Dr Gary Foley was born in Grafton, northern NSW, of Gumbainggir descent. Expelled from school at the age of 15, he came to Sydney as a 17-year old apprentice draughtsperson. Since then, he has been at the centre of major political activities including the 1971 Springbok tour demonstrations, the Tent Embassy in Canberra in 1972, the Commonwealth Games protest in 1982, and the 1988 bicentennial celebrations. He was also involved in the formation of Redfern's Aboriginal Legal Service and the Aboriginal Medical Service in Melbourne. Gary has been a director of the Aboriginal Health Service (1981), the Aboriginal Arts Board (1983-86) and the Aboriginal Medical Service Redfern (1988). He has been a senior lecturer at Swinburne College in Melbourne and consultant to the Royal Commission into Black Deaths in Custody (1988). In 2013 he completed a PhD in History at the University of Melbourne, for which he was in 2014 awarded the University of Melbourne's prestigious Chancellor's Award for Excellence.