Helen Milroy

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Helen Milroy is a consultant psychiatrist with the Western Australia Department of Health, specialising in child and adolescent psychiatry, and director of the Western Australian Centre for Aboriginal Medical and Dental Health.[1] She is recognised as the first Indigenous Australian to become a medical doctor.[2] She is also a storyteller who has written three books for children.


Helen Milroy was born in Perth, and traces her ancestral lineage to the Palyku people of the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Milroy studied medicine at the University of Western Australia,[3] becoming the country's first Indigenous medical doctor in 1983.[2] Milroy was later appointed as professor of child and adolescent psychiatry.[3]

Her sisters are artist and author Sally Morgan and professor Jill Milroy.[4][5]

In 2013, Milroy was appointed as a commissioner to the Australian Government's Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.[6]

In 2018, Milroy was appointed as the first Indigenous commissioner to the Australian Football League.[7]


In 2011, Milroy was awarded the "Sigmund Freud Award" by the World Congress of Psychiatry in recognition for her contributions as an Indigenous health professional.[8] In 2018, Milroy was the recipient of the 2018 Australian Indigenous Doctor of the Year Award by the Australian Indigenous Doctor's Association (AIDA).[9] She was named Western Australian of the Year in 2021.[10]


  • Backyard Birds (Fremantle Press, 2020)
  • Willy-Willy Wagtail: Tales from the Bush Mob (Magabala Books, 2020)
  • Wombat, Mudlark and Other Stories (Fremantle Press, 2019) – 2020 Western Australian Premier's Book Award (shortlisted)[11][12]


  1. ^ "W/Prof Helen Milroy". The University of Western Australia - UWA Staff Profile. Archived from the original on 2 January 2013. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
  2. ^ a b The Australian Indigenous Doctors' Association, p. 4.
  3. ^ a b "Backyard Birds (Helen Milroy, Fremantle Press) | Books+Publishing".
  4. ^ "Gladys Milroy: author of Dingo's Tree". AustLit: The Australian Literature Resource. 4 July 2017. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  5. ^ "Sally Morgan: author of My Place". AustLit: The Australian Literature Resource. 20 May 2019. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  6. ^ "Commissioner Helen Milroy". Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. July 20, 2017.
  7. ^ "League appoints first indigenous commissioner". www.afl.com.au.
  8. ^ "Media release on World Congress for Psychotherapy". August 22, 2011.
  9. ^ "AIDA Awards". Australian Indigenous Doctors' Association.
  10. ^ "Meet the 2021 Australian of the Year finalists". ABC News. 2021-01-15. Retrieved 2021-01-17.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ "WA Premier's Book Awards shortlists announced". Books+Publishing. 2021-06-18. Retrieved 2021-07-26.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. ^ "Western Australian Premier's Book Awards shortlists announced".