Nova Peris Bronze Statue

In May 2021, a 2.4m bronze statue of Nova Peris will be unveiled in Federation Square, Melbourne at the beginning of Reconciliation Week and will be on display for one month. The statue will then be taken up to Darwin to be permanently placed in Nova’s home town! Artists Gillie and Marc along with Dr Jandamarra Cadd have put this together as part of the world renowned Statues for Equality project.

Portrait in Parliament House

The portrait of Nova Peris OAM, unveiled at Parliament House on Wednesday October 16,2019, is part of Australia’s longest-running art commissioning program, the Historic Memorials Collection – and it is the first to be painted by an Indigenous artist.



The painting, by Dr Jandamarra Cadd, depicts Ms Peris as she presented herself on the day of her first speech to the Senate. Her face is painted in ceremonial style, her gold silk outfit featuring dancing brolgas.

Dr Cadd, a Yorta Yorta and Dja Dja Warrung man, is the first Aboriginal artist to paint a portrait for the Historic Memorials Collection, which was established in 1911.

Ms Peris, a woman of the Yawuru, Gidja and Iwatja people, served as a Senator for the Northern Territory from 2013 to 2016. She said she wanted her portrait to show “all of me – all that I am and all that I have aspired to be”.

Before politics, Ms Peris, as a member of the Hockeyroos at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, became the first Aboriginal Australian to win an Olympic gold medal. She followed that with two gold medals at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, in the 200m sprint and the 4×100-metre relay.

She remains the only person in the world to make back-to-back summer Olympic Games finals in two different sports.

Writer: Tony Wright – Sydney Morning Herald

Nova Peris – Channel 10’s Survivor Australia

There’s not a lot of people who have as many monumental firsts in their life like Nova. She was the first Aboriginal Australian as well as the first Territorian to win a Gold Medal at the Olympics for Hockey. She’s the only person to ever make back to back Olympic finals in two different sports. And was the first female Aboriginal Australian to be elected to the Commonwealth Parliament!

Nova has also been awarded Young Australian of the Year and received a medal of the Order of Australia, making her Nova Peris OAM.

Now ready to take on Survivor, she is hoping her success in life will equal success on the island but is also ready for a new opportunity saying; “I’ve done most things in life and this is so off the grid from the modern world. My mother and grandparents are survivors and wanted to see if I can be one too.”

Believing she’s relentless, Nova thinks her mental strength and never give up attitude will also help her along the way. And it doesn’t hurt to have a background in politics to know how to work with people.

“Of course, I think I can win. I have had to get along with people my whole life. My social skills are very good and I’m mentally tough. Nothing much phases me!”

Mum of four and grandmother to one, Nova is out there to win.

Commonwealth Games 200m Champion

Nova Peris became the first Aboriginal person to win an Olympic gold medal when she was a member of the victorious Hockeyroos team in Atlanta in 1996.

She also became the first mother to be a gold medalist for Australia since Shirley Strickland in 1956. The Northern Territorian, born in Darwin in 1971, was an outstanding talent as a hockey player, with her pace, agility and attacking skills making her a distinguished player on the international stage.

Demonstrated Leadership

On 7 September 2013, Nova Peris became the first Aboriginal Woman elected to Federal Parliament, sworn in on 12 November 2013; her maiden speech highlighted the struggles facing Aboriginal people as well as her own unique life journey. As the first of many speeches Nova gave during her time in the Senate, hers was a strong, determined voice of an emerging leader who envisioned great things for her people. She was prepared to act as their voice, and she did this through various speeches on Aboriginal affairs, never shirking an issue: instead meeting it head on, with an honesty and connectivity that is sometimes absent from our political leaders.

During her three years in Federal Parliament, Nova travelled the length of Australia in her tireless endeavours to champion the causes and struggles facing Aboriginal people throughout the country. Pride in her Aboriginal identity is a vital ingredient in her fight for the rights of all people. Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal alike, she inspires young people to take pride in who they are, but she also works hard at changing attitudes throughout the Australian community.

Nova Peris – Aboriginal

Nova Peris is a descendant of the Gija people of the East Kimberley and the Yawuru people of the West Kimberley; the Iwatja people of West Arnhem Land in the Muran Clan.

Political Career

On 22 January 2013 the Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced she would invite Peris to join the Australian Labor Party and stand as a candidate for the Senate in the Northern Territory at the 2013 election.[6] On 29 January 2013 her preselection was endorsed by the ALP executive 19 votes to 2, meaning her name was places first on the ALP’s Senate ticket in the Northern Territory, supporting the likelihood that she would become Australia’s first female Aboriginal federal parliamentarian.

On 7 September 2013 Peris became Australia’s first Aboriginal woman elected to federal parliament.[8] Peris was sworn into parliament on 12 November, and noted the apology to the stolen generation in her maiden speech.


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