Family members and friends carry the coffin of Lawrence John Wilson following the service at St Joseph?s Catholic Church, Corak
Family members and friends carry the coffin of Lawrence John Wilson following the service at St Joseph?s Catholic Church, Corak

Hundreds farewell Bandjalang people?s ?last real elder

By LUKE PRENDERGAST

MORE than 300 people said goodbye to Lawrence John Wilson, acclaimed as a prophet and inspiration and dubbed the 'last real elder' of the Bandjalang clan.

Mr Wilson died at Coraki on February 23. Yesterday, mourners from as far afield as Sydney gathered at St Joseph's Catholic Church in Coraki to pay their respects to a leader of his community.

Father Richard Foley told the congregation Mr Wilson was a prophet whose charisma could be compared to that of Jesus Christ.

"I found him such an inspiring man. It's very rare that you meet someone that you can sit at their feet and learn from, a bit like Jesus," Fr Foley said. "Lawrence was that style of person. To me, Lawrence in the most true sense of the word was a prophet. A prophet is someone who speaks God's message and ... he stood up for what is right and just and that is what we are all called to do."

Pastor Francis Bundock said Mr Wilson 'was a great man to me as well as to many of you here today'.

"He had great respect for the older ones and left an example for the younger ones to follow," Pastor Bundock said.

Eulogist John Roberts said Mr Wilson's great legacy would be his role as Native Title claimant for his people.

"He presented the Bandjalang case to the Federal Court with dignity and integrity," Mr Roberts said.



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