THE HON WARREN SNOWDON MP
Federal Member for Lingiari
15 November 2010
Member for Lingiari, Warren Snowdon, expressed his shock and sadness at the news that the highly esteemed Tiwi elder Mr Wonaeamirri passed away near Pirlangimpi yesterday.
“I have been privileged to know Mr Wonaeamirri for more than 30 years. He was a man of the utmost gentility who had a strong vision for Tiwi people,” Mr Snowdon said.
As a former Chairman of the Tiwi Land Council and currently Manager of the Land Council at his home community of Milikapiti, Mr Wonaeamirri worked tirelessly to inspire the Tiwi people to hold their culture and language strong whilst developing a modern policy of economic development.
“Mr Wonaeamirri correctly saw that the Tiwi’s ancient traditions could be partnered with developing the economic potential of his homeland. He was always looking outward whilst maintaining that the well-being of the Tiwi people had to be at the heart of any proposal for the Tiwi Islands,” said Mr Snowdon.
Mr Snowdon said Australian Rules Football and a huge extended family were at the centre of Mr Wonaeamirri ‘footie life’ on the islands.
“Mr Wonaeamirri saw football as a way to build teamwork and healthy lifestyles for Tiwi. He was vice-chairman of the groundbreaking Tiwi Bombers Football Club and his passion for football has been handed down through the next generation, with his son Austin established as a well known member of the Melbourne Demons Football Club,” he said.
“Renowned as a hunter, I was always amazed how Mr Wonaeamirri moved effortlessly from his traditional hunting grounds to the boardrooms of some of Australia’ largest corporations and football clubs.”
“I send my condolences to Mr Wonaeamirri wife and family and indeed the entire Tiwi community on this very sad occasion,” Mr Snowdon said.
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