Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags flying with Australian flag

University pays tribute to Aboriginal activist Solomon Bellear

1 December 2017

Following the recent passing of Aboriginal leader and activist Mr Solomon Bellear, the University of Sydney pays respect to the local Aboriginal leader and activist.

Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Juanita Sherwood has paid tribute to Aboriginal leader and activist Mr Solomon Bellear, who was a vital part of the Redfern community that shares the Gadigal land on which the University stands.

On behalf of the University of Sydney, Professor Sherwood said:

“Today I acknowledge with sadness the passing of Aboriginal leader and activist Mr Solomon Bellear AM, known to most as Sol. Sol Bellear was a Bundjalung man from Mullumbimby in Northern NSW who dedicated his life to fighting for Aboriginal political and social rights.

“For decades Sol was at the forefront of the Aboriginal civil rights movement, he was inspired by the Black Power movement in the USA and fought with the same passion and determination to end racism and discrimination in Australia. In the early 1970s he was the inaugural Chairperson of the Aboriginal Legal Service (ALS) in Redfern, which was the first organisation of its kind set up to provide legal advice for Aboriginal people and which became the model from which Aboriginal Legal Services around the country were developed.

“Sol Bellear was also the long serving Chairperson of the Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS) in Redfern, after joining the Board in 1975. Like the Aboriginal Legal Service the AMS was the first Aboriginal community controlled health service in Australia and also was the catalyst and model for the development of other Aboriginal Medical Services. He received an Order of Australia (AM) for his work in Aboriginal health.

“Sol was also a champion for Land Rights and was a consultant to the NSW Aboriginal Land Council. He was an elected counsellor on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC), and became its deputy Chair. He was part of a delegation that went to the United Nations to speak about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues in 1970. 

We pay tribute to a man who will be remembered as a tireless advocate and a role model and inspiration to new generations of activists.
Professor Juanita Sherwood, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor

"Sol never shied away from the fight. His generation were sowing their message in the stoniest of grounds and yet they achieved great changes. They challenged the system and established community controlled organisations that have stood the test of time and still provide the model for self-determination in action.”

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