The passing of a tireless campaigner
DARKINJUNG, APRIL 7, 2011: The NSW land rights network mourned the passing of a true warrior for Aboriginal rights in February following the death of Uncle Jack Smith.
After a stint in the Department of Aboriginal Affairs in Inverell, Jacko moved to Sydney then onto the central coast following his passion for Aboriginal equality. And it was Jacko’s work on the coast that singlehandedly changed the direction of land rights in that region forever.
He worked relentlessly to enable the Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council to become one of the most successful in the history of NSW land rights.
Jacko wasn’t all work and no play though. He had an unwavering passion for the ‘working man’s game’. So much so, he became the team manager for the first Aboriginal rugby league side to tour New Zealand back in 1969, paving the way for the popular All Stars format we know and love today. And it was during that tour he developed some of his closest friendships and allegiances in Aboriginal affairs.
Uncle Jacko was a tireless advocate of Aboriginal rights in all their forms, and his lifetime of struggle is to be respected, celebrated and most importantly, never forgotten.