| Philip Nitschke was born in the small South Australian town of Ardrossan in August 1947 to his school teacher parents, Gwen and Harold. Moving frequently as a child around country SA, Philip graduated with a Science degree (Honours) from Adelaide University in 1968, only to enroll in his PhD in laser physics at Flinders University the following year. |
Rejecting a career in Physics but with PhD in hand, Philip tried many jobs including working with Aboriginal Land Rights Activist Vincent Lingiari at Wave Hill in the early 1970s; his first political cause.
Following several years in the Territory, Philip spent time in Melbourne before returning to Alice Springs to work for 8 years as a Ranger in the Parks and Wildlife Service.
Following an accident where his heel was broken Philip needed to retrain and at 35, he attended Sydney University Medical School.
Upon graduation, Philip returned to the Territory, this time to Darwin where he completed an internship at the Royal Darwin Hospital. A long-time activist in the peace and anti-nuclear movements of the 1980s, Philip was soon involved in a whistleblowing incident about the Hospital’s alleged under-preparedness for the visits of US nuclear powered submarines.
Leaving the bureaucracy of the Hospital workplace behind him, Philip branched out on his own, establishing an after-hours medical service and working primarily with drug users. At that time and unlike other states, the Northern Territory had no methadone treatment program. It was during this time that Philip first heard of the plans of then Chief Minister Marshall Perron and started to speak out on the VE issue and why the law was a good idea. The rest, as they say, is history.
Today Philip lives outside of Darwin. In his spare time he enjoys going bush, drinking beer at the local Humpty Doo pub and riding his old Cossack motorbike (replete with sidecar).