Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Our Harry Tells His Story, One Last Time; Looking Back on Harry Mimi's Life after the Colourful Character Loses His Battle to Cancer

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Our Harry Tells His Story, One Last Time; Looking Back on Harry Mimi's Life after the Colourful Character Loses His Battle to Cancer

Article excerpt

Byline: Jessica O'Neill (from her story published in 2010)

HARRY Mimi was born in 1944 on the outskirts of the small citrus-growing town of Gayndah.

Living in a three-roomed shack, life as one of 13 children could not have been easy, especially since the Mimis were one of few Aboriginal families living in the area. Times were changing for Aborigines in the 1950s.

The Queensland Government had established missions over the state in an effort to "protect" the health and safety of Australia's indigenous people.

Harry says he was one of the lucky ones. His family were given permission to live on the outskirts of Gayndah to work.

Like many others who weren't living in a mission, Harry's family worked on stations and performed domestic work in town.

He recalls that times weren't good for Aborigines as they were being roped off from "white fellows", locked up from society and still had to carry a piece of paper saying they could live outside a mission.

His childhood was speckled with school, sport and working life.

Being a member of the Waka Waka tribe, Harry went to one of the only Aborigines' schools in Queensland two days a week.

But it soon closed down and Harry and his sisters then travelled to attend a state school.

A glisten appears in his eyes as he fondly chuckles about his speed and sporting abilities.

His list of assets of good looks, charm and lightning quick speed lay in the Mimi genes.

Speed let him do anything.

Winger/fullback of the football team or wicketkeeper on the cricket squad, Harry was there.

Harry left school at 12 to pursue work with his father as a rouseabout on Mar-nah station near Gayndah.

His love of sport was put on hold as he fixed fences, checked water and woke early to milk the cows.

He still kept up his fitness, choosing to herd the cattle on foot rather than on horseback because he loved running.

Harry found himself playing football for the under-16s and working in an orchard at 15.

He and his cousin were the only two Aboriginal boys on the team. Despite his love for the game, Harry had great dreams of being a soldier. …

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