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Condolences for passing of Steve "Mullawalla" Dodd


I extend my deepest condolences to the family of admired Aboriginal actor and veteran, Steve Mullawalla Dodd, who passed away earlier this week on the NSW South Coast at the age of 86.

Mr Dodd was a man who overcame prejudice and discrimination and leaves behind a distinguished record of achievement.

He was among the first recognisable Aboriginal actors to appear in Australian films and saw active service in the Royal Australian Regiment for two years during the Korean War.

Mr Dodd was an Arrernte Indigenous man from Central Australia. Known as Mulla walla (flying fish) he was born in 1928.

He grew up and thrived in the traditions of Aboriginal people by working as a stockman and rodeo rider, before going on to play the parts of Aboriginal characters over 70 years in Australian and international film and television.

His on screen credits include many iconic films and television shows produced in Australia including Gallipoli, The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith, The Matrix, Homicide and The Flying Doctors.

By 1985 he had acted in 55 movies or TV series. Later films saw him on screen with Tom Selleck in Quigley Down Under and Keanu Reeves in The Matrix.

In 2013, Mr Dodd was honoured with the Jimmy Little Award for Lifetime Achievement in Music and the Performing Arts, at the 19th Deadly Awards at the Sydney Opera House.

Mr Dodd will be remembered as a great Australian and a much respected member of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander veterans' community who served his country during the Korean War with the 1st Battalion Royal Australian Regiment.

In the words of David Williams, President of the NSW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Veteran's Association, "Uncle Steve Dodd had an aura, a smile and a confidence that he instilled in us younger veterans."

I join with Mr Dodd's family and friends in mourning his death and celebrating his long life and many achievements.

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