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Byron Shire
March 9, 2021

Vale Digby Moran – a sad loss to community and Country

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Artist Digby Moran (left) with Richard Clarke and their beautiful sand sculpture at City Hall in 2017. Photo Tree Faerie.

David Lowe

Sad news today of the sudden death of much loved Bundjalung man and artist Albert (Digby) Moran at the age of 71.

A message on Facebook from his partner Kerry said ‘I am deeply saddened to inform you all that Digby passed away suddenly yesterday. We are all devastated. He is loved by so many people and will be sorely missed. Thank you all for supporting him, he received great pleasure from reading your comments.’

Digby Moran’s ‘Geckos’.

Born in Ballina, Digby’s mother was a Bundjalung woman and his father Dunghutti. He spent his formative years in the community of Cabbage Tree Island, later working as a cane cutter and as a boxer with Jimmy Sharman’s troupe.

Digby began painting seriously in 1991, after doing an art course at TAFE.

He once said, ‘Painting gives me great pleasure and brings me peace. It is a way for me to tell the stories that were told to me by my grandparents and elders when I was growing up.’

His art work quickly brought him acclaim in the Northern Rivers and far beyond, with solo shows and major prizes in Australia and Europe.

Despite his fame, Digby remaining firmly connected to his own country. ‘You’ll never catch me painting things like barramundi or crocodiles,’ he said. ‘Water is a big part of all Bundjalung Dreaming. I have always been a saltwater man.’

Film-maker Karenza Ebejer, who recently filmed Digby for a documentary accompanying his solo show at the Lismore Regional Gallery, said today she was so sorry to hear of the passing of a great artist, Uncle Digby, who shared his life spirit with us through his canvas. ‘My life is richer for having met him and hearing his story.’

Digby leaves behind three daughters, a son and many much-loved grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

The Northern Rivers community will not be the same without him.




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  1. Such a loss we are so glad we spent time recently both Lismore and Murwillumbah galleries.
    He brought great joy. Donated a wonderful painting to the chemotherapy waiting room at Lismore Base hospital. We loved to see it when Mungo was having treatment there. Red Ant Dreaming.

  2. A huge loss. His work has given us enormous pleasure over the years .. we bought a few minor pieces and should have bought many more. In particular, while waiting for treatment for cancer at Lismore base his great work was a genuine comfort –confirmation that life was worth living. Vale indeed. Mungo

  3. A humble spiritual man with massive amounts of knowledge and talent. A caring and empathic precious being that will be sadly missed. A great mentor and support for many. A legend lost…. ?

  4. I had the honour to manifest some Exhibitions for Digby and show him around Europe twice.
    First in 2003 around Vienna where a good friend and Art Lover arranged a little Exhibition.
    And in 2004 at bigger Vernissage took place at the Hameln Museum in North Germany.
    I saw him a few times last year around the time of his last exhibition in Murwillumbah. He was in great shape and spirit, forever thankful for those times 15 years back.He even wanted to go on another trip back over there this year and I was really hoping for that to happen again.
    Unfortunately he left Us too early.
    RIP Digby – You Very Special Blackfella ?
    Thanks for the Colors and Teachings ? Love You Long Time.

  5. Both of my children attended exhibitions of Digbys in previous years…both loved his work and tslked of it extensively! May you be at peace with your people Digby!

  6. Digby showed great enthusiasm throughout his life. In his younger life he played hooker in First Grade Rugby League for Woodburn. About five families from Cabbage Tree Island made up the whole First Grade team, a remarkable effort.
    Digby was the most entertaining player as he always had a few extra tricks up his sleeve for the crowd.
    The crowds that turned up in the 1960’s for home games were amazing compared to todays crowds.
    After footy and working as a cane cutter Digby turned to expressing himself as an Indigenous painter with great success.
    |Digby lived a full and busy life and will be missed by all his mates.

  7. Remembering him always for his kindness even greater than his generosity and artistic talents. Grateful for the times in the studio hearing his stories and for his visit to the workplace to give a painting workshop to people with disabilities then also donating a painting. Sending blessings of care to his partner and loved ones in this very sad time.

  8. Very sad that Digby is no longer with us..
    He was a great artist, with a wonderful colour sense that brought joy and happiness to so many people. We have been working with him for the last year & on Feb 21 we will be installing the 15 metre Uplift totem painted by Digby and Richard Clarke. at the Mullumbimby Gateway. it is the centrepiece of the new Mullum Gateway.


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