NYOONGAR elder Patrick Hume has died.
A traditional custodian for the Swan River region who was committed to reconciliation and preserving Nyoongar culture, Mr Hume died May 20 and was buried earlier this month in Fremantle cemetery.
Cockburn mayor Logan Howlett paid tribute to Mr Hume for his lifetime of work, noting the pair had personally enjoyed a constructive relationship.
In 2012, Mr Hume testified before a federal court judge on the banks of Bibra Lake to prove his community’s continued traditional connection to the region. He had previously told the Herald that when he’d moved into Fremantle in the 1930s, he was one of only three Aboriginal people to live in the city.
The finding of the federal court paved the way for the current $1 billion native title agreement being negotiated between the Barnett government and the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council.
Mr Hume later spoke out against the deal, anxious about the requirement to extinguish native title in return for money and land. He was also outspoken about how wadjelas had mistreated the land, saying CY O’Connor’s destruction of the bar at the mouth of Swan River had made the river salty, driving away the Wagyl.
Mr Hume was the president of the Mandjah Boodjah Indigenous Seniors Community in Fremantle, where he’d lived until his death. He and his late wife Lorna were founding members of he Aboriginal Housing Board and Aboriginal Medical Board in Perth. They also managed the Aboriginal Advancement Council for a decade.
by EMMIE DOWLING