Evonne Goolagong Cawley, AC, MBE is a Wiradjuri woman and one of Australia’s most loved sportspeople.
Achievements: She has been Australian of the Year (1971) and Australian Sportsman of the Year. In 1972 Queen Elizabeth II appointed her as a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) and in 1982 she was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) In 1988 she was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame at Newport Rhode Island and the following year, into the Aboriginal Sporting Hall of Fame. At Barcelona in 1992, she became one of the first ever international Olympic torch bearers and later at Monte Carlo, was part of the successful Sydney 2000 bid. Evonne served on the National Indigenous Advisory Committee to SOCOG at the games. In 2003 Evonne received the IOC Women & Sport Trophy for her services in those fields.
Tennis: In her glorious tennis career Evonne was ranked the number one player in the world in 1971 and 1976. In total she won 92 pro tournaments, was a finalist in 18 Grand Slam singles events winning at Wimbledon twice, the Australian Open 4 times, the French Open once and was runner up 4 years in succession at the US Open. She also won seven Grand Slam doubles titles. At her second Wimbledon triumph in 1980 Evonne became the first mother to win since Dorothy Lambert Chambers in 1914. She represented Australia 7 times in the Fed Cup winning in 1971/3/4 and was Australia’s Fed Cup Captain from 2002-04.
In 1991, prompted by the death of her mother and determined to expand her knowledge of her Aboriginal heritage, Evonne left the USA to reside in Australia. In 1993, her autobiography “Home! The Evonne Goolagong Story” was published and became an immediate best seller. With Sir William Deane, she has been the Co-Patron of Reconciliation Australia.
In 1995/96 she was a board member of the Australian Sports Commission. In July 1997/2001 the Federal Government appointed Evonne as a consultant in Indigenous Sport forming The Evonne Goolagong Sports Trust to review Aboriginal sports facilities and raise funds to finance new facilities and equipment. In 2003 the ASC presented her with The Margaret Pewtress Memorial Award for her services to sport.
From 1998 – 2005 and from 2012 – 2018 Tennis Australia appointed Evonne as a “Tennis Ambassador” to increase overall female participation in tennis throughout Australia.
In 2007-11 Evonne was a Board member of the Indigenous Land Corporation and in 2008 was elected to the board of the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence. In 2011, Evonne received the Ella Award for Lifetime Achievement in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sport. In August 2012, Evonne established and became the first Chair of the Evonne Goolagong Foundation.
Evonne has received Honorary Doctorates from Charles Sturt University, Griffith University, the University of Sydney and the University of South Australia and an Honorary Fellowship from Monash University.
Since 2005, Evonne has run the Goolagong National Development Camp for Indigenous girls and boys. Using tennis as a vehicle to promote better health, education and employment, the program has awarded school scholarships, produced university scholars, tennis players, coaches, and sports administrators and has helped with employment placement. Since 2012, under the auspices of the Evonne Goolagong Foundation and in conjunction with the Australian Government, the Dream, Believe, Learn, Achieve programme has conducted Tennis Come and Try Days nationwide giving access to Goolagong State Development Camps which in turn feed into the GNDC.
In the Australia Day Awards 2018 Evonne was awarded Australia’s highest honour. She was appointed as a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) for eminent service to tennis as a player at the national and international level, as an ambassador, supporter and advocate for the health, education and wellbeing of young Indigenous people through participation in sport and as a role model.
On 5th June 2018 Evonne received the Philipe Chatrier Award, the International Tennis Federation’s highest accolade given for exceptional contributions to tennis on and off the court.
Evonne and husband Roger have two children Kelly and Morgan, two grand daughters Beau Maya and Lucy Nikita and grandson Theodore James Yarraga reside at Noosa Heads Qld where they are the proud patrons of both the Noosa Football and Tennis Clubs.