Batchelor Institute » Vale Dr Bush-Blanasi
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Date:November 16, 2023

Vale Dr Bush-Blanasi


Batchelor Institute’s Council and staff would like to mark the passing of Northern Land Council (NLC) Chairman, Dr Bush-Blanasi.  We extend our sincere and deep sympathy to Dr Bush-Blanasi’s family, friends, colleagues and Community.

Born and raised in the community of Wugularr (Beswick), Dr Bush-Blanasi was a powerful change-maker and fighter for the rights of First Nations people.  Dr Bush-Blanasi was prominent in Aboriginal land rights particularly through the NLC where he served nine terms, including four consecutive terms as Chairman.  He also played a pivotal role in securing Sea Country rights for traditional owners in Arnhem Land, and spearheaded historic changes to the NT’s Aboriginal land rights laws.

Dr Bush-Blanasi was also an elected representative of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission and was a long-serving board member of the North Australian Indigenous Land & Sea Management Alliance, Imparja and Northern Building Consultants.  He was a founding member of the Association of Northern, Kimberley and Arnhem Aboriginal Artists, Aboriginal Sea Company, Aboriginal Housing Northern Territory, Top End Aboriginal Bush Broadcasting Association and the Northern Territory Aboriginal Investment Corporation.

As an education institution we also recognise his passionate support of two way learning through the Learning on Country Program which allows Aboriginal children living in remote communities a better opportunity to navigate the world while keeping strong in their culture. We would also like to recognise his leadership, support and advocacy for a Voice to Parliament.  This leadership was very much appreciated by Batchelor Institute and our Chair, Ms Pat Anderson AO.

Noting his decades long service to First Nations peoples, particularly in the Northern Territory, Dr Bush-Blanasi was awarded an honorary doctorate from Charles Darwin University earlier this year and was also recognised as the 2023 NT Australian of the Year.

To mark the passing of this strong leader, Batchelor Institute’s flags are flying at half-mast for a week (returning to full mast on the morning of 22 November) and will again be lowered to half-mast on the day of Dr Bush-Blanasi’s funeral.  We anticipate sending senior representation from the Institute to the funeral, but will wait to hear about these arrangements, and for guidance about the family’s preferences.

Vale Dr Bush-Blanasi