Family accepts Lifetime Achiever Award in Eileen's honour

AWARD: Eileen Wani Wingfield's family proudly collected her Conservation SA Lifetime Achievement Award, honouring her memory with an anti-nuclear protest pose. Photo: Conservation SA.
AWARD: Eileen Wani Wingfield's family proudly collected her Conservation SA Lifetime Achievement Award, honouring her memory with an anti-nuclear protest pose. Photo: Conservation SA.

Four years after her passing, legendary anti-nuclear campaigner Eileen Wani Wingfield has been honoured posthumously at the 2018 SA Environment Awards. 

Eileen’s daughter Janice Wingfield collected the prestigious Lifetime Achiever Award on behalf of the Wingfield family.

“I was so overwhelmed and so was the family. I just cried all the way through I was that proud of her,” Janice said.

“I was just wondering and thinking about how she would react if she was there on that night. She probably would have just sat there all calm and cool.”

Eileen was a proud Kokatha Arabana woman and was a leader in the Aboriginal community. 

She took every opportunity to act as a voice for not only her people, but for the animals, water and land. 

A mother to 13 children, beloved grandmother of 51 grandchildren, great-grandmother of 64 – all have inherited Eileen’s love for Country.

“She was a very humble lady. She taught us everything like going out in the bush and catching our own wild bush tucker,” Janice said.

“Her beliefs have been passed through the family. Grandchildren, great-grandchildren, aunties and uncles. Everyone has got a keen interest in environmental protection.”

Living her life in the South Australian desert, Eileen experienced first-hand the effects of the British atomic bomb tests at Emu Fields in the 1950s and dedicated most of her life to advocate for the injustice she witnessed. 

She is also famed for her daring protest at Cane Grass Swamp in the 1980s after uranium was discovered at Roxby Downs.

Eileen put her body on the line, laying in front of bulldozers to protest construction of the Olympic Dam uranium mine.

Soon after, she became a key member of the Kupa Piti Kungka tjuta, a council of senior Aboriginal women dedicated to the protection of land and culture.

in the 1990s Eileen was instrumental in the fight against the federal government's plan to build a nuclear waste dump in the SA desert and in 2003 she was the recipient of the International Goldman Award for Protection of Environment.

This prestigious prize has been dubbed the ‘greenie Nobel Prize’.

With many other notable achievements under he belt, Eileen will be remembered by friends, family and the wider community for her leadership, love of culture and “unstoppable passion for a nuclear free world”.