NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian today announced that Aboriginal rights and welfare advocate Sol Bellear, who passed away last week, will receive a state funeral.
“On behalf of the people of NSW, I extend my deepest sympathies to Sol Bellear’s family and community,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“Sol was one of Australia’s greatest Aboriginal leaders. He dedicated his whole life and energy to Aboriginal land rights and welfare, fighting for equality and improving the lives of future generations, and for that, we are very grateful to him.”
Mr Bellear, a Bundjalung man, leaves a legacy of tireless activism in Aboriginal affairs. At the time of his passing, he was Chairperson of the Aboriginal Medical Service Cooperative in Redfern, which he helped to establish, and a senior strategist with the NSW Aboriginal Land Council.
Mr Bellear was part of an Aboriginal delegation to the UN General Assembly in 1970, the same year he became founding Chair of the Aboriginal Legal Service. He served on the Aboriginal Medical Service Cooperative Board from 1975 and from 1990 was ATSIC Deputy Chair, before stepping down in 1994. In 1999, he was awarded an Order of Australia for services to the Aboriginal community.
Details of Mr Bellear’s state funeral will be announced soon.