Civil rights activist, freedom rider Uncle Lyall Munro receives state funeral after life fighting racism

Uncle Lyall Munro Senior dedicated his entire life helping to improve the lives of Aboriginal people, and on Saturday he was honoured with a state funeral in Moree.

Hundreds of Lyall's family members came together at Burt Jovanovich Oval - the home of the Moree Boomerangs of which Lyall was a life member - to honour the life of the highly respected Gomeroi elder who sadly passed away in May.

Tributes flowed on the day from family members and friends, including his grandchildren, Pastor Uncle Ossie Cruse AM MBE, Michael Ghillar Anderson, Dick Estins, Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall and Moree mayor Katrina Humphries.

Lyall Munro Junior delivered the eulogy and talked about his father's efforts to fight for better housing, education and access to medical and legal services for his people.

"He was most famous for his arguments with almost anyone that stood in the way of the dream to bring about changes for the lives of our people," he said.

"Our family have inherited this title and our family will continue to take our part in the front line of the struggle for the rights of our people."

In addition to his achievements in fighting for rights for Aboriginal people, Lyall's family was always incredibly important for him.

"Dad loved his family, was very concerned about his family, was proud of his family and that's a big family," Mr Munro Junior said.

"He was proud of the efforts of his family and was proud of all those that were involved and had an influence in our lives."

Mr Marshall recognised Lyall's impact on Aboriginal lives in Australia, and in particular the Freedom Rides in the 1960s.

"Uncle Lyall's role in overturning the ban on Aboriginal children swimming in the then Moree swimming baths is legendary," he said.

"This was about so much more than kids of different colours being allowed to play together, it marked a watershed moment in local and national race relations and a small but significant step towards equality here and further afield."

"Lyall Senior was instrumental in the establishment of the Myall Creek Memorial Site," Mrs Humphries added.

"A site that now stands tall and proud to remind everyone of a tragic time in history and to acknowledge the massacre of 1838; a site where many locals, dignitaries and visitors alike show their respect annually."

Lyall is survived by nine children, 45 grandchildren, 122 great-grandchildren and 28 great-great grandchildren.



The funeral for Moree elder and champion of Indigenous rights Lyall Munro Senior, who passed away in May, starts at 10am on Saturday morning.

You can watch it on the link above.

Last week the state government announced it had signed off on the honour for a man who spent more than 50 years fighting racism.

The Gomeroi elder most famously took part in the successful 1965 battle to desegregate the Moree swimming pool during the freedom rides alongside Charlie Perkins.

About 300 direct decedents of Lyall will attend the funeral at Moree's Burt Jovanovich Oval.

Is is the home ground of Lyall Munro's beloved Moree Boomerangs football club of which he was a life member.

Uncle Lyall also helped create the NSW Aboriginal Legal Service, contributed to the 1991 The Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and lobbied for the creation of a museum to mark the Myall Creek Massacre outside Moree.

The funeral will be limited to immediate family only, and will be conducted according to strict social distancing rules.

A spokesperson for the state government said he leaves a profound legacy of achievements.