Patron and Ambassadors

The Indigenous Literacy Foundation is proud to have the support of our Patron and ambassadors.

Our team of dedicated volunteer ambassadors participate in events and media interviews throughout the year and on Indigenous Literacy Day to raise support and awareness for ILF. Where the opportunity arises, our ambassadors also travel to remote Indigenous communities to give workshops and participate in activities organised by ILF.


Quentin Bryce: Patron

Dame Quentin Alice Louise Bryce AD, CVO was the 25th Governor-General of Australia, September 2008 - March 2014. She was the first woman to take up the office, and was and is noted as a pioneer in contemporary Australian society, with more than forty years of experience in reform, community building and leadership. She was previously the Governor of Queensland from 2003 -2008. 

Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws from The University of Queensland, Quentin Bryce has had a rich and distinguished career as an academic, lawyer, community and human rights advice, senior public officer and university college principal.



Ms Bryce’s former roles – some, among firsts for women in this country – include:

• Lecturer and Tutor in Law, The University of Queensland, 1968-1983
• Convenor, National Women’s Advisory Council, 1982-1984
• Inaugural Director, Queensland Women’s Information Service, Office of the Status of Women, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, 1984-1987
• Director, Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Queensland, 1987-1988
• Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 1988-1993
• founding Chair and CEO, National Childcare Accreditation Council, 1993-1996
• Principal and CEO, The Women's College, University of Sydney, 1997-2003
• Governor of Queensland, 2003-2008

Quentin Bryce’s contribution to advancing human rights and equality, the rights of women and children, and the welfare of the family was recognised in her appointment as an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1988 and a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2003. Also in 2003, she was invested as a Dame of Grace of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem. On 25 March 2014, Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced that Ms Bryce had become a Dame in the Order of Australia.


Richard Miller Flanagan: Ambassador

Considered to be the finest Australian novelist of his generation, Richard Flanagan is an award winning novelist whose books have been published in 26 countries. Richard wrote and directed The Sound of One Hand Clapping and his  journalism appears in various publications including the New Yorker, Le Monde, Suddeutsche Zeitung and La Repubblica. His most recent novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North won the  2014 Man Booker Prize, the 2014 Indie Book of the Year Award and co-won the Prime Minister's Literary Fiction Award.

Richard donated his prizewinnings from the PM's Literary Fiction Award to our Foundation, saying:

"My mortgage will go on as mortgages do, but if one of those books helps a few children to advance beyond the most basic literacy to one that is liberating, then I will consider the money better spent. 

And if just one of those children in turn becomes a writer, if just one brings to Australia and to the world an idea of the universe that arises out of that glorious lineage of sixty thousand years of Australian civilisation, then I will think this prize has rewarded not just me, but us all. And for that we will all owe this prize an immense debt of gratitude."



Justine Clarke: Ambassador

Justine Clarke began her long and varied career during childhood and has become one of Australia’s most well-known faces, as a highly-regarded, award-winning actress and of course as a versatile children’s entertainer. A long-standing presenter on ABC TV’s Play School and a veteran of numerous live performances, Justine has three top-selling, ARIA nominated CDs and in 2013 Justine won the ARIA Award for Best Children’s Album for her fourth CD, A Little Day Out.

Amongst several successful ventures in TV, film and live projects, Justine entered into book publishing with her best-selling Children’s picture book The Gobbledygook Is Eating A Book and plans to release a CD book (through Scholastic) in October entitled The Ugly Duckling



Debra Dank: Cultural Ambassador

Debra Dank is a Gudanji woman, from the Barkly Tablelands, NT. She has been an integral part of ILF, first working with the Indigenous Literacy Project when it was in partnership with The Fred Hollows Foundation and then as Program Manager from 2011-2012.

Debra has been involved in education for more than 20 years and is now
 Student Academic Course Mentor at Charles Darwin University. Debra's focus has always been on literacy and Indigenous education; working in school based roles providing academic support to Indigenous students.








Lifetime ambassadors


Andy Griffiths

"Imagine a world in which everybody has clean air, fresh water, healthy food, someone to love and someone who loves them, a roof over their head, and, most important of all, a good book to read and the ability to read it ... sure, you might say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one ..."

Andy Griffiths is one of Australia's funniest and most successful writers. His books have sold over 5 million copies worldwide, have featured on the New York Times bestseller lists, and have won over 50 Australian children?s choice awards. Andy's books include the Just! series, the Bum trilogy and he is the editor of a collection of writing by children from remote Indigenous communities called, The Naked Boy and the Crocodile.





Kate Grenville

"Most of us take reading (and writing) so much for granted that it's almost impossible to imagine life without that form of communication. Literacy opens so many doors that otherwise stay closed: doors into education and jobs, but also into the minds and imaginations and hearts of other humans all over the planet. Verbal literacy isn't the only door, by any means - but having access to it is a choice that no one should miss out on."

Kate Grenville was born in Sydney. Her novels includ Lilian's StoryThe Idea of Perfection, The Secret River, The Lieutenantand most recently Sarah Thornhill. Several of these books attempt to explore some of the history that Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians share.






Dr Anita Heiss

"Literacy is essential to Aboriginal people's self-determination. If we cannot read we cannot make the decisions that inevitably impact on our lives. Self-determination requires each of us to have the literacy to have the power to make our own decisions and control our own futures. Only when we are self-determined as individuals will we be self-determined as a nation of peoples."

Dr Anita Heiss is a member of the Wiradjuri nation, and is an author, poet, satirist and social commentator. Anita's published works include Manhattan Dreaming, the historical novel Who Am I? The Diary of Mary Talence, Sydney 1937, kids novel Yirra and Her Deadly Dog, Demon, poetry collection I'm not racist, but and non-fiction text Dhuuluu-Yala (To Talk Straight). In 2011 Paris Dreaming won the Deadly Award for Most Outstanding Achievement in Literature, repeating Dr. Heiss's previous successes in 2007 and 2008. Dr Heiss is an Adjunct Professor with Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning, UTS.




Alison Lester

Over her twenty-one year career she has produced such classics as the Clive Eats Alligators series, Magic BeachImagine and My Farm, and recently she has also started writing novels, includingThe Quicksand Pony and the Bonnie and Sam series with Roland Harvey. Her picture book, Are We There Yet?, won the CBCA Picture Book of the Year Award in 2005 (and was chosen as the focus book for the National Year of Reading 2012), and Running with the Horses was an Honour Book in the 2010 CBCA Book of the Year Awards and 2010 Prime Minister's Literary Awards. Her most recent titles include, Sophie Scott Goes SouthNoni the Pony and Once Small Island (created in collaboration with Coral Tulloch). One Small Island has recently won both the Wilderness Society's 2012 Environment Award for Children's Literature and the 2012 CBCA's (Children's Book Council of Australia's) Eve Pownall Book of the Year Award.
Her picture books mix imaginary worlds with everyday life, encouraging children to believe in themselves and celebrate the differences that make them special. Alison is involved in many community art projects and spends part of every year travelling to remote Indigenous communities, using her books to help children and adults write and draw about their own lives.
In 2012 and 2013 Alison, along with Boori Pryor, was appointed Australia's first Children's Laureate, a position they will share for two years. She is also an ambassador for the 2012 National Year of Reading.


David Malouf

"There was a time, not so long ago, when people who could not read or write learned all they needed to know of the world by show and tell; by looking hard, asking questions of their elders, and then listening hard to the answers. But that time is past. Today we learn how the world works, and how we work in it, through reading as well as through watching and listening. A lot of the information we need is in books, or in newspapers or magazines, or on the Internet. Even to send an SMS on a mobile phone we need to be able to read. Reading brings the world to us. But reading can also open up a new world of people and events we have never imagined but which we can enter and become part of. This kind of reading takes us out of ourselves into other times and places, into other skins. Reading is a form of magic. It gives us access to a world that has no limits and where everyone is welcome and can be at home".

David Malouf is an acclaimed poet and novelist. David's books include Johnno, Remembering Babylon, which won the first International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and Every Move You Make which won both The Age Book of the Year Award for Fiction and the Queensland Premier's Literary Short Story Collection Award.



Josh Pyke

"Having the ability to choose is a powerful thing, and to me, the work ILF do in raising literacy levels in Indigenous communities, is about introducing choice to people. Kids and adults who can read, can choose to pursue further education, pursue better job opportunities, stay more up to date with the world around them, or simply enjoy the brilliant escape that reading can offer at the end of a stressful day. Words, books and the language of music have been incredibly important to me, and I love that ILP might bring those gifts and those choices to others."

Josh Pyke is an ARIA award-winning singer and songwriter. In 2009 Josh launched his 'Buskin for Change' to mobilise support for The Indigenous Literacy Foundation. He won his fourth ARIA for 'Best Contemporary Album for his second full length album Chimneys Afire in 2011.





Ambassadors 2006-2015


Geraldine Brooks     Adam James Sally Morgan

Katie Noonan   

Leonie Norrington

May O'Brien




Michael O'Loughlin     Felix Reibl    

Sam Watson

Tara June Winch









Thérèse Rein, Patron 2008-2013

"Shared children's stories and rhymes are the foundation of culture. The Indigenous Literacy Foundation not only provides much needed resources to remote communities and promotes the joy of reading in the broader population ... it provides a new generation of Indigenous children with the passion and pride in their stories that I hope will flow to the general community in the form of beautifully written and illustrated books. This project is a real opportunity for all Australians to get involved in a simple, effective and meaningful community activity. I encourage you, your school, your bookclub or your organisation to be involved."