Graham & # 39; Polly & # 39; Farmer is recalled at a state funeral in Perth as an inspiring legend of Australian rules football and a dedicated family man who transformed the lives of thousands of indigenous children through his foundation.
Farmer, the largest ruckman ever and the first indigenous coach in VFL / AFL history, died in the hospital on August 14 after a 20-year battle with Alzheimer's.
He was 84 years old.
Graham & # 39; Polly & # 39; Farmer, the largest ruckman ever and the first indigenous coach in VFL / AFL history, died in the hospital on August 14 after a 20-year battle with Alzheimer's disease
Farmer's coffin arrives Monday for the State Funeral at Optus Stadium in Perth
Prior to Monday's service at Optus Stadium, AFL Chairman Gillon described McLachlan Farmer as a giant of the game that revolutionized his sweeping handball.
& # 39; The expansiveness we see and the ability to do different things, have flair – he was a leader in that regard, & Mr McLachlan told reporters.
& # 39; He was such inspiration for so many players, especially in our native cohort. & # 39;
Prime Minister Mark McGowan said during the service that Farmer is a & # 39; rare genius & # 39; used to be
Prime Minister Mark McGowan said during the service that Farmer is a & # 39; rare genius & # 39; used to be.
& # 39; We have never seen him before and maybe never again, & # 39; said Mr. McGowan.
The farmer born in Fremantle grew up in an orphanage in Perth, run by Protestant sister Kate, who left some deep and bitter memories for some, but he thought it had a positive influence.
Farmer's son Dean described his father as humble, kind, forgiving and loyal with & # 39; amazing self-discipline and competitiveness & # 39;
Boer's daughter Kim remembered being crushed by the crowd in oval Leederville when fans tried to get his signature
Farmer had racial qualification in his life and while Aboriginals down the & # 39; pecking order & # 39; from Australia, they were at the top when it came to football, McGowan said.
& # 39; Polly was at the top, the top of the mountain, & # 39; he said.
Aboriginal affair minister Ben Wyatt said that many indigenous people have a sense of pride and & # 39; a collective ownership & # 39; of Farmer's performance.
& # 39; Our pride in him and his lack of his own personal greatness meant that we all knew him in the singular – Polly. & # 39;
Former Australian rules footballer and coach John Cameron & # 39; Jack & # 39; Sheedy was one of the many who attended the funeral
Ernie Dingo, a native Australian actor, television presenter and comedian, attended the State Funeral
Farmer's son Dean said it was hard to believe that his father earned the name in the orphanage because he spoke a lot, since he was a calm man.
He described his father as modest, kind, forgiving and loyal with & # 39; amazing self-discipline and competitiveness & # 39; – something he discovered when he played table tennis against him.
Boer's daughter Kim remembered being crushed by the crowd in the oval Leederville when fans tried to get his signature.
Former footballer Ron Alexander attends the funeral
Former native soccer player Larry Kickett (left), Syd Jackson (center) and Dale Kickett (right) at the funeral
Shadow Native Affairs Minister Pat Dodson talks with Minister of Native Australians Ken Wyatt for the State funeral
While family life revolved around football, she remembered her father reading the newspaper, walking the dog, and talking with passion and conviction.
& # 39; For me, he was just dad, & # 39; she said.
Jolleen Hicks, a graduate of the Graham & # 39; Polly & # 39; Farmer Foundation, said thousands of children had benefited from its educational program for Aboriginal youth, which has been operating in Australia for 25 years.
& # 39; I recognize the impact that Mr. Farmer's vision has had on my life. I want his family to know how grateful I am, & she said.
Farmer went east in 1962 and played 101 games for Geelong, who served as captain from 1965-67 and won a premiership medal in 1963.
In 1968, Farmer returned to WA, joined West Perth, and added a further 79 games to achieve a senior career of 356.
Pictured AFL chairman Richard Goyder (left) and CEO Gillon McLachlan
Participants in the State Funeral
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