Clare Dunne

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This article is about the actor and broadcaster. For other uses, see Clare Dunne (disambiguation).

Clare Dunne (born 1937) OAM is an Irish-born Australian actress, author, lecturer and broadcaster. Her first name is also found as Claire.

1960s Australian celebrity[edit]

Dunne was a popular Australian television and film personality of the 1960s. She starred as "Kay" in the seminal Australian film They're a Weird Mob (1966) and was also a regular on The Beauty and the Beast with Maggie Tabberer.

Her fame within Australia in the 1960s was described by Thomas Keneally as such:

"Clare Dunne, she was a goddess to me. She was this exquisite bone-structured Irish woman who was beloved on the media in Australia."[1]

Multicultural broadcasting pioneer[edit]

Dunne went on to pioneer multicultural broadcasting in Australia as a Foundation Director of what went on to become the Special Broadcasting Service, as well as a presenter and a producer or radio and television for SBS.[1]

In 1986, then-Prime Minister Bob Hawke delivered a "series of blows aimed at multiculturalism", including a decision to close the Australian Institute of Multicultural Affairs [2] and proposed legislation that would merge SBS into the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Dunne was a vociferous opponent of both changes. She said at the time:

"I think there is going to be an uproar. There seems to be an undeclared Government change of policy about multiculturalism. Last week it was announced that the Institute of Multicultural Affairs would be closed. Now it is the SBS-ABC merger in spite of the fact that only six months ago the Government decided to let it be independent." [3]

There was indeed an uproar, eventually leading the Prime Minister to call off the merger.

She was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 1999 for "service to multiculturalism, particularly through the promotion of Celtic culture, and to ethnic broadcasting"[4].


Dunne has published three books [5]:

  • People under the skin: an Irish immigrant's experience of Aboriginal Australia (1988)
  • Mary MacKillop: No Plaster Saint (1994)
  • Carl Jung: Wounded Healer of the Soul (2000)


  1. ^ "CLARE DUNNE'S success story...". The Australian Women's Weekly. National Library of Australia. 1 October 1975. p. 65. Retrieved 3 September 2012.