Passing of a Legend and Visionary

Media release

Passing of a Legend and Visionary

The Committee and staff of The Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation are deeply saddened by today’s passing of a truly great man Graham ‘Polly’ Farmer.

Known as one of this country’s greatest footballers, the Foundation is the other significant part of Polly’s legacy; a lasting gift to young Aboriginal people across Australia to enable them to dig deep and find the spark within themselves to fight for a future fulfilling their academic and career goals and dreams.

Graham ‘Polly’ Farmer was a visionary. He was one of the first people in Australia, if not the first, to use his legendary sporting standing to realise his dream of setting up a Foundation to provide opportunities for young Aboriginal people to make the most of their own skills in the academic arena. To do this he gave permission for his life story to be written by Steve Hawke in 1994 on the condition that the Foundation could come to fruition. The Hon Fred Chaney and Dr Ron Edwards picked up the baton and the journey began.

While other programs have come and gone, The Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation has gone from strength to strength over the past 25 years, by steadfastly implementing Polly’s vision and creating a space for young Aboriginal people across Australia to build their resilience, grow and succeed beyond all expectations.

Polly was quoted as saying, “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.”

Foundation President Robert French AC said that thanks to Polly’s vision, many Aboriginal students had graduated and gone on to be Australia’s lawyers, doctors, engineers, actors, mechanics, plumbers, designers and more, while hundreds more in WA and other states of Australia are currently being supported by the Foundation to realise their dreams. 

“The Committee members and staff at the Foundation are proud and privileged to carry on Polly’s vision and we thank him for his inspiration,” Mr French said.

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