In 1965, as a student at the University of Sydney, Dr Perkins organised a student bus tour around New South Wales to draw attention to the state of Indigenous health, education and housing, and to try and stimulate local action. This was called the Freedom ride, and it highlighted the state of race relations in Australia. It is recognised as one of Australia's most significant civil rights events.
In 1966, Dr Charles Nelson Perkins AO was the first Aboriginal man to graduate from a university in Australia.
His achievements included appointments as secretary of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and chairman of the Aboriginal Development Commission and Aboriginal Hostels. Dr Perkins was a fearless spokesman and renowned activist involved in Aboriginal organisations wherever he lived.
Our centre owes its name to Charles Perkins and we share his philosophy of collaboration, inclusivity and continuing to challenge the status quo.
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.
Charles Perkins changed the lives of many Australians. 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 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.