Uncle Dookie honoured for lifetime of service

The City of Adelaide has awarded Dr Kevin ‘Uncle Dookie’ O’Loughlin OAM the Lord Mayor’s Indigenous Achievement Award for 2023.

The award recognises the outstanding achievement and service of an extraordinary Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander community member who has made a significant contribution to reconciliation in the City of Adelaide.

A highly respected Narungga-Kaurna elder, Uncle Dookie was awarded an Order of Australia in 2006 in recognition of his contribution to Aboriginal education for over 50 years.

Born in Wallaroo in 1947, Uncle Dookie started his professional career as a farm hand at the Point Pearce Mission Station before going on to study at the Aboriginal College in North Adelaide in 1980.

He soon developed a passion for education and was an integral part of the Aboriginal Studies Resource Unit, training Aboriginal teacher aids and tour guides.

During his time teaching he helped develop and implement many Aboriginal programs relating to Narungga history and dreamings, such as Buthera Rock and Winda the Owl.

Uncle Dookie has had a significant impact on the management of biodiversity in the Adelaide Park Lands, running workshops to incorporate Kaurna knowledge into the management of the City’s biodiversity. His valuable input guided the Kaurna Kardla Parranthi Cultural Burn in 2021 – the first time a Cultural Burn had been practiced in a capital city since colonisation.

Lord Mayor and City of Adelaide Reconciliation Committee Co-chairperson Jane Lomax-Smith says Uncle Dookie has been a devoted community leader.

“Uncle Dookie has been a champion for cultural understanding and the value of Aboriginal knowledge for over 50 years,” said the Lord Mayor.

“He is an educator, storyteller and cultural consultant who has worked tirelessly bringing the Creation Stories to life.

“He is committed to preserving Narungga and Kaurna culture and language, with his legacy to leave a lasting impression on the community.”

Uncle Dookie was presented his award at today’s annual Lord Mayor NAIDOC celebration at Adelaide Town Hall.

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