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16 October 2009
I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Wamud Namok AO, respected teacher, internationally renowned artist and one of Australia's great Indigenous leaders.
I was honoured to join Wamud Namok three weeks ago, to sit and talk with him as we celebrated the declaration of the Warddeken Indigenous Protected Area over his vast rock country in western Arnhem Land.
It was a deeply moving ceremony for us all, but especially for this frail old man who had worked so hard to bring his people back on country to care for their lands.
Wamud had a vision of healthy people on healthy country — Aboriginal people doing the job of looking after the land and doing so through productive and useful employment.
He was a truly great Australian who generously shared his exceptional knowledge of the land and its history with younger generations of his people; indeed with everyone he met.
I pass on my deepest sympathy to Wamud's family, the Manwurrk rangers and his wide circle of friends.