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Deeral, Eric

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Birth Date: 23 August 1932 (Hope Vale, Queensland, Australia)

Death Date: 5 September 2012

Parents: Fred Deeral and Lilly (nee Bedford)

Family: Katie John on 22 December 1956, 3 sons, 4 daughters

Education: Woorabinda Central School

Religion: Lutheran


Labourer and cattle station hand; Consultant to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Nr Neville Hewitt, 1973; Liaison Officer, Aboriginal Affairs Department, North Queensland, 1960 to 1973; Chairman, Hope Vale Mission Community Council, 1957 to 1970

Party Positions:

  1. (NP) Member of the following Government Party Committees: Forestry, National Parks and Wildlife Service; Health; Education and Cultural Activities; Aboriginal and Islanders Advancement and Fisheries

Official Awards: Under the auspices of the Australian of the Year Awards he was awarded Queensland Regional Local Hero in 2005

Parliamentary Representation:

House Party Electorate From To Elected/Departure Reason
Assembly NP Cook 7 Dec 1974 12 Nov 1977

Additional Information

Notes: Interests include fishing, swimming and football. Eric Deeral was the first Aboriginal in Australia to be elected to a state parliament. Member, Wet Tropics Management Authority Board, from 1998 to 2003. Interim Chair, Yalanji Ang-narra Yimidihirr People's Council, from July 2002. Representative, Queensland Aboriginal Coordination Council, 1988. Member, Queensland delegation to the World Heritage Organisation in Paris, 1988. He worked in the area of land rights. Chairman, Legislation Review Committee which reviewed Queensland legislation impacting on Aboriginal land rights during the early 1990s. In Oct 1995 a grant of $80,000 was made to Eric Deeral to report on the positive role elders could play in reducing the number of Aboriginal people in Queensland prisons and youth detention centres. He was involved in Aboriginal justice issues as an elder of the Gamay clan of the Guugu Yimithirr nation

Sources: Image sourced from the collection of the Queensland Parliamentary Library and Research Service.; Waterson, DB and John Arnold, A Biographical Register of the Queensland Parliament: 1930-1980, (Canberra: ANU Press, 1982); Australian, 'First Aboriginal in Qld Parliament', 23 December 1974

[Last Modified: Wednesday, 8 November 2017]