Veteran unionist and social activist Brian Manning has died in the Royal Darwin Hospital over the weekend, aged 83.
Natalie Ahmat

5 Nov 2013 - 5:17 PM  UPDATED 5 Nov 2013 - 9:19 PM

Manning played a vital role in supporting Gurindji during the 1966 Wave Hill walk off, a pivotal moment in the Aboriginal land rights movement.

Born in rural Queensland, Manning moved to the Northern Territory in 1956 where he quickly became known as a social activist, not only fighting for Aboriginal rights, but also supporting the push for independence in East Timor.

In 1966, a group led by Vincent Lingiari walked off the job at Wave Hill Station, 600 kilometres south of Darwin, in a protest against their poor wages and working conditions.

Ken Vowles, Shadow Minister for Government Accountability, Lands & Planning, Indigenous Policy and Sport and Recreation, says Manning played a crucial role in this nine-year strike for land rights.

"He played a significant role, I mean, he co-founded the Aboriginal rights movement, and just going right to the basics, standing up for the rights of Aboriginal people to the point where he would supply food and drive out there and give the people who were on the walk off food and supplies, that let them continue their fight for inequality,” says Minister Vowles.

In 2010, Manning was named Senior Territorian of the Year, in recognition of a lifetime of fighting for social justice.

"He left a legacy of activism, he left a legacy of fighting for equal rights, and he left a legacy of a great man and a great family that's instilled in the Territory forever,” says Minister Vowles.