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Aunty Ruth Hegarty

​Aunty Ruth Hegarty
Elder Aunty Ruth Hegarty has been officially declared a Queensland Great - an honour Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Minister Desley Boyle describes as more than well deserved. 

Ms Boyle, who nominated Aunty Ruth, said it was a privilege to know this inspiring and popular Elder whom Queenslanders should rightly call their own. 

"Aunty Ruth is very much alive and is great Lady of Queensland," Ms Boyle said. 

"The award is recognition of Aunty Ruth's diverse work as an Elder, an author, an activist, a childcare worker and an educator. 

"Her incredible life story is inspirational. 

"She has worked tirelessly on behalf of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and she is prized for her heart of gold, sharp wit and tireless commitment to helping others. 

"While very humble, Aunty Ruth has devoted decades to helping others. She is a proud and strong Aboriginal person and through her involvement with so many p rojects and organisations she has made a difference to people's lives and to Queensland. 

"At 82 years young, Aunty Ruth hasn't finished yet and she continues to put her passion, energy and experience into helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people." 

Born Ruth Duncan in 1928, Aunty Ruth spent her childhood in Cherbourg dormitories before being sent to work on rural properties. In 1966 the family left Cherbourg to settle in Zillmere, Brisbane. To date, she has written three books about these life experiences. 

"Aunty Ruth credits the incredible friendships made in the dormitories as giving her many of the skills and coping mechanisms she used during her extraordinary and fulfilling life," said Ms Boyle. 

Aunty Ruth's focus has been on the areas of housing, respite, kindergartens, the church and day camps for children during holidays, harnessing the interest and support of numerous community organisations for her causes. 

"She has served on government advisory groups and steering committees to ensure the views of the community are heard by people of influence," Ms Boyle said. 

"Aunty Ruth was the spokesperson for the Stolen Wages campaign for many years. 

"Her commitment to social justice is unwavering and she continues to be a champion of reconciliation, the rights of individuals and overcoming disadvantage which we are rightly proud to honour as one of our truly Great Queenslanders." 

The Queensland Greats Awards were presented by Premier Anna Bligh to recognise individuals and organisations whose remarkable long-term achievements have made a significant contribution to the history and development of the State. 

Minister for Local Government and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships
The Honourable Desley Boyle