Australian Biography: Faith Bandler
Faith Bandler is a descendant of South Sea Islanders. At the age of 13, her father was kidnapped from the island of Ambrym, in what is known as Vanuatu, and brought to Australia to work as an unpaid labourer in the Queensland canefields.
During the 1950s, Faith became involved in the peace movement, and in 1956 she was instrumental in setting up the Australian Aboriginal Fellowship. Faith was also a founding member of the Federal Council for Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders, becoming the director of its referendum campaign in 1967, NSW State Secretary from 1962 to 1970 and General Secretary from 1970 to 1973.
In 1974, Faith decided to direct her energies to the plight of her own people, the 16,000 descendants of South Sea Islanders. She founded the National Commission for Australian South Sea Islanders and, in 1975, made her first emotional journey to her father’s birthplace on Ambrym.
Faith was awarded an AM in 1984 and was made a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in 2009.