Friday, 14 June 2013

Tall Man Short Man

I recently read 'Tall Man" by Chloe Hooper, a great account of the madness which engulfed Palm Island a few years ago. Seargant Hurley, the local policeman at the centre of the incident, is the centre of this book which is well worth a read. It doesn't pick sides but gives an engaging account of the facts as far as can be ascertained.

The Palm Island situation was quintessential Qld but happening so far away on Palm Island in far north Queensland. A lifetime away from life in Brisbane. But, its true, happenings in the deep north do carry an added weight for we who live here. I recently learnt that one of the main Indigenous figures associated with South Brisbane (my home) was born on Palm Island. Pastor Don Brady.

Pastor Brady became a leader in the local Brisbane community and the first indigenous minister to be ordained into the Uniting Church. He ministered with his hands in various forms, having spent some of his early years as a boxer in a touring tent show. He dealt with recalcitrant drunks in a direct and probably unacceptable way by todays standards, but his ways were always informed by compassion and care.

He was defrocked later in his ministering career when he became too "active" in the community for the Church to deal with. When he died he was hailed as a Martin Luther King figure.

Here's an excerpt from his biography. Follow the link for the full text.

"Brady died on 27 January 1984 in South Brisbane and was buried with Uniting Church forms at Mount Gravatt Cemetery. More than 500 people gathered at Musgrave Park to mourn his passing. Praising his leadership, Rev Charles Harris described him as 'The Martin Luthor King of the Aboriginal race.' His peers hailed him as a civil rights advocate who gave Aboriginal people a sense of pride and taught them to fight for their rights."

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