A Legend Passes
Statement of Condolence from Stephen Ryan, Chairman NSW Aboriginal Land Council
Friday December 2, 2011
Arthur Henry Beetson was a man of enormous knowledge. He was a strong family man, and he had remarkable talent in all areas of life, but particularly in rugby league.
Artie was a Queenslander, which meant that come State of Origin time our job down south was to hold that against him. But in Artie's case he was a man of such substance that he earned respect on both sides of the border. That is no mean feat.
Artie was, quite literally, a legend in the eyes of the Rugby League community. But he was even more than that to the Aboriginal community.
Aboriginal people obviously admired the extraordinary achievements in Artie's life, but our affection for him ran much deeper than his performance on the field. He spoke up for his people across all areas of society, and that won him the respect and admiration of his countrymen and women around the nation.
He will be deeply missed, but his legend will live on through his contribution to rugby league, and his broader contribution to the Australian community.
Artie had a lot mob in NSW. If Queensland don't give him a state funeral then we'll give him one down here.