Biography of Care Experience People

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Charles Perkins: A Biography

Peter Read

1990

Charlie Perkins (1936 – 2000) was an Australian Aboriginal activist, soccer player and administrator. Charlie Perkins was born in Alice Springs, in the Northern Territory; his mother was an Arrente woman and his father a Kalkadoon/Irish man. At the age of 10, Charlie was separated from his family and taken to live in Adelaide, South Australia at St Francis House with Gordon Briscoe and other Aboriginal boys. Not keen on school, Charlie excelled at soccer and he played professionally for the English team, Everton, in 1957. He was the first Indigenous Australian man to graduate tertiary education, and is known for his instigation and organisation of the 1965 Freedom Ride and his key role in advocating for a "yes" vote in the Australian referendum, 1967 (Aboriginals). He had a long career as a public servant.