The life and story of Pastor and Activist Don Kawanji Brady

Don Brady (Kawanji) was a prominent Aboriginal leader in Queensland throughout the 1960s and 1970s. He was a descendant of the Gu Gu Yalanji people from the Cape York region.

Don grew up on Palm Island Aboriginal Settlement and in his twenties worked as a missionary for the Aborigines Inland Mission. He married Aileen Willis, a Kullilli woman in Cherbourg in 1952. In 1964, he moved to Brisbane to work among the Aboriginal community as a Methodist pastor. He became a leader in political campaigns to improve the status and conditions of Aboriginal and Islander people in Queensland.

He was a foundation member of the Brisbane Tribal Council and actively involved in the campaign to abolish the Aborigines and Torres Strait Islander Act. Don was instrumental in the establishment of the Aboriginal Legal Aid, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Housing and Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Medical Service in Queensland. He was active in the revival of dance in eastern Australia with the Yelanji dance group.

Kawanji remains an inspiration to First Nations people in Australia.