A crowd of more than 500 spilled out of the Church of St Martin at Mullumbimby for the funeral service for Aboriginal leader Sol Bellear.
A crowd of more than 500 spilled out of the Church of St Martin at Mullumbimby for the funeral service for Aboriginal leader Sol Bellear. Christian Morrow

Funeral for land rights fighter and popular football player

A CROWD of more than 500 people spilled out of the Church of St Martin at Mullumbimby for the funeral service for Aboriginal leader Solomon David "Sol" Bellear.

Sol was finally returned to country for his burial following a state funeral in Sydney, which was attended by more than 1000 people.

Mourners remembered Sol as a giant of the land rights movement, a mentor and a gun rugby league player who will be sorely missed.

Sol passed away peacefully in Sydney on November 29.

The Bundjalung man moved to Sydney as a teenager after the 1967 Referendum.

Over five decades, Sol's contribution to Aboriginal rights and self-determination was considerable.

He was the inaugural chairman of the Aboriginal Legal Service, chairman of the community-controlled Aboriginal Medical Service Redfern, founding member of the Aboriginal Housing Company and served as Deputy Chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) in the 1990s.

In 1999, Sol was awarded an Order of Australia for services to the Aboriginal community.

Sol also worked as a public servant in Queensland, lending his skills and knowledge to improving Aboriginal health.

Away from politics, Sol lived and breathed rugby league. He was graded for his beloved South Sydney Rabbitohs and later served as a director for the club.

Sol was a permanent fixture at the Koori Knockout, representing the Redfern All Blacks at the first Knockout in 1971 as well as the Wollumbin Warriors.



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