Jeff Timor talks to Mackay Probus Group about his community involvement over the past 50 years.
Jeff Timor talks to Mackay Probus Group about his community involvement over the past 50 years. Lucy Martin

Devoting 50 years to campaigning indigenous issues

JEFF Timor isn't shy, the musician, campaigner and volunteer is happy to provide a voice to people who need help. Especially when it comes to issues related to indigenous, Torres Strait and South Sea Islander people.

This year Mr Timor celebrates 50 years of working within the Mackay community and Naidoc week is the perfect time to mark his milestone.

Many people know MrTimor by his initials JT. Over the years he has volunteered as a radio announcer, a singer, acted in various roles on indigenous groups and committees and provided support and advice as a trusted elder.

He said one of his proudest achievements was being named Naidoc Elder of the Year in Mackay in 2011.

In 2009 he was also inducted into the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council Hall of Fame.

QAIHC is the peak body representing the Community Controlled Health Sector in Queensland at both a state and national level. MrTimor was recognised for his significant contribution to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service for more than 30 years.

In 1990 Mr Timor and representatives from other Aboriginal medical services in Queensland worked together to form a state peak body. The meeting took place in Mackay where he and the late Joan Sedan got people together to form a quorum. Within three days the meeting had formed the peak body.

Jeff Timor
Jeff Timor Peter Holt

Now 71, Mr Timor admits he is slowing down but is proud of how indigenous and Torres Strait Islander organisations are growing in the Mackay area.

He is particularly proud of the what the Mackay Naidoc Committee 2019 has achieved in the planning of this year's Naidoc celebrations. He said the week provided a time to focus on one of the many issues surrounding indigenous and Torres Strait Islander people.

Mr Timor grew up at Bakers Creek, within a large family of 23 children. Born in Townsville he relocated to Mackay as a baby and was raised with three cultures, Torres Strait, South Sea and Malaysian.

He was taught cultural ceremonies and enjoyed cricket and tennis at school.

During the 1960s he worked on the railways in Western Australia.

"It was hot work, but you just did it... The comradeship was good,” he said

Later he worked for Queensland Rail for 33 years, mostly as a driver/fireman on the Goonyella line.

Historic: 1965: DOWNTIME: This photo was taken when Jeff Timor, right, first arrived in the remote workcamp near Tom Price to work on the construction of railways. The men created their own music with guitars and ukeles on weekends. From left are Mr Levi,
Historic: 1965: DOWNTIME: This photo was taken when Jeff Timor, right, first arrived in the remote workcamp near Tom Price to work on the construction of railways. The men created their own music with guitars and ukeles on weekends. From left are Mr Levi, "Saki" and Reggie Sailor.

He retired in 2000 and volunteered in the community. He has become well known at aged care homes for his musical performances.

Mr Timor was a founder of the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council and the Queensland ATSI Health Workers Education Program.

He's also been involved with the ATSI Legal Service, the Mackay Coloured Co-op Housing, the Mackay Naidoc committee, both the Sarina All Blacks and Queensland Railway Institute dart clubs and the Mackay All Blacks Sports Club.



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