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News & Media > Alumnae Awards > 2021 Alumnae Award Recipients > Cathy Craigie (1976)

Cathy Craigie (1976)

2021 Alumnae Award for Cultural Contribution
Cathy Craigie (1976)
Cathy Craigie (1976)

Cathy Craigie is a Gamilaroi and Anaiwon woman from Northern NSW. She grew up in a large extended family from Moree and the Northern Tablelands. Although born in a segregated ‘Aboriginal only’ maternity ward, and into a world not sympathetic to Aboriginal people and their experiences, Cathy says that her memories of growing up were happy ones and credits the strong women in her family as the greatest influence on her life.

In Year 6, Cathy enrolled as a Boarder at MLC School. She says the School taught her how to be more confident and shaped much of her character, especially her determination and independence. During her teenage years, Cathy volunteered at various local Aboriginal organisations where she interacted with some of the leaders in the community and was inspired by their passion and beliefs. Her knowledge and interest in First Nations history and cultures grew out of this time.

After completing secondary school, Cathy graduated with a Bachelor of Communication at the University of Technology. In 1990, she was one of the three founders of Gadigal Information Service (Koori Radio 93.7FM) and was the General Manager for 10 years. Cathy and her fellow founders saw the need for an Aboriginal owned and operated communication organisation in response to negative stereotypes portrayed by mainstream media.

Cathy is passionate about Aboriginal capacity building and community development and has worked in Aboriginal Affairs for over 30 years. From local community organisations, her career took her to senior positions in Government, including Director of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board of the Australia Council, Deputy Director General of the NSW Department of Aboriginal Affairs, and Executive Director of the First Nations Australia Writers Network. She’s been a member of the Arts Advisory Council of the NSW Ministry for the Arts and Chair of its Indigenous Arts Reference Group and has held a variety of key positions in other Aboriginal arts, health and housing organisations. Along with Koori Radio, Cathy is also a founding member of Ngalawi Housing Co-operative and the First Nations Australia Writers Network.

For the past 15 years, Cathy has worked as a consultant to various government bodies and Aboriginal communities, as well as to the arts and media industries. She has written several plays and fostered a number of children and is currently working on a performance piece on the Gamilaraay version of the Seven Sisters (Pleiades).

Cathy says she has never been ambitious for herself. ‘The work I’ve done and continue to do has a purpose, and that’s communicating with and educating Aboriginal as well as non-Aboriginal people to make our lives better.’

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