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CULTURAL WARNING: The project and artist would like to advise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social media users that the following post contains information of a deceased person.


This person is recognised as a trailblazer and information has been sourced from several public records. The project shares this small extract of information with the respect and admiration for this person's achievements in their life .

Sadie Canning, born near Laverton in 1930 and one of the Stolen Generation when she was removed from her family and taken to Mt Margaret Mission. From a young age, Sadie had the goal of becoming a nurse. At that time Aboriginal women were barred from nursing training in WA, so at 19 Sadie traveled to Melbourne to train. She returned becoming WA's first nurse and in 1956 was promoted to the position of Matron - another state first - at the Leonora District Hospital. A position she held until her retirement in late 1990. Through her outstanding contributions and devoted service to nursing and improving facilities and Indigenous healthcare in WA, Sadie has been recognised in the Queens Birthday Honours in 1964 and awarded a Member of the British Empire ( MBE) In 1977 she received a Queen Elizabeth 11 Silver Jubilee Medal for her service to regional nursing in WA. In her retirement Sadie served as a member for the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation and the State Reconciliation Committee, and supported many more organisations and community groups. Sadie believed education was very important and credited her own education as a key part of her enjoyment of her life and her career success. "Education is the key to success because it enables you to determine your own future, because you know what is happening and you can think for yourself and represent yourself and others in your community."

Sadie Canning.jpg

Sadie Canning's portrait was commissioned by the #130 women project and auctioned for Goldfields Women's Health. The portrait now resides in the Kalgoorlie School of Medicine. 

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