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Wed, 11.01.1939

Lloyd McDermott, Aboriginal Athlete, and Lawyer born.

Lloyd McDermott

*Lloyd McDermott was born on this date in 1939. Also known as Mullenjaiwakka, he was an Aboriginal Australian lawyer and rugby union player.

Born in Eidsvold, Queensland, Lloyd Clive McDermott had links to the Mununjali clan and the Wakka Wakka people. Lloyd McDermott's academic and sporting prowess, the son of a farm laborer, won him a scholarship to attend the Anglican Church Grammar School at East Brisbane. An outstanding school athlete, he went on to play on the wing for the Australia national rugby union team, commonly known as the Wallabies. He was the first Australian Aboriginal barrister and the second Aboriginal person to represent his country in rugby union, playing for the Wallabies against the New Zealand All Blacks in 1962.

He refused to participate in a 1963 tour to South Africa, objecting to being classified by the host as an "honorary white" (the only basis on which he could compete against the all-white South African Springbok team under South Africa's apartheid regime). He returned briefly to rugby league, playing for the Wynnum Manly club in 1964. He was the second Aboriginal person to represent his country in rugby union, after Cec Ramalli.

Lloyd Clive McDermott became Australia's first Indigenous lawyer. After graduating in law, he worked in the Commonwealth Deputy Crown Solicitor's Office and as an attorney in New South Wales. McDermott also completed degrees in science and criminology from the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales. In later years, he practiced part-time, mainly in crime and appellate work. Also a part-time member of the Mental Health Tribunal of New South Wales, he was a trustee of the New South Wales Bar Association Indigenous Lawyers' Trust.

Throughout his career, McDermott gave time and energy to promoting opportunities for Indigenous youth, male and female, as the founder of the Lloyd McDermott Sports Foundation. In association with the Australian Sports Foundation, the Lloyd McDermott Rugby Development Team works with young people to achieve their dreams through development camps, educational scholarships, and mentoring. The team holds camps, training sessions, and competitions in association with the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence (NCIE). He also served as an Ambassador for the Indigenous Fund of the Brisbane Boys College.

McDermott had a single daughter, Phillipa McDermott. In 2009, the Bar Association of Queensland Annual Conference launched the Mullenjaiwakka Trust for Indigenous Legal Students in honor of McDermott. The Trust was established to assist Indigenous law students towards a career at the bar. In 2016, McDermott was a recipient of the Queensland Greats Awards. Lloyd Clive McDermott died on April 6, 2019.

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