• Sam Watson the fifth will march at Brisbane's Invasion Day rally to honour his grandfather, Musgrave Park, 23 January 2020. (Douglas Smith )Source: Douglas Smith
Sam Watson the fifth will take to Brisbane's Invasion Day march this weekend in honour of his late grandfather, Aboriginal leader and proud Wangerriburra and Birri Gubba man, Sam Watson who passed in November last year.
Douglas Smith

25 Jan 2020 - 12:36 PM  UPDATED 25 Jan 2020 - 12:50 PM

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that the following article contains images and references of deceased persons.

On Yuggera country, Indigenous leader Sam Watson had one of the loudest voices, always standing front and centre at Brisbane's Musgrave Park Invasion Day event before his passing in November last year. 

A trailblazer in the Aboriginal community, Mr Watson had more than five decades of activism under his belt, starting at the age of 16 when he handed out how-to-vote cards at the 1967 Referendum.

What started in 67 soon blossomed into a lifelong journey fighting for Indigenous rights, which included co-founding the Australian chapter of the Black Panther Party in the early 70's and helping to implement the findings of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody in the early 90's. 

This year will be the first time the Brisbane community will be without him at the Invasion Day march, however, his grandson, Watson the fifth will walk in the footsteps of his grandfather on Sunday. 

“My Grandfather definitely taught me more through his actions than through his words – he taught me to stand up for everyone who is suffering an injustice – and he taught me, that an injustice to one, is an injustice to all," Mr Watson told NITV News. 

"I would always see Pop at rally's even if I didn't know he was going, you know, sometimes I would go to a rally and it might be for refugee rights or during the same-sex marriage campaign I'd go to a rally and I wouldn't even know Pop was going to be there and he'd be there.

"He taught me that our strength is in unity and in our community.

“It’s so important for my generation to step up and start walking in the footsteps of our elders."

Watson the fifth says his activism comes from watching his grandfather from a young age fighting for causes close to him and his family. 

"I've had family members who have died in custody, I have family members who are still battling to stop mining happening on their land, I have family members who have been removed from our family as part of the Stolen Generations, so all those issues are quite personal to me." he said. 

"The general message we're trying to get across on Invasion Day is shedding light on all the injustices our mob face."

Ruby Wharton, one of the event organisers for Sunday, told NITV News that the Watson family “have always done a good job of carrying each other’s legacy,” and the number of younger people getting involved was growing. 

“The things they’ve [Watson family] done for this community are revolutionary and it’s so important that we keep that fire burning,” said Ms Wharton. 

“What I’ve been seeing with organising this year is a lot of young bloods coming up and warriors rising to the occasion and making our ancestors proud.”  

On Sunday, Watson the fifth said he knows his "Pop will be there in spirit" as thousands are expected to turn out for the march which starts in the CBD and ends at the city's most significant gathering site for the Aboriginal community, Musgrave Park. 

NITV presents a selection of dedicated programming, special events and news highlights with a focus on encouraging greater understanding of Indigenous Australian perspectives on 26 January. Join the conversation #AlwaysWasAlwaysWillBe

Read more
Sam Watson, a 'giant' of the Aboriginal Rights Movement
After more than fifty years fighting for the rights of his people, the proud Wangerriburra and Birri Gubba man passed away yesterday.