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Chicka Dixon

1928 – 2010

Charles 'Chicka' Dixon (b. 1928) is an indigenous arts, cultural and health advocate. Dixon became interested in Aboriginal causes after hearing Jack Patten speak in 1946. At that time he was a seasonal worker; in 1963 he became a stevedore, and organiser for the Seaman's Union. During this period of his life Charles Perkins asked him to help mediate with courts on behalf of Aboriginal people on trial; their activities were to evolve into Redfern's Aboriginal Legal Service in 1970. He was one of the founders of the Tent Embassy in 1972, and soon after led the Aboriginal delegation to China. A foundation member of the Aboriginal Arts Board, one of the seven founding boards of the Australia Council, he was its Chairman from 1983 to 1986, and the first Aboriginal member of the Australia Council. In these capacities he lobbied for major reforms in indigenous arts funding and administration; he also took an interest in Aboriginal country and western musicians, organising festivals and talent quests around Australia, including its prisons. A reformed alcoholic, since working with Fred Hollows and others to establish the Redfern Aboriginal Medical Service he has continually advocated effective programmes for treating substance abuse. Dixon was named Australian Aborigine of the Year in 1984. He is pictured with Aboriginal bands at the Sydney Festival.

Updated 2018
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