YESTERDAY we gathered to farewell one of our most inspirational indigenous leaders, to the haunting sounds of 10 didgeridoos and wind sweeping through the gumtrees at a sacred site.
It was a fitting tribute to Colin McKinnon-Dodd, a Yamatji elder, artist, art curator, educator, storyteller, mentor to countless young aboriginal people and tenacious advocate for human rights. He was, above all, a beautiful man.
More than 100 family members and close friends gathered at Westerfolds Park in Melbourne, at the hilltop site of Mia Mia Gallery, which Colin ran for many years.
Colin died of cancer at the too young age of 55, I had the privilege of knowing him for many years. Colin said Aboriginal history was full of sublime stories and he was one of the great storytellers.
He gently and lovingly took us to a deeper understanding of Aboriginal culture.
Colin’s Mia Mia, meaning shelter, became a home to Aboriginal artists, musicians, actors, dancers poets, story-tellers, sculptors, emu egg carvers, didgeridoo woomera
and boomerang makers. It was a magical place where “white fellers” like me were able to observe some of the finest indigenous artists at work.
I think Colin’s greatest gift was to inspire the many young people he mentored and taught. He was always there for other people.
I’ll miss his generosity, the long chats, his mischievous laugh and his beautiful spirit that became obvious to anyone who met him.