Vale Uncle Lester Bostock OAM

DPO Australia members pass on our condolences to family and friends of Uncle Lester Bostock OAM who passed away last week.

Uncle Lester Bostock OAM passed away peacefully last Thursday morning. Lester Bostock was a proud Bundjalung man and a leader of the Aboriginal disability movement and pioneer of Aboriginal film-making and media. He was a central figure of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Rights movement in the 1960s and 1970s.

Uncle Lester paved the way for many Aboriginal journalists and filmmakers. He was a founding member of Black Theatre and Metro Screen, and later Radio Redfern –  now Koori Radio. His was the first Aboriginal voice heard on SBS radio. A scholarship for Aboriginal filmmakers is named in his honour. Many Aboriginal filmmakers credit Uncle Lester Bostock as a mentor and trailblazer.

Uncle Lester was a driving force behind the Aboriginal disability rights movement. In 1991 Uncle Lester gave the Meares Oration where he raised the concept of intersectional discrimination in a paper titled ‘Access and equity for people with a double disadvantage’.

Uncle Lester was a founding member and long-serving Board Member of the First Peoples Disability Network, the national peak representative organisation of and for First People with disability. Damian Griffis CEO said: “Uncle Lester Bostock was always generous with his time and wisdom. Our organisation is forever indebted to him. He was a humble man whose achievements were many and varied. We mourn his loss and acknowledge all that he has done to improve the lives and opportunities of others. He leaves a lasting legacy. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.”

Uncle Lester received the Centenary Medal and the NSW Law and Justice Foundation Award for Aboriginal justice. He was the 2010 NAIDOC Elder of the Year and was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2011. Uncle Lester was awarded an honorary doctorate of Arts from the Australian Film, Television and Radio School in 2016.

In 2014 Uncle Lester Bostock said: “I have done so many things. My whole life has been reacting to needs. That was what it was all about: helping other people and creating change.”