Sydney alumnus, Charles Perkins, was the first Aboriginal man to graduate from an Australian university. Our centre shares his philosophy of collaboration, inclusivity and continuing to challenge the status quo.
The Charles Perkins Centre owes its name to one of the University of Sydney’s most revered alumni. In 1966, Dr Charles Nelson Perkins AO was the first Aboriginal man to graduate from a university in Australia.
Perkins dedicated his life to achieving justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. His achievements included appointments as secretary of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and chairman of the Aboriginal Development Commission and Aboriginal Hostels.
Perkins was a fearless spokesman and renowned activist involved in Aboriginal organisations wherever he lived.
The last 30 years of his life were made possible by a kidney donation, and this gift made him determined to make a difference for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Perkins changed the lives of many people in Australia. He worked across boundaries to create new opportunities, and reached beyond traditional limitations to find solutions. He showed that new partnerships and ideas could change the way people think and act. He sought to lead new collaborations in situations where a single person or agency could not deliver the desired result.
The Charles Perkins Centre shares his philosophy. We are challenging old ways of thinking and integrating ideas from multiple streams of knowledge. We are looking for solutions beyond traditional boundaries to provide new hope for the health of our nation.