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How many Paralympics have I been to? I’ve played in 5. My passport back in 1960 was an honorary English passport. They could tell you how many sheep there were in Australia, they could tell you how many cattle. Yet they couldn’t tell you how many Aboriginals there were, because we weren’t allowed to vote. We didn’t get our rights till 1967 and that’s a fact. Kevin Coombs OAM. Wotjobaluk Elder

Photography by Belinda Mason.

Kevin belongs to the Wotjobaluk people of Victoria. Because of his representation for Australia in the Paralympics and his general demeanour he was accepted into the basketball hall of fame. And I think this is a great honour for not only Kevin, but for our Aboriginal people, and I think that it is well deserved. All states had different laws in regard to Aboriginal rights. Most

states had what we call an exemption that Aboriginal people had to apply for to be accepted into the white community. The laws of Australia said that Aborigines should be treated differently, and Kevin had been fighting for Aboriginal rights, particularly because of his sporting ability. He is a quiet success in the fight for Aboriginal people to be part of mainstream society.

John Moriarty AM

Yanuwa people

Chairman and Co-founder, Jumbana Group.