Adelaide Research and Scholarship
University Library : Special Collections
Members of Aboriginal communities are advised that this listing contains images and names of deceased persons. Some titles have been transcribed from original items and reflect attitudes of the time.
Daisy Bates (1859 – 1951) was a pioneer in the observation, over a period of 35 years, of the Aboriginal people living in the desert around the Great Australian Bight.
Born in County Tipperary, Ireland as Daisy May O’Dwyer, she arrived in Australia in 1883 and worked as a governess to the Bates family near Nowra, NSW. In 1885 she married the eldest son, drover John Bates. It has since been proven that she had previously married the man we know as Harry ‘Breaker” Morant and possibly another man as well, without ever having had these marriages dissolved. After bearing a son to John Bates, she left alone for London to work as a journalist for the next 5 years.
Daisy Bates returned to Australia in 1899 and consulted with Aboriginal people on language, religion, myths, customs and kinship. In about 1919 she settled in Ooldea SA to live with “her” people for more than 16 years, seeing her role as “smoothing the pillow of a dying race”.
She wrote My Natives and I and The Passing of the Aborigines in 1935 in order to publicise her cause and attract funds for her work. Some of her notes were compiled with secretarial help 1936 – 40 and later deposited in the National Library
Sources ADB, Obituary
Daisy Bates Digital Archive
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