Sallyanne Atkinson

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Sallyanne Atkinson
Lord Mayor of Brisbane
In office
Preceded by Roy Harvey
Succeeded by Jim Soorley
Personal details
Born Sallyanne Kerr
(1942-07-23) 23 July 1942 (age 74)
Political party Liberal Party of Australia
Other political
Liberal National Party of Queensland
Spouse(s) Leigh Atkinson (m. 1964–95)
Alma mater University of Queensland
Occupation Politician, journalist, businessperson, lobbyist

Sallyanne Atkinson AO (born 23 July 1942) was Lord Mayor of Brisbane from 1985 to 1991. She is the only female to hold the position. She is Special Representative for the Queensland Government in South-East Asia.

Early life[edit]

Atkinson was born in Sydney.[1] She completed her secondary education at St Hilda's School on Queensland's Gold Coast, as well as Bishop's College in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Prior to being elected Lord Mayor, Atkinson held a variety of jobs, including as a journalist for the Brisbane Telegraph from 1960 to 1962, the Sydney Telegraph from 1962 to 1963, and the Courier Mail from 1963 to 1964. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Queensland in 1967. She also wrote a number of books, including Sallyanne Atkinson's Brisbane Guide which was released in 1985.[2]

While living in Edinburgh, Scotland, she joined the Conservative Party.[3]

Lord Mayor of Brisbane[edit]

Sallyanne Atkinson was elected to the Lord Mayoralty in 1985, after defeating the ALP incumbent Roy Harvey. She became the first female Lord Mayor of Brisbane, as well as the first from the Liberal Party.

She was eventually defeated in 1991 in a narrow upset election win by the virtually unknown Jim Soorley, who received preferences from the Greens candidate Drew Hutton.

Subsequent career[edit]

After leaving the position as Lord Mayor of Brisbane, she unsuccessfully ran as the Liberal candidate for the federal seat of Rankin at the 1993 election.[4]

Atkinson was then Australia's Senior Trade Commissioner to France from 1994–1997. Her role was to promote Australian exports and encourage investment in Australia. She was also Australia's representative to the International Chamber of Commerce. While a representative of the Australian Olympic Committee, she supported the Olympic bids of many cities around Australia, including the Brisbane bid for the 1992 Summer Olympics and the successful Sydney 2000 Olympics Bid. In France she was the European Representative for the Sydney Olympic Committee.[5] She was subsequently made the Deputy Mayor of the athletes' village.

Atkinson was awarded Australian Catholic University's (ACU National) highest honour, Doctor of the University (honoris causa), at the Brisbane Campus graduation ceremony held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on 2 April 2004. ACU National Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Sheehan AO, said the award recognises Ms Atkinson's extraordinary contribution to Australia's international reputation as a location for sporting events, and her contribution to government and the community. "Through her many years of generous service, in particular her work on the Olympic bids for Brisbane and Sydney and as Deputy Mayor of the Olympic Village at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, Ms Atkinson has contributed to Australia's eminent status in world sport. In 1993 Ms Atkinson was created an Officer of the Order of Australia for service to local government and the community, and in 2003 she was awarded a Centenary Medal for service to local government and to business. Professor Peter Sheehan AO stated during an ACU Graduation Address in 2004, "Sallyanne Atkinson is a most distinguished Australian, an eminent Queenslander, and has brought great credit to the city of Brisbane."[6]

Sallyanne Atkinson is currently chairman in Queensland for Barton Deakin Government Relations, providing strategic advice to businesses and not-for-profits on working with government.[7]

Honours and awards[edit]

Atkinson has been honoured by Rotary International, is an Honorary Fellow for the Australian Institute of Management, and is an honorary Life Member of the National Trust. She has served as founding member of the board of the United Nations' International Council for Local Environment Initiatives, a role in which she chaired the first meeting at the UN in New York.

Civic offices
Preceded by
Roy Harvey
Lord Mayor of Brisbane
Succeeded by
Jim Soorley


  1. ^ Sallyanne Atkinson, Our House,
  2. ^ UQ Alumni, Sallyanne Atkinson AO, former Brisbane Lord Mayor
  3. ^ Atkinson, Sallyanne; Marsden, Susan, 1952- (Interviewer) (2009), Sallyanne Atkinson interviewed by Susan Marsden, retrieved 21 March 2016 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Sallyanne Atkinson, AO - Celebrity Speakers". 
  6. ^ ACU Graduation Address, Professor Peter Sheehan AO, 2 April 2004.
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Sallyanne Atkinson AO". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 5 January 2012. 
  9. ^ "Sallyanne Atkinson". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 5 January 2012. 
  10. ^ "Sallyanne Atkinson". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 5 January 2012.