The University of Western Australia extends its deepest sympathy to family, friends and colleagues of Veronica Brady, former Professor of Literature at UWA, Catholic nun and tireless campaigner for Indigenous rights, who has passed away in Perth at the age of 86.
Professor Brady taught at Kirribilli’s Loreto Convent in New South Wales before taking up a position at The University of Western Australia in 1972 where she became a familiar figure cycling around UWA’s picturesque Crawley campus.
An often controversial character, she earned a reputation as a passionate and inspiring teacher and lecturer and wrote numerous books, articles and essays on Australian culture and beliefs.
Professor Brady spoke out publicly against the Vatican stance on abortion, homosexuality and contraception, and was involved in the Aboriginal rights movement and the anti-uranium mining lobby. She also supported the ordination of female priests in the Catholic Church.
UWA’s Emeritus Professor Dennis Haskell said Professor Brady gained a national and international reputation as a public intellectual, literary critic and tireless moral crusader.
“That courage often put her at odds with governments or the Church and drew controversy but also admiration from many people across a wide range of Australian and overseas societies,” Professor Haskell said.
“She was a white woman whom the Aboriginal community trusted, a symbolic figure for many women engaged in Australian literary, religious and social studies, and the only literary critic whom Patrick White trusted and admired.”
Professor Brenda Walker, UWA Chair of English and Cultural Studies and award-winning novelist, described Professor Brady as a tireless advocate for Australian literature.
“In addition she was a strong mentor for younger academics, a voice for social justice and, in particular, racial equity and a champion of public broadcasting,” Professor Walker said.
In addition to her academic roles, Professor Brady served as a member of the ABC board, as well as the Board of the Library and Information Service of Western Australia, and Fremantle Press. She was also chair of the Perth Branch of International PEN, a writers' organisation committed to freedom of speech.
In 2009 UWA presented Professor Brady with an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters and in the same year, UWA graduate Kath Jordan published a biography of Veronica Brady: Larrikin Angel.
David Stacey (UWA Media and Public Relations Manager) (+61 8) 6488 3229 / (+61 4) 32 637 716