Passing of David Gulpilil Ridjimiraril Dalaithngu, AM

Minister for Indigenous Australians

I was saddened to learn overnight that we have lost a giant of the screen, and a legend of the Yolŋu people, David Dalaithngu.

I offer my deepest condolences to his family.

Through his iconic roles, it would be fair to say David is the most recognisable Aboriginal man in the world. He took Aboriginal culture mainstream and global and, for this, his contribution to raising the profile of our people and Australia cannot be overstated.

The subtlety he brought to his characters epitomised perfectly how Aboriginal people felt in those moments. When he was in The Tracker, hunting one of our own, he brought a wry, subtle humour to a very painful and profound story for our people.

Personally, I’ve loved every one of his films and was also lucky enough to meet him a few times. I was struck by his modesty, his humility and that same, shrewd sense of humour he took to the screen.

In 2019, he was honoured with the NAIDOC Lifetime Achievement Award. In that acceptance speech, he asked for us to never forget him and I’m sure none of us will.

Vale David.

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