Statement by Kimberley Agriculture and Pastoral Company and KRED Enterprise Charitable Trust.
On behalf of our members, directors and staff we would like to pay tribute to Ningali Lawford-Wolf.
There are few people you meet in life that move beyond being a role model or a leader and become a person of inspiration. A person with the attributes and character that you would be proud to have your son or daughter display.
Ningali Lawford-Wolf is one of those rare people.
A strong woman, strong in her culture and strong in herself, standing for justice for her people.
She was an actor, entertainer, mother, grandmother, sister, wife, daughter, mentor, spokesperson and business woman who broke down barriers and represented Aboriginal people as smart, creative people that can rise to the challenges that life presents.
She was also serious and smart.
Born at Christmas Creek, Ningali grew up not speaking English but she understood her country. She was a strong believer in working to bring all Aboriginal people together with a common purpose, for the good of us all. She understood that to make changes for the better we all need to contribute, and that we cannot rely on government to solve our problems - we must address these ourselves.
Through her acting and through her relationships around the world she raised the profile of Aboriginal people. In the Kimberley she dedicated herself to improving the lives of this generation and those that will follow.
She wanted to honour her brother’s vision for Bohemia Downs, to return Aboriginal people to the centre of the pastoral industry, to re-establish jobs, training and dignity.
Ningali was also a realist.
She knew one person could not achieve the outcomes required and that we all need to do some heavy lifting. She knew it would not be an easy task and it would take a long term commitment, a commitment she readily made. She also recognised that one station was not enough in the modern pastoral world.
As a Director of KAPCO she pursued her dream of seeing Aboriginal Pastoral workers on Aboriginal Pastoral Stations become the backbone of the regional economy. She began to realise the dream of developing her traditional land on Bohemia station, as part of KAPCO Group of properties, seeing young people getting jobs, being trained and gaining a stronger connection to their country.
Ningali took up the challenge of being a “black fella” and became an inspiration to a generation. Never faltering in her commitment - from the day she led the protest to bring attention to her people being locked out of their country by the station owner until the day she died, on foreign soil, educating the world about our story.
She believed we need to create hope and opportunity, and take responsibility ourselves for making this difference.
We stand proud. We will strive to create hope in her honour and will continue to miss Ningali dearly.