Doris Pilkington Garimara AM
Celebrated author Doris Pilkington Garimara AM is an Indigenous activist and lifetime campaigner for reconciliation. Through her remarkable storytelling, Doris has raised awareness of Indigenous history, culture and social conditions.
Doris was born on Balfour Downs Station in the East Pilbara in 1937. As a toddler she was taken from her mother to be raised at the Moore River Mission. At 18, Doris left the mission system as the first of its members to qualify for the Royal Perth Hospital’s nursing aide training program. Following marriage and a family, she studied journalism and worked in film/video production. Her first book Caprice:A Stockman’s Daughter won the 1990 David Unaipon National Award.
Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence was first published in 1996, and was released internationally in 2002 as the film ‘Rabbit-Proof Fence’. The novel has now been translated into 11 languages worldwide.
In 2002, Doris was appointed co-patron of the state and federal Sorry Day committees’ Journey of Healing. Her third novel Under the Wintamarra tree was also published in the same year.
In 2006, Doris published Home to Mother, a children’s version of her own mother’s courageous 1600 km journey on foot from the Moore River Native Settlement to Jigalong. In the same year, she was awarded an Order of Australia for service to the arts in Indigenous literature.
Doris Pilkington Garimara AM is the recipient of the 2008 Australia Council Red Ochre Award. The award pays tribute to an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander artist for their outstanding, life-long contribution to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts at home and abroad.
Visit the Red Ochre Award honour roll of past recipients.