Australia’s indigenous community is mourning the loss of “one of the most influential figures in contemporary Aboriginal Australia” after the death of Charles “Chicka” Dixon.

Mr Dixon, 81, died at a Sydney nursing home on Saturday afternoon from asbestosis, which the Maritime Union of Australia says he contracted as a wharf worker.

Born in 1928, he was a national figure and active in the campaign for the 1967 referendum on citizenship for indigenous Australians, and the NSW Government has offered his family a state funeral.

In the 1950s, Mr Dixon was involved in the Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders and for setting up services in the Redfern community in Sydney.  Mr Dixon was a founding member of the NSW Aboriginal Legal Service and the Aboriginal Medical Service, as well as being involved in the establishment of the Tent Embassy in Canberra in January 1972.  His political involvement began in 1946 and in 1963 he joined the Waterside Workers Union.

A foundation member of the Aboriginal Arts Board, Mr Dixon was also the first Aboriginal person to be appointed as a councillor on the Australia Council.  Mr Dixon is survived by his two daughters, Rhonda and Christine, his brothers and sisters, nieces, nephews, grandchildren and extended family.

A date for a state funeral is yet to be fixed.

Posted via email from 4ZZZ News

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