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21 July 2020 // Lyall Munro Snr
Lyall Munro Senior (1931-May2020) A Gomeroi (Kamilaroi) Elder and direct descendant of the Myall Creek area in Moree. He was born into a world of racial segregation in 1931, in Tingha, NSW.
In 1965 Lyall joined the 'Freedom Rides' to raise awareness about racial segregation in rural towns. The movement, now considered a watershed moment in national race relations, took him to Moree where he, alongside revered activist Charlie Perkins, protested against the exclusion of Aboriginal people from clubs in Walgett, swimming pools in Moree and Kempsey, and picture theatres in Bowraville.
A dedicated and long-life member of the Land Rights Movement, and also helped to set up the Aboriginal Legal Service in the 1970s.
He locked horns with prime ministers, advised leaders, and addressed international peace forums.
He helped establish the NSW Aboriginal Legal Service, rallied against the effects of asbestos mining on the North Coast, contributed to the royal commission into Indigenous deaths in custody, and fought tirelessly for housing for Aboriginal people.
"And then we challenged the system, but we always knew that we could never break that system down entirely – it was a solid brick wall, 200 years in the making.
"But we always said that we hoped that one day we’d have so many honest people in that system that it would destroy itself," he said.
In recognition of his tireless campaigning Lyall won the Aboriginal Justice Award through the NSW Law and Justice Foundation.
Lyall remained passionate about the town of Moree. There he served on the board of the hospital and held positions in numerous community organisations including Moree Aboriginal Sobriety House, Moree Local Aboriginal Land Council, and numerous housing organisations.
Lyall Munro Snr passed away in May 2020 and on 12th July a State funeral was held in his honour. He is survived by nine of his 12 children, 45 grandchildren, 122 great-grandchildren and 28 great-great-grandchildren.