Tiga Bayles – Land Rights network loses a leader and warrior

Tiga Bayles - Land Rights network loses a leader and warrior
18 April 2016

The Land Rights network in New South Wales mourns one of our great leaders and warriors, Tiga Bayles who passed away over the weekend.

Tiga, a Birri Gubba Gungalu man from Queensland arrived in Redfern in the late 1970s with a reputation as a hardened political activist.

He was involved in the Tent Embassy movement in Canberra and the fight for justice against the Bjelke-Petersen regime in Queensland.

Once in Sydney, he immersed himself in Land Rights, social justice and human rights and his talent for political organisation saw him emerge as a leader in New South Wales.

Tiga understood the need to convert protest and passion into political organisation. Self-determination was in Tiga's blood but he recognised the need for administrative structures to deliver the self-sufficiency that underpins the Land Rights network in New South Wales today.

Tiga stepped up to the challenge as Chair of NSWALC in 1987 and provided a strong foundation to weather the Greiner government's assault on Land Rights in the late 1980s.

As Chair, Tiga had a rich understanding of the Land Rights network and was as equally effective in boardrooms as he was on the ground listening to the membership.

Tiga could see the power of Land Rights to transform Aboriginal people's lives and as a leader and later a broadcaster continued to highlight the impact of those gains.

In Sydney and on his return to Brisbane, Tiga wasted no time establishing himself as a radio broadcaster and will be remembered as a loved and respected voice for Aboriginal Australia.

Tiga is a Land Rights legend and leaves a lasting legacy for today's leaders. As the current Chair of NSWALC, I wouldn't be able to enjoy this opportunity to lead the largest member-based Aboriginal organisation in Australia if not for Tiga's passion, skill and vision for our mob.

NSWALC and the Land Rights network is deeply saddened by Tiga's passing and our thoughts are with his family and friends.

Roy Ah-See, Chair, NSW Aboriginal Land Council