Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 23 November 1994



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 23 November 1994

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Parliamentary Record 6


Debates for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Wednesday 23 November 1994 movement in the 1930s, the 1940s and even the 1950s. Indeed, I believe he established the movement. He was greatly influenced by the Methodist Overseas Missions which came into Arnhem Land to preach and to settle some of the people in Arnhem Land who were still living a nomadic life. I have great respect for him because I refer to him as my adoptive father. He looked after me when my father passed away. My father was an older brother to him. He took responsibility not only for me but for many other families. In fact, the Warramiri and Warrumbri clans o f Arnhem Land owe him a debt o f gratitude for the assistance and the direction he offered to us during times o f difficulty. He provided leadership for us. I recall when Mr David Burramarra received the MBE for his services to the Aboriginal people o f north-east Arnhem Land. The former Governor-General, Sir Zelman Cowen, attended the investiture ceremony which was held at Galiwinku. For the occasion, the old man made the people wear a colourful robe-like shift, like a kaftan, which specifically represented the values o f his Dreaming and where he came from. It was extremely hot. It must have been about 36C. I recall Paul Everingham, Creed Lovegrove and Sir Zelman Cowen trying to rig themselves out in these kaftans. It was a funny sight. I was the Town Clerk at Galiwinku at that stage. It was something that I will never forget. Regardless o f what people thought or how hot it was, he made them wear those robes. That was how strong the man was. He learned English at that early stage and, something that you would not think could ever happen, he owned a typewriter in Arnhem Land in the 1940s. He was a dedicated man who helped many people. He influenced many people through the Institute for Aboriginal Studies in Canberra. He was an associate fellow o f an institute in America. His knowledge was well above that o f the average person. I recall him receiving information from that institute. On behalf o f my family and friends at Galiwinku, Terry Yumbulul, our cousins and sisters and the people o f Milingimbi and Yirrkala, I place on record our thanks and appreciation for the guidance and the commitment that he gave us to ensure that we appreciated the value o f education and to ensure that we made the right representation in the face o f adversity. This old man was talking about reconciliation 30 years ago when that was not fashionable. He even had his own flag design 30 years ago. That is how strong his belief was. He had the utmost respect for the Queen. I have never seen any Yolgnu whatsoever in my entire life have that kind o f respect for the Queen. I believe that is one o f the reasons for the recognition he received for the services he provided to people in Arnhem Land. I thank him for the work that he did on behalf o f the Arnhem Land people. The people o f Arnhem Land thank those who sent condolence notices. I hope his work will be carried on by his family and the people in Arnhem Land. I thank my countrymen who came from as far away as Croker, Numbulwar, Goulburn and Maningrida to attend his funeral as a mark o f respect to the old man. Mrs PADGHAM-PURICH (Nelson): Mr Deputy Speaker, this morning, I asked the Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services a question in relation to the Defence Forces paying the Northern Territory government for fire protection for their installations, 1860