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Commonwealth Government Records about the Northern Territory

Olive Muriel Pink (1884–1975)

Image 33: An example of the type of letters Olive Pink wrote to the Northern Territory Administrator, 1959.

Image 33: An example of the type of letters Olive Pink wrote to the Northern Territory Administrator, 1959.
NAA: F1, 1955/318
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Olive Pink was born in Hobart on 17 March 1874. She first visited Central Australia in 1930, and lived and worked with the Arrernte people of Central Australia, and the Walpiri people of the western Tanami district.

She fought long and hard for Aboriginal rights, and was a persistent writer of letters to officials arguing their cause. She was also an activist for native flora and fauna. Her letters were well known for their terse tone and for the use of every millimetre of the page; often on both sides of the page.

Pink was widely regarded as an eccentric. She was also renowned for naming plants after public officials. Should any official earn her displeasure, for whatever reason, she ceased to water their plant and allowed it to die. In his memoirs Paul Hasluck, the Minister responsible for the Northern Territory from 1951 to 1963, noted that whenever he visited Alice Springs he would look out for his plant. He was pleased to see that 'Mr Hasluck' was generally doing well.

Pink died in Alice Springs on 6 July 1975 and was buried in the Alice Springs Memorial Cemetery. The Olive Pink Flora Reserve in Alice Springs, named in her honour, was opened in 1985.

Selected records relating to Olive Pink
National Archives, Darwin
Olive Pink – secular sanctuary – Granites, Tanami District, 1935–45 F3, 8/30/0
Olive Pink – application for permit to enter Aboriginal reserves – general correspondence, 1940–41 F1, 1941/53
Miss O M Pink, 1940–46 F132, P29
Miss O M Pink – correspondence file, 1949–70 E1031, I.86
Deputy Commonwealth Crown Solicitor, Pink Olive, miscellaneous correspondence, 1953–56 E72, DL2571
Olive Pink – applications and general correspondence, 1954–58 F1, 1955/318
Miss O M Pink – building, 1956–57 E1031, I.86A
Flora and fauna reserve – Olive Pink – general correspondence, 1958–61 F1, 1959/328
Alice Springs native flora reserve – Olive Pink, 1958–70 F706, 1958/204
Flora and fauna reserve – Alice Springs– Olive Pink – general correspondence, 1962–63 F1, 1961/1983
Flora and fauna reserve – Alice Springs – Olive Pink – general correspondence, 1965–78 F1, 1969/1967
Native flora reserve – Olive Pink, 1970–78 F706, 1971/139
Flora and fauna reserve, Alice Springs, Olive Pink, general correspondence, 1972–78 F1, 1977/893
Northern Territory Archives Service
Miss Pink – correspondence from, 1943–44 F77, 77/44
Miss O M Pink – correspondence, 1954–60 F77, 57/20


Chapter 16
Territory Personalities