30 April 1993

Leading Aboriginal barrister honoured

Aboriginal barrister Robert Bellear will receive an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from Macquarie University this morning.
The award is in recognition of his professional and personal commitment to the advancement of his people.
"I'm sort of a doer rather than one who goes on about what he's done,"Bellear said last night. "But I'll certainly accept the award. It's not a token gesture, and I feel I've probably earned it."
Born in Murwillumbah, the eldest of nine children, Bellear left school early to help support his family, working as a mechanical engineer.
He graduated from the Law School at the University of NSW and was admitted to the NSW Bar in 1979.
From 1979 to 1983 he was a member of the NSW Corrective Services Advisory Committee and was appointed Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody in 1987.
On behalf of the Northern Land Council he undertook a number of land rights cases for traditional owners.
Bellear co-founded the Aboriginal Housing Company in Redfern and worked as director of Redfern's Aboriginal Medical Service, Aboriginal Legal Service and Aboriginal Children's Service.
"It's the Year of Indigenous Peoples," he noted. "And people - both Aborigines and nonAborigines - have got to strive to educate each other in their respective cultures.
"While, slowly, there have been gains, Aborigines are still behind in education, health and housing to name just a few.
"But to gain a reasonable education, for example, one has to be mindful that kids have to go to school with a full stomach.
"Things are a lot better than they were 10 years ago, and multiculturalism has gone a long way towards bringing about equality.
"But I hasten to add there's still a long way to go."
Caption: Port: Bellear ... "sort of a doer".
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Publication: Sydney Morning Herald
Publication date: 29-4-1993
Edition: Late
Page no: 2
Section: News and Features
Length: 393
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First published in The Sydney Morning Herald

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