What makes Gladys Elphick TENACIOUS material? When Gladys was 8 months, she was taken to the mission at Point Pearce—“Part of a government initiative aimed at ‘assimilation,’ in which indigenous people were forced onto reserves and children of mixed descent were removed from their families, now referred to as the Stolen Generations,” (Pierpont pg. 111).
Gladys left school at age 12 and worked at the dairy station, and Women Elders trained her as a midwife.
Gladys, sheltered in the mission, finally saw the struggles and lack of services for indigenous people when she stepped outside of Point Pearce. She began to organize and bring people together to make social change.
Also known as Aunty Glad, Gladys Elphick was an Australian aboriginal (Kaurna tribe) women filled with compassion, ambition, and humor. A highly respected elder, she was an Aboriginal community leader in Australia who founded the Council of Aboriginal Women of South Australia, the first Aboriginal women’s body to be formed in Australia. This council was driven to fight and advocate for indigenous rights to services and opportunities. She focused programs around education, medical services, and especially helping the Kaurna women find their voice and power.
She was just like you and me, an ordinary women, driven to do extraordinary things. She did not come from a background of glamour, but created her own destiny through her passion for her people and women.
In 1971 She was appointed as a Member of the Order of the British Empire and in 1984, she was named South Australian of the Year. In 2003, the Aboriginal women’s group created the Gladys Elphick Award to “recognize the significant contribution by South Australian Aboriginal women to their local community,” as stated on their Facebook page.
Thank you Elphick Gladys for your wonderful work to uplift women and Aboriginal peoples in South Australia. An impact anywhere is an impact everywhere. Like a ripple to a pond, we feel your impact all the way from the U.S.
Peace and Love.
❤ Wabi Sabi
More links for more information about Gladys Elphick.