Former City of Gosnells deputy mayor and recently named West Australian of the year Dr Robert Isaacs was awarded the title of honorary freeman of the city at the weekend.
Dr Isaacs was the first Aboriginal person to be elected to local government in 1991 and has made significant contributions both to the City of Gosnells and the wider Aboriginal community.
He was overwhelmed at the accolades he had received in the past five weeks, which included being named West Australian of the year and Aboriginal of the year in June.
“I was shocked because I thought I was just going to a dinner, I didn’t think I would be named a freeman of the city but then I didn’t think I would be given West Australian of the year or the Aboriginal award either,” he said.
Dr Isaacs, who lives in Langford, said it was particularly gratifying to be recognised by the city he had called home for about 30 years.
“I’ve always praised the City of Gosnells and when I got on council and I spoke about Aboriginal issues, I only had one vote but I received support from the council, which meant I was getting my message across,” he said.
“I love the City of Gosnells and I’ve seen it grow over many years.”
Over the past 50 years Dr Isaacs has been at the forefront of Aboriginal health, housing, education and employment. He was instrumental in establishing Clontarf Aboriginal college, Aboriginal home ownership scheme keystart and he was the former chairman if the Derbarl Yerrigan health service.
He was the first person to be named a freeman of the City of Gosnells in 12 years.
Dr Isaacs’ wife Teresa Isaacs was also recently recognised having been included in the Queens birthday honours list.
Mrs Isaacs has been a nurse since she was 16 and living in Broome.
She now works at the autumn centre, part of the Derbal Yerrigan health service, where she assists dialysis patients.
Many of her patients were from remote or rural areas and had to travel to Perth for treatment.
She will be invested by the Governor General next month.