Newman Graham Polly Farmer Foundation students pay tribute to the passing of a legend.
Gone but not forgotten 1935-2019.
Graham Polly Farmer, founder of Polly Farmer Foundation with the well known “Follow The Dream Program” passed away this week aged 84yrs. The foundation operates across WA schools, Creating life changing opportunities, supporting and offering experiences for Aboriginal students.
“Education is the key for Aboriginal people to take their rightful place in modern Australian society. Unless we rectify the imbalance in opportunities currently available, young Aboriginal people will continue to be frustrated and unable to develop their talents to make their rightful contribution to the economy and society….and we will all be poorer for that.” Graham ‘Polly’ Farmer
Farmer was born in Fremantle’s 1935 depression time, during the height of Neville’s “breed out the black” policy which notoriously marked the stolen generation. Graham Farmer grew up in Sister Kate’s home for light skinned Aboriginal children. Despite him stating "I was the son of an unmarried part-Aboriginal. And I don't know the reasons why I was put in there". He is known to speak well of Sister Kate’s.
A chatty child, he claimed the nick name ‘Polly’, said affectingly to be like a chatty chirpy parrot.
Perhaps Farmer’s heart was forged in early years. His desire to see Aboriginal children grow and excel, able to “Follow their Dreams”. He believed education was a key to this.
An outstanding WA footballer. Farmer paved the way for many Aboriginal people, an inspiration to West Australians. Farmer achieved notably in football. His origins in football taking aim at the local East Fremantle Football club in the 1950s, extending across three decades into the 1970s.
In the late 90s a freeway in Perth was named after him, The Graham Farmer Freeway.
Today thanks to the heart and determination of this man, his legacy lives on in the many who benefit across WA, from the Graham Polly Farmer Foundation.
In Newman the after school program visits Martu Farm weekly. Today the sad news of Mr Farmer’s passing brought a special response. The student’s learnt more about this special man, his history, his skills, and significantly, his dream for kids to connect with education so they too can follow their dreams. The students talked about what they enjoyed about being a part of this program. Some have been getting support from The Polly Farmer Foundation in Newman for many years. In tribute to his passing the Polly Farmer team planted a tree.
"Hundreds of native Yindjibarndi plants have been transported from Kings Park to the Pilbara as part of the Wanggalili Project. 🌱🌱🌱
We’re working with partners including Juluwarlu Group Aboriginal Corporation, Kings Park and Botanic Garden, BBI Group, Yurra and the Pilbara Development Commission to unlock the commercial potential of native Yindjibarndi plants with the aim of creating a commercially viable, sustainable horticulture business.
Staff from the WA Seed Technology Centre have collected seed from seven trial species - Bajila (Caper Bush), Gayawayi (Wild Orange/Mango), Jirrwirliny (Split Jack), Wajurra (Native Pear), Tharburi (Sandpaper Fig), Winyarrangu (Rock Fig) and Burdardu (Northern Sandalwood) - that have been propagated at Kings Park Nursery during the past eight months.
Nearly 400 seedlings will be grown out, monitored then sown on country in coming months with the aim of local Aboriginal people cultivating and harvesting the plants for manufacture into products for sale, if the trial is successful. 👍"
People were invited to learn more about indigenous culture and the creative process with a day filled with Boomerang and face painting, art markets, dance and live music by Jokeria at Cossack over the weekend. Have a look, the day was an amazing showcase of artists and like minded people celebrating in what makes the Pilbara an amazing place!