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Justine Saunders

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Years active

Heather Saunders

Film actress

Justine Saunders

1992 Red Ochre Award

Full Name
Justine Florence Saunders

20 February 1953
Quilpie, Queensland, Australia

April 15, 2007, Sydney, Australia

Plays from Black Australia

AACTA Award for Best Lead Actress

Movies and TV shows
Number 96, Heartland, The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, Chase Through the Night, The Fringe Dwellers

Similar People
Bob Maza, Jack Davis, Brian Syron, Bruce Beresford, Eva Johnson

Justine Florence Saunders, OAM (20 February 1953 – 15 April 2007) was an Australian stage, film and television actress. She was a member of the Woppaburra indigenous people, from the Kanomie clan of Keppel Island in Queensland. She was born next to a railway track. At the age of 11, she was removed from her mother Heather, and taken to Brisbane and placed in a convent. Heather was not told of Justine's whereabouts for more than ten years, and spent much of that time searching for her.


Justine Saunders httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediaen888Jus


She first came to prominence as a cast member of soap opera Number 96 in 1976, as a character defending the rights of indigenous Australians. Other soap guest roles included that of a flight attendant in Skyways in 1979, and as social worker Pamela Madigan in Prisoner in 1986.

Other television credits include: mini-series Women of the Sun (1981), Farscape, Blue Heelers, and MDA.


Her film work includes The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith and The Fringe Dwellers.

National Order of Australia Medal

Saunders received the inaugaural Aboriginal Artist of the Year award in 1985.

In 1991 Justine Saunders was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM), for her services to the performing arts, her services to the National Aboriginal Theatre, and for her assistance in setting up the Black Theatre and the Aboriginal National Theatre Trust.

Personal life

In 2000, through the indigenous Senator Aden Ridgeway, she returned the medal in protest at the emotional turmoil her mother was suffering over the Howard government's denial of the term "stolen generation".


Saunders died of cancer at Hawkesbury District Hospital, Sydney, aged 54.


  • 1991 Medal of the Order of Australia
  • 1999 Red Ochre Award - Australia Council for the Arts
  • References

    Justine Saunders Wikipedia

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