Dr Alf Bamblett

It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the passing of Dr Alf Bamblett.

A proud Yorta Yorta, Bangerang and Wiradjuri man, Uncle Alf will be remembered as a pioneer and committed Leader and Elder of the Victorian Aboriginal community.

Uncle Alf grew up on an Aboriginal reserve outside of Leeton, New South Wales. He would go on to work as a fruit picker, a plasterer and a touring boxer before finding his home in Fitzroy.

Angered by the prejudice and poverty he saw there, Uncle Alf’s determination to end the divide between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people was galvanised.

Uncle Alf was instrumental in the establishment of the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service, as well as a valued member of the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Incorporated and the Victorian Aboriginal Community Services Association Ltd.

Uncle Alf was also a keen musician and recognising that there were few social venues accepting of Aboriginal people, he began the fortnightly social nights at the John Curtin Hotel.

Uncle Alf continued his fight for justice as the Victorian Commissioner of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC), serving from 1991 to 1995. In that role, Uncle Alf was influential in ensuring real and sustained change following the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.

Uncle Alf was named Victorian Aboriginal of the Year by NAIDOC in 1994 and he was inducted to the Victorian Indigenous Honour Roll in 2011.

Demonstrating his lifelong commitment, Uncle Alf continued his work as President of the Aborigines Advancement League, as Chair of the Victorian Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee and as President of the Fitzroy Stars Football and Netball Club.

The Victorian Government offers Uncle Alf’s family and friends our deepest sympathies. His legacy in fighting injustice will endure and his dedication to achieving equality will not be forgotten.