M. Medal of the Order ol Australia ... 4162 words
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