Major force behind Indigenous vote referendum has died at 96

A notice to indigenous readers, this story contains images of a person who has died. 

POLITICAL activist and writer Faith Bandler, AC has died aged 96.

Born to a mother with Scottish and Indian heritage, and to a father who was kidnapped from an island in Vanuatu to work in the Queensland cane fields, Bandler was born in Tumbulgum in northern New South Wales.

Originally named Ida Lessing Faith Mussing, she grew up on a farm on the New South Wales north coast and served in the women's land army during World War II, when she realised that although the land girls were underpaid, the Aboriginal farm workers were even worse off.

Their plight inspired her to co-found the Aboriginal Australian Fellowship with Pearl Gibbs, and the Federal Council for the Advancement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

"I recall ... an Aboriginal woman coming and saying to me, 'you're not free if we're not free, now you get up and do something about it, give me a hand'," Bandler said.

Read more at ABC News Online

Governor-General Quentin Bryce (right) embraces Aboriginal rights campaigner Faith Bandler after investing her with the Companion of the Order of Australia at Admiralty House in Sydney, Wedesday, April 29, 2009. Mrs Bandler was awarded the AC in the 2009 Australia Day Honours for distinguished service to the community through the advancement of human rights and social justice.
Governor-General Quentin Bryce (right) embraces Aboriginal rights campaigner Faith Bandler after investing her with the Companion of the Order of Australia at Admiralty House in Sydney, Wedesday, April 29, 2009. Mrs Bandler was awarded the AC in the 2009 Australia Day Honours for distinguished service to the community through the advancement of human rights and social justice. AAP Image - Paul Miller

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