Today, Saturday, the South Sydney Rabbitohs along with members of the community and dignataries paid tribute to the late Solomon Bellear AM at his State funeral at Redfern Oval.
Rabbitohs players formed a guard of honour for Mr Bellear’s casket as it entered Redfern Oval, with Rabbitohs and Indigenous All Stars captain Greg Inglis acting as a pallbearer during the ceremony.
Mr Bellear passed away from a heart attack, aged 66, last week and will be remembered very fondly amongst the Rabbitohs’ faithful.
Mr Bellear, a proud Bundjalung man originally from Mullumbimby, played for the Rabbitohs in the late 1970s and represented the Redfern All Blacks in the Koori Knockout competition.
Sol was a director of the South Sydney Football Club between 2002 and 2006 and was a mentor for the Rabbitohs’ Indigenous players and staff.
Sol was a strong supporter of Rugby League, managing the Indigenous Dreamtime team in 2008 and maintaining his support of his beloved Rabbitohs for the years after his official involvement with the Club came to an end.
Mr Bellear was an influential and respected elder in the Indigenous community, standing up for the rights and fighting issues on behalf of his people prominently since 1970.
Mr Bellear was the first chairman of the Aboriginal Legal Service when it was founded in the early 1970s and joined the Board of the Aboriginal Medical Service in Redfern in 1975, an organisation of which he eventually became chairman.
Sol was also a member of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) since 1990 and was elected as a councillor of the Sydney region and commissioner for the NSW Metropolitan Zone before serving as deputy chairman up until 1994.
Sol also consulted to the NSW Aboriginal Land Council for over a decade, managing the media and marketing unit.
Mr Bellear became a Member of the Order of Australia for services to the Aboriginal community, particularly in the area of Aboriginal health, in 1999.
Sol will be remembered at South Sydney as a respected man of great principle who stood up for, and supported, his people and who had a great love for his family and his football club.
Sol will be greatly missed by everyone at the Rabbitohs. May he rest in peace.