Ms Sallyanne Atkinson AO

Award of Doctor of the University honoris causa

Ms Sallyanne Atkinson AO


Sallyanne Atkinson, AO, is an Honorary Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the Australian Institute of Management, the Australian Planning Institute and of The Womens College, and for her community work, a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International and a Melvin Jones Fellow of Lions International.

Born in Sydney, she spent her early childhood in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and then attended St Hilda's School on the Gold Coast and The University of Queensland where she majored in history and political science as a day, evening and external student.

She began her working life as a cadet journalist on The Telegraph in Brisbane, then onto the Sydney Daily Telegraph and the Courier Mail with her television stints on "Meet the Press" and "Beauty and the Beast". As her five children were growing up, she did freelance work for the print media and radio and wrote a book on Brisbane (published by University of Queensland Press).

Her active political involvement began with her role as research assistant to the Minister for Defence, the Hon D.J. Killen. She was elected Alderman for Indooroopilly in the Brisbane City Council in 1979, Leader of the Opposition in 1982, and Lord Mayor in 1985. During her term, she introduced major changes in the Council's organisation, it's interaction with the public and the image of Brisbane as a city.

During her time as Lord Mayor, she led Brisbane's bid for the Olympic Games of 1992 and she was subsequently Chair of the Australian Olympic Committee's Sport for All Commission, the Committee to organise the Sydney Olympics and Deputy Mayor of the Sydney Olympic Athletes Village.

In 1994, she went to Paris as Australia's Senior Trade Commissioner for France, Belgium, Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco. On her return, she became Chair of Queensland Tourism and the Queensland Government's Special Representative to southeast Asia.

Currently, she is Chair of the Commonwealth Ministerial Taskforce on Dementia, Chair of the Crawford Fund in Queensland, on the Board of APN News and Media Ltd, and Chair of ABC Learning Ltd as well as being a Board member of The Australian Ballet, the Waltzing Matilda Centre and the Australian Ireland Fund and the Advisory Board of the Queensland Brain Institute at this University.

Chancellor, in recognition of her distinguished career and strong support for the University, I present to you Ms Sallyanne Atkinson, AO, Bachelor of Arts from The University of Queensland, for the award of the degree of Doctor of the University honoris causa to which she has been admitted by the Senate of the University.

Honorary award citation


UQ Alumnus of the Year (created by Alumni Friends)
Doctor of the University honoris causa


Bachelor of Arts
Doctor of The University honoris causa