House debates

Thursday, 2 September 2021

Statements by Members

Wavehill, Mr

1:35 pm

Photo of Warren SnowdonWarren Snowdon (Lingiari, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for External Territories) Share this | | Hansard source

[by video link] Today I pay tribute to my old friend Mr Wavehill, an extraordinary man who lived an extraordinary life. He recently passed at his home in Kalkarindji surrounded by his family, two days after the 55th anniversary of the historic Wave Hill walk-off. He was born at Low Level in Katherine in the bush to his Mudburra parents, Mini and Left-handed Charlie. Born into cattle, he grew up on stations. He got his first job in Delamere, where he worked for nine years. He then went on to work in many other stations in the region before ending up at Wave Hill. There he met and married the love of his life, Biddy, and they went on to have 10 children. He was a young stockman when he took part in the Wave Hill walk-off. He was there at Wattie Creek when Gough Whitlam symbolically poured the soil into the hand of Vincent Lingiari, giving him back country.

Mr Wavehill was an important and strong voice for land rights and protecting country. He was passionate about his family, his community and his culture. He was an active member of the Central Land Council for many years. He was an artist. He loved passing on his knowledge to the rest of us, and it made him so very happy. He had a great smile. He was someone I knew very well. He was a man of stature, grace and humour. He was a gentleman. He was special, one of a kind. His passing is a devastating loss for his family and community. I extend my condolences to his wife, Biddy, extended family and friends. Goodbye, my old friend. Rest in peace.