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YALURITJA CLARRIE ISAACS (Haj) J.P.
4 Sept 1948 - 26 Nov 2003
Involved with his mother and family of 27 brothers and sisters in the Aboriginal Legal Service, Moral Re-armament and Soup Kitchens within the Perth district.
Educated at Perth Modern High School where he studied
Active Trade Unionist 1983-89.
Active in the Goonininup (Swan Brewery) Site Dispute.
Radio Broadcaster 1989-90. Golden West Network, Bunbury and 6NR.
Co-ordinator: Aboriginal Programme, Community Aid Abroad.
Directed the North West Tour, Desert Tracks.
Tireless Activist in Australia and international forums for his Nyungah community and the rights of all Aboriginal People.
|Final Ceremony that laid Clarrie's Spirit to Rest|
|The Final Ceremony, organised by Nyungah elders, Kevin Cameron and Robert Bropho, was held at a spectacular place in the Hills looking down the huge Valley of the Helena River - on the Dreaming Track. It is where Clarrie has been before. There were 40-50 people there, Nyungah and other friends of Clarrie's. (Photographs by Vivenne Hillier)|
Stories, Testimonials and Tributes
I would like to tell the story how Yaluritja got his fighting spirit.
The family and my uncle Lesley R Isaccs the brother of Charles Samuel Isaacs
Yaluritja`s father and all the children would every year on new years day
have a joint family picnic at the small park opposite the brewery, those of
use who know are aware that this was originally a mens initiation ground
when white people first settled in Perth. This was also the only source of
good drinking water (natural Spring).
This area was later taken from the traditional owners and elders who lived on the site for Perths first water supply. When Yaluritja was about 9 years old (it would have been 1959-60 when this incident took place because we were living at Aberdeen street West Perth) we had just finshed a great lunch and mum Elizabeth Isaacs (Dec)had put most of the plates aside and needed some water to do the washing up she called my cousin Robert L Isaacs (Dec) and Yaluritja to fetch some water from the spring.
The spring was at the time set up with water running from the hill through a pipe and a sort of headstone in the shape of a building and engraved words saying this was the first official water supply for Perth.
My brother and cousin went with several pots to get the water. litle brother wadded into the water and filled several pots and decided to have a drink from the spring pipe as he bent down and his mouth touched the pipe and flowing water he received a shock and fell unconcious into the water, cousin Bob rushed in and pulled him from the water, because of the fence around it he could not get my brother out of the water.
A man walking near the area saw the boys in trouble and jumped in the water to help he was also on a picnic with his family after geting my brother over the fence carried him to his car and rushed him to hospital by the time we started looking for my brother it was getting late and there was only two families left in the area.
The wife of the man came over and started talking saying her husband had gone and taken the family car and she was concerned he had not come back. Mum said we were also concerned that the two boys had gone missing, we found the pots at the spring, at about sun set the man came back and took mum to the hospital to see little brother, we made it home by taxi and family transport.
The story was in the newspaper several days later with little brother and cousin Bob thanking the man for his assistance. they investergated (SEC) the so called electric shock my little brother had received they dug all around the the spring only to find there was no electrical wires anywere near the spring.
What had happened that day was my little brother was chosen to fight for the brewery site in the future the spirit he received was from the Wagyl the running water and the limestone (skeleton of the crocodile serpent).
I was convinced that the backbone and spirit of the Wagyl and the spirit of the old people who watch over the site chose my little brother that day to champion the fight for Noongar nations people. Yaluritja in the Arnhem land language where I live means "later on". You did not disapoint us or the spirits of old the brewery site you were given the honour of passing in your homelands. Rest in peace Yaluritja my little brother thank you for what you have done for our Noongar nation I miss you and will catch up with you there, your big brother
David Watjapa Simmons - email@example.com
Memories of Clarrie Isaacs - Yaluritja - flooded through me after I
heard of his death.
|Like so many others I was shocked and saddened
to learn of the sudden passing of Clarrie Isaacs. While people rightly
speak of him being a tireless campaigner, he was also a very clever political
strategist and a master of the punchy one liner for radio and print journalists
alike. There are countless stories and I would like to share but one.
Way back in 1993 Australia was in the midst of the national "debate"
about Native Title and the proposed legislative response to the Mabo decision.
Prime Minister Paul Keating was only meeting with a select team of Aboriginal
negotiators that some folk called the "A Team". Late in that
year Keating was in Perth and held a less formal meeting with West Australian
Aboriginal leaders at the Churchlands Campus of Edith Cowan University;
they were probably about 50 people present. Keating barred any media from
entering the meeting and gave a carefully controlled presentation of his
position. At the end of Keating's talk Clarrie went to the podium, addressed
the Prime Minister in the appropriate fashion and took three small calico
bags and presented them to Keating. He said something like: You came and
gave us tea, flour and sugar and took our land away. I now return your
tea, flour and sugar; please return my land". Keating was furious
and gave Clarrie a serve; then realising he had lost the plot and lost
the support of the people there Keating closed the meeting and left. Once
again, Clarrie had made his point, simply and cleverly.
|So many of us have wonderful personal memories
and stories to tell about Clarrie. He was a soul mate to many of us, a
kind and gentle man who touched us deeply.
He walked into our lives with that wonderful smile and we just couldn't help ourselves, he was our dearest friend, brother, father, teacher, hero and warrior. A creative and inspired thinker and communicator It was his magic, what he did best.
Most of us were caught up in his absolute commitment to environmental and human rights, his unstoppable drive to improve the lives of Nyungah People and to expose the greed and lies that were at the source of racial disharmony.
He traveled the world seeking justice for his people and his gift for touching hearts, went with him on all of his journeys. He loved to share the excitement of his adventures, and as his journeys became more frequent so the stories grew longer.
One such time not so long ago we were out to dinner with friends at Moore River, we started as a table of four, but as usual more people gathered as he told of his journey's to Libya and Brazil, his stay with the Native Americans in South Dakota, His spiritual journey to Mecca, The Peace Camp in Baghdad and so on. . . He stopped talking momentarily and amongst the 12 or so people now surrounding our table a lady said: "I don't remember seeing that film, what was it called, I'd love to go and see it". His life was a bit like a movie.
Clarrie grabbed every chance to get on talk back radio. and for a time one radio station banned him air time, Clarrie's truth was just far too powerful and the public was denied even a possibility of understanding.
But as everyone knows we used to gather on Tuesday mornings at the Old Swan Brewery, but one week Clarrie wanted to change the routine and for us all to meet at Kennedy's Fountain on Wednesday instead. So about thirty of us gathered with all the flags flying, and after a while a van pulled up with a reporter from one of the radio stations wanting to know what was happening. Clarrie said 'we were expecting 200 or so Aboriginal People to arrive around lunchtime and that we would be setting up camp and the campaign was on again!' so one happy reporter took off at full speed to her radio station with a fantastic coup, and even some of us wondered !!! But twenty minutes later we were heading off in our cars with radios tuned in to hear the announcement that "battle lines were drawn again down at the Old Swan Brewery" Clarrie's spontaneous sense of fun kept us all in good spirits, we were all part of this huge extended family.
Even when Clarrie was standing amongst wretched memories of the past he found positive ways to release his sorrow. I remember about 12 years ago a few of us went to the premier of a film shown on Rottnest. A movie about a young Aboriginal surfing champion who whilst on Rottnest tuned in through dreams to the torment of another Aboriginal boy taken from Wave Rock in chains to be incarcerated there. As the movie ended too late for a ferry home, we were allocated the old Wardens Cottage to share with Iva and Charmaine for the night. Clarrie couldn't sleep, he was so restless and paced around all night so very distressed. At dawn we took off to the beach returning later Clarries arms full of paper and sticks and he lit a fire in the hearth. But the smoke wouldn't go up the chimney, it was obviously sealed and it just poured back into the room, .But he still went on creating more smoke and pretty soon the room was full of it. I went off to the kitchen and pretty soon Iva and Charmaine joined me wondering what was going on?
We reasoned it would soon die down as Clarrie run out of sticks, but No! he was off outside again and back with another bundle of wood! We understood and respected what he was doing but were also seriously concerned he might choke, and Iva soon decided it was time to rush into the room and throw open the doors and windows.
Well by now there were a few visitors around who saw all this smoke billowing out of the cottage and they rushed in to see who they could rescue, took one look at us and rushed out again! By then our smoke filled eyes were shedding tears of laughter as Clarrie said he reckoned they thought the Aborigines had come to burn down the Island.
We shared 14 years of friendship, journeys and stories of his adventures, He would want us to share these accounts of his life, it's a way of keeping his memory alive. Clarrie died in his own country on a campaign that would protect the forest, doing what he loved the most. there will never be anyone like you again Clarrie No wonder we all loved you,
Rest in Peace my friend.
Clarrie was known both to myself and Samina Yasmeen, my wife.
I would like to add my words and thoughts to those of many others who
mourn the passing of this wonderful, brave, passionate and committed
man. While I have not had contact with him over the past few years,
I will always retain the memory of his quiet dignity and humour in the
face of great aggravation and oppression and his tireless activism for
his people and country and for anyone anywhere who was facing oppression
or injustice. He was a good friend and a trusted colleague in many battles
from the Swan Brewery protests, Surviavl day celebrations, Native Title
Debate1993, immigration/racism issues, countless election campaigns
and a sharer of stories of First peoples in America and Canada. My condolences
go to all his family and many friends as we celebrate and reflect on
what he gave to all of us.
I'll always remember Yaluritja Clarrie Isaacs. I was overseas and have
only just returned and learned of his tragic passing. It came as a shock.
An indefatigable political militant and human right campaigner, rallying
and inspiring the massed pickets at the Goonininup-Old Swan Brewery
site - megaphone to mouth, fearless in the face of government intimidation,
media denigration, hostile public opinion and imminent police crackdown
- he epitomised the Aboriginal resistance to the boundless greed and
selfishness of the Perth wealthy classes, and the defiance of their
running dogs in the establishment political parties. Clarrie would not
give up. A fighter against racism to his core. They never broke him.
|The untimely death of Yaluritja Clarrie Isaacs
was a great shock and grief for us all. Clarrie was consistent, firm and
a man of principles. He was always kind and a good and sincere friend.
He was a tireless struggler and activist for justice for his indigenous
people. He had the qualities of modesty and true leadership. Clarrie's
loss is a loss not only for his indigenous people and Australia as a whole
but to the Palestinian people and all who struggle for justice.
I convey my deepest sympathy and condolences to all his family, to the indigenous people of Australia and to all his many friends who will miss him always as I will.
May Allah grant his soul tranquility and mercy and to his people long-awaited justice and peace.
Head of the General Palestinian Delegation to Australia
Ambassador of Palestine to Vanuatu
|As a 'young' 19 year old trainee radio producer
working at WAAMA (WA Aboriginal Media Assoc.) in Perth, I remember how
nervous I was when I was told to provide a continuous coverage of the
protest action at Gooniniup (Swan Brewery area). I knew that the experience
would be life changing because...you see...I wasn't very confident in
my Aboriginality. My family is one of the many traumatised by decades
of dispossession, poverty, 'protection' policies and extermination. The
protest placed me at the core of what it is to be Aboriginal today. What
are you prepared to fight for? Where will you draw the line? Are you a
person of principle? How can you be objective when so much threatens our
spiritual and cultural heritage? All of these questions ran through my
head as I held that microphone and recorded the unfolding of events at
Gooniniup...women's place....sacred place.
It was Yaluritja (Clarrie) who reached out and warmly welcomed me to the fray. His quiet humour and dignified manner when confronted by those of the intolerant majority was impressive and educational for me as a young person. He was truely an uncle to me and my sister, Julie Dowling because he wasn't afraid of pain and suffering. He knew that what mattered was if you were a person true of heart and that you dreamed of a day when our people would have self determination and true freedom. He knew that the fight wouldn't end with him. He knew it was up to future generations of Noongars, Yamatjis, Wongis, Bardi's etc...to bring about justice. We have lost his guiding hand but we will keep the struggle going.
Not many people knew that Clarrie once became a trainee radio producer at WAAMA. He lasted two weeks. The reason he resigned was a wonderful one and it taught me alot about the difference between western media and what should be offering here in Perth for Noongars. Clarrie said that he could no longer work for WAAMA because he could not be objective...he could not work in a job that meant he had to distance himself from social action. Perhaps this is what WAAMA should be about today? Where are our voices of protest on the airwaves...why are so many white people still so ignorant and racist? Have we lost our words of resistance? I celebrate Clarrie's life, not just because he was a great man, but because he wasn't shame about reading out music requests on a Saturday night. He knew it was important for our brothers and sisters inside prisons to hear the music and messages sent to them from their mothers and families. Clarrie loved doing that because he knew it would directly give hope to someone, anyone who was Noongar and in dispair. His heart was so big. That was the man I knew. This is the man I will miss. I know your mother would have been so proud of what you achieved in your life, Clarrie. Thank you for showing us the meaning of being Aboriginal today.
on behalf of her family
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
Asalam-Alakom Peace be upon you brother
|Yaluritja Clarrie Isaacs - a lifetime of activism|
BY ANTHONY BENBOW
PERTH On December 2, as the morning sun sparkled from the rivers quiet surface, more than a hundred people gathered at Gooniniup, the Nyungah womens sacred site, also known as the old Swan Brewery. We recalled the campaign waged during the 1980s and 1990s, when Nyungah people and others united in a bid to prevent a corrupt government and a greedy developer from desecrating a sacred place.
Aboriginal flags, T-shirts and ribbons were displayed proudly. Familiar faces were greeted, stories exchanged but the mood was one of sorrow rather than celebration. One of the key leaders of the struggle against the brewery development was not present. We were there to remember and celebrate the life of Yaluritja Clarrie Isaacs, whose sudden death on November 26, at just 55 years of age, shocked and saddened us all.
Clarries sharp wit and willingness to take a stand earned him plenty of enemies in the WA establishment but the mainstream media portrayal of him as a lone shit-stirrer was false. Clarrie was not a renegade, he did not act alone, he always had our support. He had the support of his people, Robert Bropho told the memorial meeting.
At the time of his death, Yaluritja was a Nyungah elder and custodian of the Busselton and Margaret River area of WA. He was also the chairperson of the Rottnest Island Deaths Group, and involved with the Nyungah Patrol, the Aboriginal Advancement Council, and the campaign to save the Ludlow Tuart forest, to name but a few. His warmth and generosity were noted by most who met him.
Clarrie was born in 1948, one of an extended family of 27 from the south-west of WA. His family was involved in the early Aboriginal Legal Service. Clarrie was a convert to Islam, and having made a pilgrimage to Mecca, earned the right to the title Haj. He was also a justice of the peace.
In the 1970s, Clarrie was active in the Water Supply Union, including as its president. In 1981, the WSU merged with the Federated Miscellaneous Workers Union. Clarrie served as a state councillor and executive member of the FMWU from 1982 to 1989. Here Clarrie first encountered FMWU leader Jim McGinty, later to become a state Labor minister. Clarrie also offered his solidarity with other workers in struggle, including the occupiers of the Cockatoo Island Dockyard in Sydney.
During this time, Clarrie helped found the Rottnest Island Deaths Group. Rottnest was used as a concentration camp for Aboriginal people from 1831 to the 1930s. The many people who holidayed there each year had no idea of the islands shocking and brutal past, until the Deaths Group documented the graves on Rottnest and raised community awareness.
The 1980s also saw the beginnings of the brewery struggle. The old Swan Brewery was built in the 1890s, over a water source sacred to Nyungah women. The building was abandoned in the 1960s. Through a series of shonky deals in the 1980s, the state government bought the site at a big loss.
The then-premier, Labor's Carmen Lawrence, did a deal. In effect, Multiplex Construction boss (and Labor campaign donor) John Roberts was handed the site free, to develop it as luxury apartments and restaurants. McGinty, by then heritage minister, was given the job of ramming the development through.
Nyungah people set up a year-long protest camp at the brewery site. Their wishes were simple: remove the old buildings and make the site a public park, to restore its significance as a sacred site. Thousands joined the brewery protests in solidarity.
Yaluritja was a key leader of the brewery protests, and his imaginative and colourful tactics have become legend: installing a mailbox and insisting Australia Post deliver letters direct to the camp; climbing the Norfolk pine tree and tying the Aboriginal flag right at the top; and painting everything he could red, black and yellow including the concrete barriers erected by the developers. Yaluritja and Bropho were inspirational leaders at the community pickets.
Eventually, the WA government bypassed the federal government's laws, frustrated the legal challenges, forced the lifting of the work ban some unions had placed on the site, and used masses of police to break the community picket on the morning of August 26, 1992. This was still not the end of the dispute Multiplex and the government had to fight further legal challenges which stalled the development three more years.
In 1988, to highlight 200 years of racism and genocide, Clarrie, Michael Mansell and other Aboriginal activists travelled to Libya, on passports issued by the Provisional Aboriginal Government of Australia. Clarrie continued to use the title President of the Aboriginal Government.
He told the 2001 UN Conference against Racism: If all Australians had the same experiences as Aboriginals, a third of them would not be alive today. He and Ellie Gilbert, widow of poet and activist Kevin Gilbert, went to this conference at their own expense to represent the Sovereign Union of Aboriginal Nations and Peoples in Australia.
Clarrie was a strong supporter of all anti-racist campaigns, in particular the campaign against the apartheid regime in South Africa. In 1996, with the election of Prime Minister John Howard and the rise of Pauline Hanson, Clarrie travelled the country speaking as part of a justice tour. In the 1996 WA election he stood as part of the Racism No! ticket.
Clarrie supported the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra and participated in the Sydney protests against the 2000 Olympics. He also battled WAs racist media particularly shock-jock Howard Sattler, who described the car-crash deaths of two Aboriginal boys as good riddance to bad rubbish. In 2001, the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal found Sattler guilty of racial discrimination.
In 1999, Clarrie lost much of his work and possessions in a house fire, the cause of which has never been satisfactorily explained.
Clarrie was direct and honest and he was not afraid to speak his mind. For example, in 1996 he attacked the federal Labor governments Native Title legislation: We expected native title, but we got native welfare ... the Native Title Tribunal has been an instrument to coerce the Indigenous peoples of Australia to accept the Labor Party's policy of compensation which, as at the 1st September 1994, amounted to a grand sum of less than $124 for each Indigenous person of Australia. Clarrie could be equally fierce in his condemnation of those supporting the government line, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.
In 2001, Clarrie was the lead Senate candidate in WA for the Socialist Alliance, condemning the governments treatment of refugees and the looming war on Afghanistan.
I last saw Clarrie at an October 23 rally in Forrest Place against Bushs visit. He gave the Nyungah welcome to country the welcoming smile and outstretched hand in greeting, and always that huge land rights flag over one shoulder, the one with the yellow map of Australia at its centre.
That remains my final memory of a leader whose struggles will live on through what he inspired in us all. Yaluritja Clarrie Isaacs, you will not be forgotten.
[Colleagues & friends are invited to attend the funeral service of Clarrie Isaacs (Yaluritja) (Mohamad) at Karrakatta Cemetery, Railway Road, Karrakatta on December 12 at 3pm. Donations in lieu of flowers to the Nyungah Patrol, 28 Lindsay Street, Perth 6000 would be appreciated. Tributes can be viewed and submitted to the web site <http://www.west.com.au/clarrie/>.
CLARRIE ISAACS An Upright Man
We look up.
Our flag flies
from the tip top
of the tallest pine tree,
high up in the blue air.
Our hearts sing with joy.
By what miracle is it there?
Our brave knight man, our upright man,
|Remembering Clarrie Issacs
My heart sunk at the news of Yaluritja's (Clarrie Issacs) death. It was a life too short, but so full.
His life was grounded in the Aboriginal community but managed to weave its way through the socialist left, trade unions, the Arabic community and so many others. It is a testament Clarrie that he was part of so many "mobs" and touched so many lives.
Clarrie's decades of struggle with life and politics would have worn down many and bread cynicism in others, but Clarrie's passion and sharp wit were unstoppable and his smile was infectious.
In the 1996 WA State elections Clarrie and I ran together for the "Racism No" ticket. The election was fought in the midst of Hanson hysteria, yet thanks to Clarrie it was one of the most enjoyable and memorable times of my life.
During the campaign I recieved one of our leaflets returned in the mail, it had been defaced with racist threats of violence. I told Clarrie about it - he put a reasurring hand on my shoulder and with his cheeky smile said, "mate, in this business you don't know that you're alive unless you get atleast two death threats a week!"
This was typical Clarrie. He didn't care about the odds, or about the personal consequences. He cared about fighting for his community, his ideals and for a better world.
I remember his passion, his strength but above all I remember his laughter. His life was an inspiration to us all and will never be forgotten.
Arun Pradhan, Northcote, Melbourne
I received the news of Clarries death with great sadness. In 1988 in
Libya I was assigned as a guide for Clarrie and Michael and Darlene
Mansell and other Aboriginal people from Australia and New Zealand.
My job was to show them Libya, let them meet Libyan culture and people.
I was saddened to hear of Clarrie's sudden death. He will be missed,
but I'm sure his spirit will live on in all protests against injustice.
I was privileged to have known and worked with him for many years, to
have been inspired by his passion and determination and to have been
entertained by his many stories.
Rubbing shoulders with Clarrie
You will be so sorely missed with your passion, vitality and
commitment to the struggle of your people and for justice everywhere
YALURITJA (Clarrie Issacs) is an inspiration to me. Firm in his opinions,
passionate in his beliefs and true to both. As I sit here in Melbourne
looking at his smiling photograph on the website, images and emotions
aplenty swarm over me. I'm sad for a life cut short yet happy that he
lived it to the full. I despair because so little has changed for the
better but exultant because I am fortunate to be one of the many many
people who have shared his life and the struggles that burned deep into
his heart. Images come to me of him climbing up the high high pine tree
on the Old Swan Brewery site to carefully tie the flag to its topmost
part during our years of picketing. Going across the water to Rottnest
Island to stop the Bond Corporation and State Government desecrate what
to many of us is a sacred war grave. Arriving on Cockatoo Island during
a long workers occupation and seeing him around the striker's campfire,
telling stories of struggle across the continent and around the world,
giving encouragement to a defeated workforce. Travelling with him along
dusty desert paths, opposing the exploitation of Aboriginal land and
the enviroment by mining companies and their governments. Watching his
anger as the W.A. BLF and their shop stewards, hand in glove with Australia's
richest construction company and a government led by the dregs of the
ALP broke our unions and the communities picket line; to be labelled
a scab by Clarrie Issacs is a shameful thing. Listening to his stories
of starving in a Jordanian jail before escaping with the Palestinians,
being wrongly arrested in Rome, travelling the Americas, the legendary
meeting with Ghadafi and many more. But most of all I feel very privileged
to have been his friend and comrade.
At the meeting of the Fremantle Greens on Monday we made a tribute
to Clarrie and all he stood for. We salute all his efforts and hard
work. He continues to be an inspiration to all of us. He will stand
head and shoulders above us all. I did not know him personally but have
certainly heard and seen him many times and sat next to him on several
occasions, exchanging a few words. I have to acknowledge his gentleness
and humility. We make recognition of to his wonderful personality.
I am shocked and very saddened by Clarries untimely death last
week. Clarrie was a wonderful person to know, and in my book the activists
activist. I will always remember Clarries brave and unshakeable
commitment to his people and to social justice and the environment.
This spirit he carried with him in his frequent visits to Libya and
to UN forums. Clarrie had a burning desire to see the Aboriginal Nation
come into being, and to link up with indigenous freedom fighters in
other parts of the world. He knew this was a tough call, with forces
of repression ever increasing in strength. But that only drove him to
advocate the cause more vigorously.
I am proud to have known Clarrie Isaacs for many years. Clarrie and Reihana Mohideen stayed with myself and my partner in Adelaide during the Justice Tour. I have since returned to Perth and spent some time talking to him recently during a family day to raise community awareness about the proposed mining of the Ludlow Forest. Clarrie has always been an inspiration to me and Im shocked at his death. This is a poem I wrote about Clarrie in Adelaide. I will miss him.
he is on a pilgrimage to Mecca
feasting with the king,
asleep in a palace in Malaysia
bargaining with the mafia,
at a conference in Rio
being fed, at last,
he is with the Indians in Dakota
3 soldiers to every 1 Indigenous person,
in Libya with Gadaffi
with thirteen alike,
in a prison in Jordan
in a refugee camp for a week,
sabotage developments at the brewery
fighting in the courts,
speaking about justice
opposing Hansons racism,
speaking out to help his people
an active activist,
he is a flag held high
red and black and yellow,
he is Yaluritja.
Ah-the wonders of life. May Clarrie's crossing with the Rainbow Serpent
liberate his energetic form to freedom.
|T-shirt design, 1989||
Yaluritja Clarrie Isaacs passes away
Yelaritja was also on the executive committee at the Aboriginal Advancement
Council where we raised $1.4million dollars to redevelop the old Nyungar
Centre at 201 beaufort Street Perth between 1992 and current. Yelaritja
was a founding member of the Nyungar Patrol Services in Northbridge
and was heavilly involved with this for the last 6 years, he was the
secretary and was very proud on the NPS as he was very active and represented
us at numerous meetings of Saferwa, City of Perth, DCD and of late was
the secretary for a period of 3 months at Dertbarl AMS.
FROM; Sharon Joy van den Haak
|Lifelong brother, friend activist. Would I have believed
that in February this year, when you drove Minnie & myself to Busselton
for the Noongar Land & Sea Council meeting that you would go the way
you have - peacefully in your sleep.
Our families grew up together in Perth, those were the days of Apartheid worse than South Africa - enforced Government Policy against the Indigenous people of Australia. Coolabaroo League Days - the only meeting place of Blacks & Whites socially, we were there as kids. The Soup Kitchen in Norbett St East Perth where Alan Bond visited us for a bowl of soup(he was a house painter in the area). From these experiences we became the so called Political Agitators/Activists. We were not afraid to be thrown in the "can".
Members of the Eureka Youth League a young Socialist organisation doing paste ups, usually at night, with our political statements all over Perth, on building sites, the higher we went the more challenging it got. One standing guard watching for police whilst the others with the glue tins.We were around 16yrs of age. May Day Marches and the Campaign For Nuclear Disarmament - marching from Fremantle to Perth at Easter time, we walked all the way with our banners.
Then came protests we were there, Charlie Courts Mining Bill, where Mingli & myself draped the Aboriginal Flag over the Public Gallery in Parliament House Perth & then threw toilet rolls over the balcony - a non-violent protest! Land Rights Marches. Not only did you fight for Aboriginal people but also for the rights of Workers through the Union Movement.
In February you told me all of the names of people throughout the world who had supported you. I thank all of those people for their kindness and support, they know who they are. You put Aboriginal issues on the world agenda at the United Nations Forum in Geneva & other places. You sometimes had to change the rules as you did not have a Secretary & wanted to deliver speeches the Aboriginal way, straight from the head & heart & from your life experiences.
I left Perth to live in Broome 22yrs ago but we still maintained contact. I will treasure the hand painted in Aboriginal Colours peace banner you gave me this year. Yes it has been used and featured in the Koori Mail at an Anti-war rally in Broome against the Howard Government's involvement in Iraq, the banner is big & stood out. Must have taken a long time to paint & decorate - you were an artist, time didn't matter as long as the job was finished.
It is a bit frightening that at our age we have all of the diseases of elderly non-Indigenous people, diabetes, kidney problems, high cholesterol & blood pressure and heart disease. You were very ill but did not let this impede you in any way, you were a fighter to the end.
With the deepest of sympathy to all of Clarries family especially his children & grandchildren, he did worry about drugs & other modern issues facing children today
May his strength continue on in all of us.
Rest in Peace Bro.
Phillipa, Kylie, Samantha, Bianca, Simon Cook
Uncle Bill, Aunty Frances, Charles & Stanley Ward
Broome Western Australia.
On Saturday 22nd just days before his passing Yaluritja was the special
guest speaker at a concert to honour the Ludlow Tuart Forest (proposed
to be mined). He came with us, a large group of the organisers, speakers
and performers to dinner and we all had a wonderful evening. Dr Chrissie
Sharpe our Upper House Member for the South West Greens who had invited
him, asked me if he could stay at my home that evening. My other guests
were Geoff Evans (the leader of the Save Lake Jasper from mining campaign)
and his partner Judy Linnett.
Goodbye Great Warrior
Great Warrior Goodbye until we meet again.
I met Clarrie here during the justice tour with Reihan Mohideen sponsored
by Green Left Weekly in the late nineties. He was great guy and and
a passionate advocate of the rights of his people. And he's dead...at
55! That tells us so much about how important his message still is.
I have been reviewing Clarrie's story on the Green Left website -- as
the search engine for Clarrie Isaacs carries heaps of material on the
many campaigns he was involved in. Now as a member of the Sopcialist
Alliance I am keen to say we will continue to fight for everything Clarrie
Isaacs stood for in his life.
I was living up the north coast of NSW when Clarrie went around Australia
on the Justice speaking tour, campaigning against Pauline Hanson. He
wasn't due to come near where we lived so I rang around a few local
activists and raised the money to fly him up by getting people to chip
in $50 each.
Documents by and about Yaluritja Clarrie Isaacs