3 July, 2023
NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) and the Land Rights network mourn the passing of Elder Uncle Arthur George Fernando in Walgett.
Uncle George was involved in Land Rights for more than 40 years, and was a proud founding member of the Walgett Local Aboriginal Land Council (WLALC).
His commitment to the WLALC remained steadfast across the decades as a Board Member and Chairperson, as well as his continuing service as a Chairperson and Board member with many organisations.
Most recently, he was Chairperson of WLALC in August 2022 when their land claim for ten hectares of pristine bushland on the Namoi River was successful, an achievement that greatly pleased Uncle George and the WLALC membership.
Uncle George Fernando was born in Collarenebri, and was one of nine children. He and his family lived on Angledool mission until he was five years old, before relocating to Brewarrina and later, to Gingie Mission at Walgett.
His long-time partner Dulcie Dennis passed away in April 2023. Uncle George and Aunty Dulcie had 13 children, and were proud grandparents and great grandparents.
Uncle George was a storyteller by nature, and told many fascinating but often stark stories about his childhood, from the warmth and support of his large family and community, hunting bush tucker and nights spent under the stars, to their many flights into the bush to hide, before welfare officers arrived.
NSWALC North West Region Councillor Anne Dennis says she is immensely grateful to have known Uncle George Fernando for many years, and is proud of his legacy.
“I will miss Uncle George’s generosity and his decisiveness, and his steadfast commitment to his people. His passing is a big loss for our community, and his leadership will be deeply missed.
I would like to pass on from my family and the Land Rights Network, our condolences to his family at this very sad time,” Cr Dennis said.
The funeral service for Uncle George Fernando will be held at 11am Friday July 21, 2023 at St Mary’s Catholic Church, Arthur St, Walgett.