Lloyd McDermott Tribute

11 April, 2019

11 April 2019

Tribute to Lloyd McDermott

NSWALC and the Land Rights network mourn the passing of Rugby Union great Lloyd McDermott.

He was pioneer in both his sporting and professional careers, living an extraordinary life full of adventure and achievement.

A Waka Waka and Mununjali man from Central Queensland, McDermott was the second Indigenous Wallaby, playing two test matches against the All Blacks in 1962.

He also played 10 matches for Queensland against NSW and touring International sides such as France and Fiji.

A talented sprinter in his youth, McDermott was a flying winger renowned for his swerving runs.

He also played rugby league in Brisbane before retiring and pursuing a legal career in Canberra and Sydney.

NSWALC Chair Cr. Roy Ah-See praised McDermott’s considerable achievements on and off the sporting field.

“Uncle Lloyd was a principled man who made a stand against racism by refusing to tour to South Africa in 1963 at the height of the Apartheid era,” Cr. Ah-See said.

“And beyond the rugby field, he was the first Aboriginal barrister and a noted philanthropist.”

“On behalf of the Land Rights network, I send my deepest condolences to Uncle Lloyd’s family and friends.”

After completing a law degree at the University of Queensland and the University of NSW, McDermott also gained qualifications in science and criminology.

He worked at the Commonwealth Deputy Crown Solicitor’s Office, Canberra, before being admitted to the NSW Bar where he acted in criminal cases.

A strong supporter of Indigenous youth, he founded the Lloyd McDermott Rugby Development Team in 1991.

Wallabies legend Gary Ella commented on McDermott’s work in promoting opportunities for young Aboriginal people in sport.

“The Lloyd McDermott Rugby Development Team’s objectives are based on Lloyd’s leadership of creating education and opportunities for young people and supporting them to make positive lifestyle decisions,” Mr Ella said.

“Lloyd’s work has positively influenced thousands of young Indigenous people around Australia.”

In association with the Australian Sports Commission and the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence, the Development Team offer scholarships, mentoring and training camps for promising young rugby players.

Opportunities for young players include the Ella 7s tournament held each year in Coffs Harbour, an event which NSWALC has proudly supported.

The funeral of Lloyd McDermott will be held on 16 April 2019.


We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners of the lands where we work as well as across the lands we travel through. We also acknowledge our Elders past, present and emerging.

Artwork Credit: Craig Cromelin, from a painting he did titled, "4 favourite fishing holes". It is a snippet of his growing years on the Lachlan River, featuring yabby, turtle, fish and family.