Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Mick Gooda has welcomed the State Government’s offer of a State Memorial Service to the family of the late Jimmy Little, which is expected to be held at the Opera House at the end of the month.
“I remember listening to him on the wireless growing up and being proud of the fact he was the first Aborigine to have a top-10 hit.
“He never lost sight of his roots and the power of song and entertainment to get messages to the people,” Mr Gooda said.
The Yorta Yorta and Yuin singer was inducted into the ARIA hall of Fame in 1999.
Little was later appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2004 and also appointed as a National Living Treasure.
His foundation, The Jimmy Little Foundation, which was set up to assist indigenous people with kidney disease, was an inaugural supporter of the Close the Gap Campaign and over the years Jimmy regularly lent his personal support to the campaign.
“He understood the challenges that confront our people and also knew that information was key to getting people on board to support the campaign and to lead healthier lives.”
“His work to make learning fun through the “Thumbs Up” good tucker programs to encourage kids to understand more about good food and exercise, will be a major part of his legacy.”
“Jimmy’s contribution to Australian cultural life which spanned over 50 years will live on forever as will his efforts in empowering our people to take control of their health,” Mr Gooda said.
Jimmy passed away at his home in Dubbo this week, after a long battle with illness, aged 75.
“We acknowledge the deep sadness for Frances, James and the rest of his family and community and wish them strength dealing with the tough times ahead.” said Mr Gooda.