Also known as: Hetti

Born: 1895

Died: 8/12/1979

Aboriginal or Torrest Stait Islander: Yes

Special Achievements:

Pioneer of Central Australian pastoral leases.
At the Garden station, north-west of Arltunga, she worked on the property and helped to manage it.
In 1928 she went to the Jay Creek institution for 'half-castes' where she worked as 'senior dormitory girl'.  In 1932 it was moved to the Alice Springs telegraph-station buildings and was thereafter known as The Bungalow.  Hetty had charge of the infants' dormitory and supervised the cooking.

Additional Information:

An Alice Springs nursing home for elderly Aborigines is named in her honour.
Her son Charles was the first Aboriginal secretary (1984-88) of the Commonwealth Department of Aboriginal Affairs;
her grand-daughter Patricia Turner was the first Aboriginal chief executive officer (1994-98) of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission; her grandson Neville Perkins was secretary (1987-88) of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs, New South Wales.


  • Image - Hetty Perkins

    Title: Hetty Perkins Photo No: PH0254/0001 Citation address: http://hdl.handle.net/10070/16985 Date taken: 1-Jan-1938 Place: Alice Springs Collection: E. K. Leslie Collection. Description: Hetty Perkins with twin babies. The twins are sleeping on a cane chair and dressed as European babies. It was unusual for Aboriginal twins to survive. Hetty Perkins was Charles Perkins mother. Copyright owner: Northern Territory Library.

    Territory Stories - free of known copyright restrictions

  • Image - Hetty Perkins

    Title: Hetty Perkins, Alice Springs, Northern Territory, ca. 1975 /​ Bruce Howard. Creator: Howard, Bruce, 1936- Other Creators: Larkins, John, 1943-. Sheilas : a tribute to Australian women. Published: ca. 1975. Series: Sheilas, a tribute to Australian women collection, ca. 1975. Notes: Hetty was an Aranda woman who lived in the Northern Territory in the early to mid 20th Century.

    Photo used with permission of Bruce Howard.

  • References

    Read, Peter. (1990).  Charles Perkins:  A Biography.  Ringwood, Victoria:  Viking.  Chapter 1:  'Nother name, 'nother country - 1870-1945, pages 1-23,

  • References

    Slee, Amruta.  (2010, October).  Soul Sister.  Qantas, 61-67.