I wish to pay tribute to Dr Alice (Alitya) Rigney, a trailblazing education advocate who passed away over the weekend.
Born at Point Pearce on the Yorke Peninsula, Dr Rigney was an elder and matriarch of the Kaurna and Narungga Aboriginal Nations of South Australia.
She devoted her life to education, teaching more than 5000 Aboriginal students and establishing Kaurna Plains School, Australia’s first urban Aboriginal school.
Dr Rigney excelled in a number of leadership positions, including as the first female Aboriginal school principal in Australia and one of the first Aboriginal employees of the South Australian Education Department.
Committed to the preservation of Aboriginal languages, Dr Rigney was instrumental in the implementation of Kaurna language curriculum in South Australia.
Dr Rigney received numerous honours in recognition of her work, including a Public Service Medal for her outstanding contribution to education and an honorary Doctorate from the University of South Australia.
I extend my condolences to Dr Rigney’s family at this sad time.