Eulogy for a Black Man

We offer our condolences to Auntie Cath, Sam Watson’s son and daughter, Sam Wagan Watson and Nicole Watson, to the Watson family and all his relatives, friends and to the aboriginal community generally for our great loss.

Paradigm Shift 4ZZZ fm 102.1 29 Nov 2019 Friday at Noon.

Sam Watson 1952 – 2019

Tribute to Sam Watson

the very first Australians around
the very first people to be down
and why we fight, is to be recognised
only to be failed by your blind eyes
yes, only to be failed by your blind eyes

– Brisbane Blacks by Mop and the Dropouts

It is true that Sam Watson was the leader of the Brisbane Blacks like Pastor
Don Brady was before him. Aunty Kath Walker, Oodgeroo, had a great influence on Sam as she did on many others, myself included. And of course Sam Watson Senior, his father and his grandfather all share the same name. The Watson family is a strong very talented clan, Uncle Ross Watson set up Murri Radio at 4ZZZ and then Tiga Bayles obtained a licence for 98.9FM.

Over time Sam became more than the voice of Brisbane Blacks. There are very few like him. Sam was confident of who he was and where he was from. He was grounded in this place, something that made him easy to relate to. This gave Sam confidence to know and understand others. In a few words he could sum people up, in a kind way, never disparaging. This, combined with his sense of humour, made Sam very easy to like.

Sam told me a story once about an accident at railway bridge near where I
live. He asked me if I had heard of the time that a lorry that was too high had run into the bridge, wedging itself firmly underneath the railway sleepers. Queensland Rail brought out all their best engineers to work out how to extract the big semi without damaging the bridge. This was important because the line above the road carried commuters home from the city and grain and goods to the port of Brisbane. The experts were scratching their heads, until, Sam said, a blackfella walking by said: “let down the truck’s tyres and then you’ll be able to tow it out from under the bridge.”

Now that’s Blackfella ingenuity, Sam said.

There’s a lot of reasons to criticise our generation (of activists), but Sam Watson wasn’t one of them.

Ian Curr
29 Nov 2019.

Robert Wharton – River of Life
Brisbane Blacks – Mop and the Dropouts
Janice Joplin – Mercedes Benz
Kev Carmody – Eulogy for a Black Man & River of Tears

Sam Watson speaking at UQ Union Forum 25 Feb 2019
Sam Watson gives welcome in King George Square at Muslim Lives Matter rally after Christchurch mass murder
Sam Watson speaks at parliament against kids incarcerated in watchouses
Sam Watson’s grandson speaks out for Mapuche, West Papuans and Palestinians.

Please Note
** Sam Watson’s funeral will be held at 11am on Friday 6th December at Musgrave Park, Brisbane. Sam’s family welcomes all to attend.**

2 responses to “Eulogy for a Black Man

  1. For those who haven’t heard, I wanted to share the news that the public funeral for Uncle Sam Watson will be held this Friday, 6 December in Musgrave Park at 11am.

    You can view my statement and the family’s statement about Uncle Sam’s passing at this link.

    Everyone is welcome to attend and pay their respects. (Please avoid driving if possible, and travel by public or active transport if you can)

    I’m also pleased to be able to confirm that many of the city’s bridges and major landmarks will be lit up red, black and yellow (the colours of the Aboriginal flag) as a mark of respect to this great man.

    Jonathan Sri
    Councillor for the Gabba Ward


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