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On the recent passing of Mr Illaga

Posted: Fri, August 14, 2015

Mr Illaga

THE Northern Land Council is deeply saddened by the news of the passing of another senior custodian of Aboriginal law and culture, Mr Illaga, who this week passed away at his home at Minyerri (Hodgson Downs).

Mr Illaga served on the Full Council of the Northern Land Council from 1995 to 2004. But this time is but a small indicator of the long and valuable leadership that he provided to his family, his clan and language groups and to the Northern Land Council for much of his life.

Mr Illaga was born at Hodgson Downs Station in January 1938 and was a Bardi Bardi man through his father, Tommy Yananyinginu. His mother was Ruby Mekun, an Alawa woman.

Mr Illaga grew up on Hodgson Downs Station where his father was head stockman and he later worked as a drover on Hodgson Downs, Roper Valley, Elsey and Maryfield stations.

From an early age he spent long periods walking through his country with his family who showed him the special sites and taught him to sing the songs and know the law for that country.

Mr Illaga has been a respected and well-sought after painter since the late 1980s and his work has been widely exhibited since 1989, when he held his first exhibition at the Alcaston Gallery in Melbourne. He has held many solo and group exhibitions since that time and his work is held in many prominent museums and public collections, including at least nine works held by the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.

Mr Illaga will be sadly missed by all staff and members of the Northern Land Council and his many friends and family members across the Northern Territory.

*Mr Illaga's family has approved the use of his image