Gabi Hollows

Gabi Hollows AO (born Gabrielle Beryl O'Sullivan, 21 May 1953) is one of Australia's 100 Living Treasures. She was also given the Advance Australia Award for Community Service, and was made Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International.

Early life

Hollows was a born in Newcastle, New South Wales, and raised on an orchard near Gosford on the Central Coast of New South Wales. She first became interested in medicine when she had eye surgery at the age of three.


In 1972 she graduated as an Orthoptist from the NSW School of Orthoptics. During her orthoptic training, she met Fred Hollows, with whom she did a great deal of work treating Aboriginal Australians for a range of eye conditions including trachoma. Over a period of three years, they visited over 465 remote communities.

She worked tirelessly with Fred until his death in 1993, and continued his work afterwards through The Fred Hollows Foundation, both overseas and in Australia.

I discovered what an unusual person Gabi was early on, when I worked with her in a blacks' camp in the Territory. I was examining eyes and grading for trachoma; Gabi was taking visual fields and I can tell you which is the harder job - hers.

You have to deal with linguistic and cultural differentials and be patient and pleasant if you hope to achieve anything. Gabi must have examined two hundred people that day, and she was as soothing and agreeable to the two hundredth as she had been to the first.

I noticed something else: Gabi's tone of voice, manner and body language didn't change, whether she was dealing with the station manager or the oldest, most withered Aborigine in the camp. That kind of innate goodness is rare.

Fred Hollows, ABC Radio national interview[1]

Personal life

She married Fred Hollows in 1980 and had five children with him: Cam, Emma, Anna-Louise, and the twins Ruth and Rosa. [2]In 1996, the third year after Fred's death, she married lawyer John Balazs. [3]


In 2001 she was awarded the Centenary Medal for services to community welfare and development.[4]

In the 2013 Queens Birthday Honours List, Gabi Hollows was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) "For distinguished service to public health as an advocate for the eradication of blindness, particularly for Indigenous Australians and people in the developing world."[5]



External links

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