• Jonathon Thurston with his daughter Frankie after winning the NRL Grand Final. (National Rugby League)Source: National Rugby League
On August 7 when Australia reacted to Bill Leak’s controversial cartoon, Indigenous Australia responded with an outpouring of love for our dads. So this Father’s Day we decided to celebrate the very best men in our lives by sharing some of our favourite stories from the last year!
Karina Marlow

4 Sep 2016 - 9:19 AM  UPDATED 4 Sep 2016 - 9:19 AM

They raised us through good times and bad

“My mum died when I was five years old, so my dad has played a huge part of my life. He is an amazingly strong man. Not only did my dad lose my mum, but his mother and his sister in the space of a month, it was hard for him to deal with, but he managed to raise us kids."

When Katie Beckett lost her Mum at such a young age her Dad had to pick up the pieces. Frustrated at the media's depiction of Aboriginal men, Katie wrote the play ‘Which Way Home' inspired solely by her dad and his impact on her life. 

A father and daughter's journey comes to life
It’s a long way from the wide streets and big old houses of Tash’s childhood. Two Black faces in a very white suburb. Dad still thinks he’s the king of cool, but he’s an old fella now. It’s time for Tash to take him home.

They stand up against hate and support us

"I was more concerned, with my dad being the successful footballer that he was, that he was going to be resentful towards it and everything like that. But as soon as I told him, this weight had lifted off my shoulders and he was very supportive of it, and he's embraced me ever since then." 

AFL player Nicky Winmar has a long history of standing up against hate and when his son Tynan came out to his Dad as a gay man it made their relationship stronger than ever. The pair have shared their story in the lead up to the AFL's first pride game, held to raise awareness about homophobia in sport.

From black power to gay pride
In a week where Indigenous dads have been in the spotlight, one Aboriginal father and son have come together to call out discrimination.

They are our role models

“Dad always encouraged me to aim high and chase my dreams no matter how big they were.”

“When my son was born I thought I needed to have a look at myself, get fit, be someone they can look up to, and be a role model for other kids in the community.”

Arrernte-Guindji man Luke McKenzie has not only been a role model to his two young boys but also to the wider community. After surviving Leukemia as a child, Luke decided to get involved in running and is now an ambassador for the Indigenous Marathon Project, which aims to promote healthy lifestyles for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Father's Day run a chance for all dads to be warriors
“When my son was born I thought I needed to have a look at myself, get fit, be someone they can look up to, and be a role model for other kids in the community.”

They are champions both on and off the field

"Apart from the birth of our two children [Frankie and Charlie], this is the most emotional I’ve seen him," Jonathon Thurston's partner Samantha Lynch told the media after the Dally M ceremony.

"It's just such a momentous occasion that may not happen again. It probably just hit him."

Johnathon Thurston led his team to victory in the 2015 NRL Grand Final and the stole Australia's heart with the adorable picture with his daughter Frankie. The same year he was also named Phillips Sports 'Dad of the Year' and won a Dally M for 'Player of the year'. 

Johnathan Thurston's Wikipedia page updated to 'God'
Cowboys superstar Johnathan Thurston will go down in Australian folklore.

They believe that we can be superheroes

"Just like any loving parent, I shared my love of superheroes with my son (and sometimes even forced the point); thankfully, he fully embraced it."

"The passion of comic books blended together with 60,000 years of culture and history makes this something special – and when my son is old enough to watch and understand these stories, I hope it empowers him too. That’s why the hero in Cleverman has my son’s name, Koen."

Ryan Griffen has transformed his love of superheroes into the phenomenon that is 'Cleverman' and it all began out of sharing that love with his son Koen. Not only an inspiration to his family, the TV show has proved that Ryan and his 'Cleverman' will be a role model to many young Indigenous kids. 

We need more Aboriginal superheroes, so I created Cleverman for my son
Groundbreaking Australian series Cleverman weaves ancient Aboriginal stories into a post-apocalyptic world. For creator Ryan Griffen it was not an easy journey – but it was an important one.

#IndigenousDads: Heartfelt images shared to counter Leak's cartoon
#Indigenousdads is a heartfelt response to Bill Leak's controversial cartoon, with Indigenous Australians proudly sharing images of their fathers on social media.