21 Facts About Fred Hollows


Fred Cossom Hollows was one of a family of four boys; the others being Colin, John and Maurice.


Fred Hollows had one year of informal primary schooling at North East Valley Primary School and began attending Palmerston North Boys' High School when he was 13.


Fred Hollows received his BA degree from Victoria University of Wellington.


Fred Hollows briefly studied at a seminary, but decided against a life in the clergy.


Fred Hollows was a member of the Communist Party of New Zealand during the 1950s and 1960s.


Fred Hollows was married twice: in 1958 to Mary Skiller, who died in 1975, and in 1980 to Gabi O'Sullivan.


Fred Hollows first met Gabi in the early 1970s during her training as an orthoptist, and they later worked together on the National Trachoma and Eye Health Program.


Fred Hollows declined the award of honorary Officer of the Order of Australia in 1985.


Fred Hollows adopted Australian citizenship in 1989 and was named Australian of the Year in 1990.


Fred Hollows accepted the substantive award of Companion of the Order of Australia in 1991.


Fred Hollows then did post-graduate work in Wales before moving in 1965 to Australia, where he became associate professor of ophthalmology at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.


Early in the 1970s, Fred Hollows worked with the Gurindji people at Wave Hill in the Northern Territory and then with the people around Bourke and other isolated New South Wales towns, stations and Aboriginal communities.


Fred Hollows himself spent three years visiting Aboriginal communities to provide eye care and carry out a survey of eye defects.


Fred Hollows organised intraocular lens laboratories in Eritrea and Nepal to manufacture and provide lenses at cost, which was about A$10 each.


The Fred Hollows Foundation was launched as an Australian charitable foundation in Sydney on 3 September 1992 to continue the work of Fred Hollows in providing eye care for the underprivileged and poor, and to improve the health of indigenous Australians.


The Foundation has registered as a charity organisation in the United Kingdom where Fred Hollows did much of his training, and in his country of birth, New Zealand.


Fred Hollows observed the spread of AIDS in contemporary African communities and he was concerned that AIDS would spread as vehemently through Aboriginal communities.


Fred Hollows died in Sydney, Australia, in 1993 at the age of 63.


Fred Hollows had been diagnosed with the disease six years earlier, in 1987.


Fred Hollows was given a state funeral service at St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney, though he was an atheist.


Fred Hollows was survived by his wife Gabi Hollows, and children Tanya, Ben, Cam, Emma, Anna-Louise, Ruth and Rosa.