Sol Bellear AM To Be Laid To Rest Saturday At State Funeral In Redfern


Sol Bellear AM, one of the nation’s most respected Aboriginal activists and an icon of the land rights movement, will be laid to rest at a state funeral in Sydney on Saturday.

A Bundjalung man born in Mullumbimby, Mr Bellear was a founding member of the Aboriginal Medical Service Redfern, and served in a voluntary capacity on the board for more than 45 years.

He was also involved in the early days of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, was a founding member of the Aboriginal Legal Service, and a Deputy Commissioner of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, among a host of other appointments and honours.

Throughout his life, Mr Bellear was also renowned for his leadership around Aboriginal land rights in Australia, and he worked as an adviser to the NSW Aboriginal Land Council for the past decade.

Mr Bellear passed away at his home in Redfern last week. He was aged 66.

He will be laid to rest on Saturday, December 9 at a state funeral at 11am, at Redfern Oval.

The NSW Aboriginal Land Council is also organising ‘Sol’s last march’ – one final land rights protest, which will depart at 10am from the AMS Redfern (in Redfern Street) and proceed to Redfern Oval.

Mr Bellear was a close friend, subscriber and strong supporter of New Matilda. We’ll bring you coverage of his state funeral service over the weekend.

Mr Bellear’s family have asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Aboriginal Medical Service, Redfern via reception, on 02 9319 5823. Donations over $2 are tax deductible.

Chris Graham is the publisher and editor of New Matilda. He is the former founding managing editor of the National Indigenous Times and Tracker magazine. In more than three decades of journalism he's had his home and office raided by the Australian Federal Police; he's been arrested and briefly jailed in Israel; he's reported from a swag in Outback Australia on and off for years. Chris has worked across multiple mediums including print, radio and film. His proudest achievement is serving as an Associate producer on John Pilger's 2013 film Utopia. He's also won a few journalism awards along the way in both the US and Australia, including a Walkley Award, a Walkley High Commendation and two Human Rights Awards. Since late 2021, Chris has been battling various serious heart and lung conditions. He's begun the process of quietly planning a "gentle exit" after "tying up a few loose ends" in 2024 and 2025. So watch this space.