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Photographs supplied by Stephen Langman

The cairn commemorates Daisy Bates who devoted her life to the welfare of Australian aborigines. The cairn was erected by the Daisy Bates Memorial Committee.

Daisy May Bates, CBE  (1859 – 1951) was an Irish Australian journalist, welfare worker and lifelong student of Australian Aboriginal culture and society. She was known among the native people as 'Kabbarli'. Between 1919 and 1934 she lived in a tent around 2 kilometres north from the Ooldea Railway siding with the aim to provide the Aboriginal people with food, clothing, simple medicines, to discourage contact of the Aboriginal women with the railway workers and to generally look after the wellbeing of the Aboriginal people in the area.

Watched by more than 40 aborigines, many of whom remembered her, a memorial cairn to the late Mrs.Daisy Bates was unveiled at Ooldea siding yesterday. The ceremony was performed by the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) who said that the memorial was a witness to the life of a remarkable woman who worked for the natives in an age when there was not much sympathy or compassion for them. For white people it was a living witness that the natives had hopes and aspirations of their own. 

Turning directly to the natives present, he said, "To you it is a witness that, by living among you, white people care about you and are your friends." Mrs. Bates was Kabarli, or grandmother, to the natives, he said, and to that degree had entered their family life. This point was emphasised by the Superintendent for Native Affairs at Woomera (Mr. W. B. MacDougall). who said that when he told natives of the unveiling ceremony their first reaction was one of a form of resentment because they believed Daisy Bates belonged to them. She was 'Granny' to all the native people of the Ooldea region and far beyond. However, they soon recognised the significance of the memorial. The natives who attended came from up to 100 miles away, some from the Yalata Reserve. They were brought here by the pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission at Koonibba (Pastor H. Rosenblatt) who closed the ceremony with a prayer.
The Advertiser (Adelaide), 15 November 1954.



Address:Ooldea Railway Siding, Ooldea, 5710
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -30.45789
Long: 131.838303
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Sunday 14th November, 1954
Front Inscription

1859 - 1951
Mrs Daisy Bates C. B. E.

Devoted her life here & elsewhere to the welfare of the Australian • Aborigines •​

Source: MA, ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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