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Vale Uncle Lyall Munro Senior



Aboriginal Affairs NSW shares the Moree Aboriginal community’s sadness at the passing in May of respected Komeroi (pronounced Gomeroi) Elder Uncle Lyall Munro Senior, and offers sincere condolences to his family, friends and community members.

Uncle Lyall Munro Senior at the Law and Justice Foundation Awards

Uncle Lyall Munro Senior at the Law and Justice Foundation Awards


Uncle Lyall was a passionate land-rights leader and campaigner who demonstrated a life-long commitment to campaigning for the rights and interests of Aboriginal people in NSW, nationally and at times internationally. Throughout his life he worked tirelessly on improving conditions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, no matter where they came from or lived, and leaves a profound legacy of achievements.

Uncle Lyall was involved in the historic 1965 Freedom Rides when they arrived in Moree to increase awareness to all Australians about racial segregation in rural towns.

He was elected to the NSW Aboriginal Advisory Council that directly advised the NSW Minister for Aboriginal Affairs following the abolishment of the NSW Aboriginal Welfare Board. Uncle Lyall was also an elected member of the NSW Aboriginal Lands Trust, the National Aboriginal Consultative Committee (NACC) and reconstituted National Aboriginal Conference (NAC).

He undertook the task of treaty negotiations with the Frazer-led Federal Coalition Government, served as an executive member of the World Council of Indigenous Peoples and was instrumental in Australia hosting the Third General Assembly of the World Council of Indigenous Peoples (WCIP) Conference in Canberra in 1981.

Uncle Lyall was involved in discussions with Jose Ramos Horta seeking independence of East Timor and alongside the NSW Aboriginal Legal Service Ltd was vocal against James Hardie Company in Baryulgil Aboriginal Mission and the effects of asbestos mining in the NSW north coast community.

He was also involved in the establishment of the NSW Aboriginal Legal Service Ltd, the Australian Legal Aid Commission (which was created from the NSW Aboriginal Legal Service model of free legal representation – an Australian first), the Aboriginal Employment Strategy and numerous Aboriginal community-controlled organisations in Moree.

He was an active participant in the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, an inaugural member of the NSW Aboriginal Housing Office and AHO Regional Aboriginal Housing Committee.

Uncle Lyall was a direct descendant of the victims and survivors of the Myall Creek Massacre near Bingara, NSW, and as a founding committee Co-Chair, worked to have the Memorial and Massacre site listed on the NSW State Heritage Register and National Heritage List.

In 2002 he was one of the silent achievers recognised as a joint recipient of the National NAIDOC Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Male Elders of the Year Award and in 2013, was awarded the Aboriginal Justice Award through the NSW Law and Justice Foundation, a fitting tribute to his service.

Head of Aboriginal Affairs Lil Gordon said, “Uncle Lyall’s commitment and dedication to improving the lives of Aboriginal people through land rights, social justice and equality for future generations has left a legacy to Aboriginal Affairs that will always be remembered.

“His contribution has marked his name into the history books as a leader of our people, and he will be sadly missed by all that knew him. Our heartfelt sympathies are with Uncle’s family, community and country at this time.”

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