A Yolngu elder involved in the Yirrkala bark petitions in the 1960s and more recently the Voice to Parliament has passed aged 74.

Gumatji leader Yunupingu spent his lifetime fighting for the interests of Aboriginal people.

Yunupingu’s interest in land rights started while working along side his father, the then Gumatj clan leader in the 1960s.

As a teenager, he helped create the first bark petition in 1963 which called for land rights and protested against bauxite mining on Yolgnu land near Nhulunbuy.

In the 70s, he joined the Northern Land Council and was a formidable negotiator in talking to mining companies, politicians and governments in protecting the interests of Aboriginal people.

More recently, he was a part of the Working Referendum Group on the Voice to Parliament.

A statement from the Gumatj Corporation said “Yunupingu held a vision of self-determination for Yolgnu people through employment and business development.”

They went on to say that they will miss him “not only as the head of the Gumatj clan or the chairman but as an outstanding leader and friend.”

Meanwhile, the Yothu Yindi Foundation said it was mourning ‘a giant of the nation.’

Image: Yothu Yindi Foundation