Bob Bellear’s life recognised

Australia’s first Indigenous judge to be appointed to the District Court of NSW grew up in Billinudgel.
Image of Bob’s portrait by Leo Fuller Quin supplied.

An inspirational Indigenous leader who grew up in the area has been immortalised, with the North Ocean Shores sportsfield being officially recognised as the Bob Bellear Sports Ground.

Council staff say the NSW Geographical Names Board approved the new name after it was put forward by Council.

Byron Shire mayor Simon Richardson said the board’s decision recognises Bellear’s contribution not only to the local area, but to the nation.

The mayor said Bellear was an accomplished rugby player who represented Mullum High School and the Australian Navy representative team.

‘Bob Bellear was an inspirational leader, establishing the Aboriginal Housing Company in Sydney in 1972 and was a director of the Aboriginal Medical Service and the Aboriginal Legal Service.

‘He was appointed Counsel Assisting to the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody in 1987 and was the first Aboriginal person to be appointed a judge to any court in Australia in 1996.’ 

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