NT Wave Hill walk-off stockman dies

·1-min read

One of the last surviving Aboriginal stockmen to take part in strike action at Wave Hill Station in the Northern Territory over unpaid wages has died.

J Wavehill died on Wednesday aged 85.

The prominent Territorian was one of 200 Gurindji stockmen and domestic workers who took part in the now-famous Wave Hill walk-off 55 years ago.

The dispute ran for seven years and eventually led to the return the Gurindji people's homelands and the birth of Land Rights for Australian Indigenous people.

Then-prime minister Gough Whitlam travelled to Wave Hill Station for the hand back ceremony in 1975.

Mr Wavehill was 18 when he joined his brother-in-law, Vincent Lingiari, to demand 'a fair go' and protested over wages and their appalling working conditions.

His death came two days after the anniversary of the strike that started on August 23, 1966.

Mr Wavehill was renowned for his storytelling, humour and horsemanship.

He was also a devoted family man and a passionate advocate for his people and their land rights.

"He was a courageous leader who always stood up for his mob," Northern Land Council chair Samuel Bush-Blanasi said

"This is a very sad time for the community. We have lost a hero of the land rights movement," chief executive Joe Martin-Jard said.

Mr Wavehill's family has approved the use of his name.

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