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Sol was a Bundjalung man born in 1950 in Mullumbimby, NSW and he passed away in 2017. Sol served his community in a social, political and legal capacity for many years. His activism and desire to serve the community began as a teenager when he moved to Redfern following the 1967 Referendum. Sol was the person who introduced then-Prime Minister Paul Keating onto the stage at Redfern Park in 1992, where Keating delivered his famous “Redfern Park” speech.

Sol held many different roles during his life. He was the Chairperson for the Aboriginal Medical Service, a Board Member of the South Sydney Rugby League Football Club, the Chairperson for Tranby Aboriginal College and the Redfern Aboriginal Authority.

He was also the Founding Chairperson of the Metropolitan Land Council and a founding member of the Aboriginal Medical Service, Aboriginal Legal Service and Aboriginal Housing Company. He was also a former Deputy Chair of ATSIC, a member for the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation and a Senior Manager in the NSW Department of Aboriginal Affairs.

Sol was awarded the Order of Australia (AO) in 1999 for services to the Aboriginal community, particularly in relation to the administration and development of health policies.

In the months before he passed, Sol was a delegate at the historic constitutional convention at Uluru, which resulted in the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

Sydney Elders -Sol Bellear
Portrait of Sol Bellear Image: Mervyn Bishop
© Australian Museum

Our Elders: Uncle Sol Bellear’s State Funeral
Uncle Solomon David “Sol” Bellear’s State Funeral was held at Redfern Oval in December 2017. A respected local Elder in the Sydney Aboriginal community, Sol Bellear was a Bundjalung health and land rights activist. His casket draped with a Rabbitohs scarf – the South Sydney Rabbitohs and Redfern All Blacks being his beloved rugby league teams. Image: Barbara McGrady
© Barbara McGrady