Artie Beetson
Artie Beetson

Artie dies before finding family

IT was only a month ago that I first met Artie Beetson when he came to me at an indigenous function where I had been a speaker.

Artie told me he was a Gubbi Gubbi man and named his mother and relatives whom I knew to be related to me (I even had a photo of his mother with mine).

We agreed to meet before Christmas to fill in the family tree.

It is so upsetting to know of his death.

I only met him briefly but he was a very friendly, nice man. I came away impressed by him. I am proud he was my cousin.

Gubbi Gubbi is based on matrilineal descent - rights to speak on land are through the female line, so Artie through his mother was an important man in our culture as well as a sporting great.

He was very keen to reconnect with his family and it is sad that he has left us without probably knowing that our great-great-grandfather, James Crowe, was a member of Australia's first cricket team (all Aboriginal) that toured England.

Our cousin, Bill Monkland, who Artie probably met, played rugby league for Queensland and I, whom he met for the first time a month ago, captained Queensland women's netball and athletics teams and was Queensland discus champion and a member of the 1956 Olympic training squad in Melbourne.

My brother, Nurdon Serico, was all-schools champion in the 100 yards and high-jump champion and also played rugby league.

We will decide on a traditional memorial for Artie after speaking with all the family.


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