Graham Mooney leaves behind an important legacy
A GUARD of honour was formed for Graham James Mooney as family and friends gathered to reflect on his remarkable life.
The “uncle of many” was born in Mackay on March 3, 1949. As a young adult, he moved to Brisbane and later Sydney, where he lived for 47 years.
He died on January 14 and was farewelled at a funeral service three days later, on January 17, at St Mary’s Church, Erskineville, Sydney.
Mr Mooney’s ashes will be brought back to Mackay next month and scattered on February 23.
Tributes for “Uncle Graham” said he lived a life full of laughter and ambition and was one of a kind.
He was described as a proud Australian South Sea Islander/Yuwibara man who dedicated his life to social justice for ASSI/First Nations peoples.
“Uncle played a key role in establishing the political lobby group ASSI-Port Jackson which led to a strong national profile of recognition for the descendants of blackbirded families,” Emelda Davis, chairwoman of the Australian South Sea Islanders Port Jackson, said.
He was a leader, an ambassador and a fatherly figure to many. He was a spiritual man, practising meditation as a member of the Brahma Kamari community.
His niece, Madeline Jones, described him as the life of the party, saying his smile and laugh could light up a room.
Ms Jones said her uncle would leave behind an important legacy, having fought for the native title since 2011, from his lounge room, from his bed, from the hospital.
“He was our CEO for our Yuwibara claim, he was determined, he was staunch, he wasn’t letting it get away,” she said.
“Our determination is being handed down on February 25 and Uncle will be with us, as native title holders, custodians for our land.”