It would be difficult to work in the Northern Territory in the last half of the 20th century, and not have come across Charles Perkins.

Born in Alice Springs in the late 1930s, Charles Perkins career reads like a template for indigenous activism, from the Freedom Rides of the 1960s to his work with the Department of Aboriginal Affairs in the 1970s and his role as Commissioner and Deputy Chair, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Commission in the 1990s.

Oddly I also remember him as the soccer player who went to England and trialled with Everton and Manchester United, and was a force in the Australian soccer hierarchy until his death.

In 1990 Peter Read published a biography called simply Charles Perkins: a biography. In 1991 Charles Perkins happened to be living nearby and I took the opportunity to record this interview with him.


[audio: | titles=The life of Charles Perkins | artists=Charles Perkins i/v by Rae Allen ]


Cover of the Charles Perkins biography

Talent: Charles Perkins, activist
To Air: Territory Today, 1 July 1991, Duration 15:43

Charles Perkins died of renal failure in October 2000.


By Rae Allen

Rae Allen is a digital media professional.

2 thought on “Charles Perkins, activist”

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