State honour for notable south-west aborigines

MEMBERS of the south-west indigenous community are strongly represented in this year’s Victorian Aboriginal Honour Roll.

Three of this year’s 14 inductions were from the south-west — with one induction involving five Lovett brothers from Lake Condah.

Premier Denis Napthine and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Jeanette Powell attended yesterday’s announcement and acknowledged the lasting contributions of the inductees to society. 

Dr Napthine said the Victorian Indigenous Honour Roll was the only one of its kind in Australia and an important part of reconciliation. 

“I am proud to have the honour roll permanently displayed in Victoria’s Parliament House as a reminder of the accomplishments of Aboriginal Victorians,” Dr Napthine said. 

Among those from the south-west inducted was the late Herbert “Jock” Austin.

Born in Framlingham, Jock Austin was a driving force in promoting Aboriginal sport in Victoria. 

A talented boxer and footballer, he was a great advocate of health and fitness for Aboriginal youth and established the Fitzroy Stars Aboriginal Youth Gymnasium. 

Mr Austin had a long association with the Fitzroy Stars Football Club and was the driving force behind the club’s revival in the 1980s.

He was also an important community leader and contributed to organisations such as the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service and the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency. 

Also inducted were the Lovett brothers of Lake Condah, who have a proud military tradition.

The five brothers — Alfred, Leonard, Edward, Herbert and Frederick — all fought with the Australian Imperial Forces on the Western Front in the First World War.

All five returned home safely and four went on to serve again in the Second World War. 

A historian at Britain’s Imperial War Museum said he knew of no other record of military service by a single family that matched that of the Lovetts. A Canberra office building has been renamed Lovett Tower in the family’s honour. 

The Lovett brothers are the first family group to be inducted to the Victorian Indigenous Honour Roll. 

Also honoured was Gunditjmara elder Laura Bell. 

Born in Portland, Aunty Laura Bell is an influential and passionate educator, community leader and cultural advocate. 

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