Born in Newcastle, New South Wales, Gabi Hollows spent most of her childhood on a 25 acre orchard just outside of Gosford on the Central Coast of NSW. After graduating as an Orthoptist from the NSW School of Orthoptics in 1972 (where she first met Fred Hollows) and working in the Central Coast region of NSW, Gabi came to Sydney to take up a position at The Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick.
Gabi worked with Fred on the National Trachoma and Eye Health Program from 1976 and, over 3 years, visited over 465 remote Indigenous communities screening for, and treating, eye disease.
This was a life‐changing experience for Gabi who previously knew little about Indigenous Australia.
Gabi married Fred Hollows in 1980 and they have five children. When Fred became sick with cancer, Gabi exuded Fred’s vibrant spirit to help build The Fred Hollows Foundation, while still running a household of young children and taking care of her husband. Since Fred’s death in early 1993, Gabi has continued to work tirelessly for The Foundation in her role as Founding Director.
Through her work with The Foundation, Gabi has been awarded an Advance Australia Award for Community Service, a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International and has been named as one of Australia’s 100 Living National Treasures. In 2003, she was awarded a Centenary Medal by the Australian Government.
Gabi is particularly passionate about children and education and has a close association with Rotary, becoming an honorary member in 2006.
In 1996 Gabi married lawyer and friend John Balazs. Gabi is still known as Gabi Hollows.
Photo courtesy of CS Studio/Ian Waldie