Aden Ridgeway was born in Macksville in northern NSW in 1962. He is a proud member of the Gumbayyngirr people. His life has seen him rise from the treadmill of poverty and of growing up on an Aboriginal reserve. His early experiences have resulted in strong family traditions and he is the very proud father of two adult sons and a younger daughter.
He attended boarding school at St John's College, Woodlawn, and left in 1980. He has been a park ranger, court assessor, chief executive officer and federal politician.
Aden is the first indigenous person to be elected as a Parliamentary Leader when he held the position of Deputy Leader, Australian Democrats, during 2001-02. More recently, he retired as a Senator for NSW, having served in the Federal Parliament for six years.
He is currently Executive Chairman of Indigenous Tourism Australia, and Adjunct Professor, UTS, Sydney. He also holds the positions of Chairman, Bangarra Dance Theatre, and Chairman, NSW Reparations Repayments Scheme Panel. Aden is also the prime time presenter of ABC’s “Message stick” Program, and he currently works as a consultant to various organizations, including the NSWALC, Chase Property Investments and Maari Ma Aboriginal Health Corporation. He is now also the Patron of ‘The Centre for Aboriginal Independence and Enterprise.