Mr Lambert McBride: 1918–2002

Mr Lambert McBride, also known as Stan, was a Bundjalung, Yugambeh and Mulinjarli man. He was born in 1918 at Grady’s Creek about 10km from Kyogle, New South Wales.

He served in the 15th Battalion (Transport Division) during World War II, and was in Townsville when it was bombed by the Japanese. He was later awarded the War Medal and the Australian Service Medal. These were presented with ceremony by Queensland Governor, His Excellency Major General Peter Arnison.

Mr McBride worked as a bullock team driver, a timber-getter, sugar cane cutter, railway fettler, bridge carpenter and wharfie.  He also worked at many timber yards in Brisbane.

He was a fierce advocate and lobbyist for Aboriginal rights and was prepared to stand up for those who were treated unjustly. He joined the Queensland Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders (QCAATSI), and eventually became its President. As part of this work, Lambert and his wife May drove across Queensland registering Indigenous people for the electoral rolls.

Mr McBride was a pro-unionist and member of a number of unions. Throughout the 1960s he drew on his union ties and associations, writing many letters asking the unions for both moral and financial support for Aboriginal social justice.

He promoted the 1967 Referendum campaign to amend the Australian Constitution, and opposed Queensland Aboriginal protection legislation, considered at that time to be the most repressive in Australia. He also worked on negotiations which led to the formation of the National Aboriginal Advisory Council, the first such body to advise the federal government on Indigenous Affairs.

A self-educated man, Mr McBride believed in the value of education for progress. He encouraged Indigenous people to get a good education. His daughter, Linda, became the first Aboriginal student to complete grade 12 at Sandgate District High School and later earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at the University of Queensland.

Mr McBride was a life member of the Koobara Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Kindergarten and of the One People of Australia League (OPAL). He was also an adopted Elder of the Taigum State School and a member of many other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community organisations.

The McBrides moved to Zillmere in 1956. In 2002, the Brisbane City Council paid tribute to the outstanding contribution that Lambert McBride had made to Aboriginal social justice and reconciliation by naming a parkland at Zillmere after him.

The Lambert McBride Perpetual Bursary honours the role Mr McBride played in supporting the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. It also recognises his legacy to the wider community in supporting reconciliation.​

 May and Lambert McBride
 in Canberra.
 Source: Courtesy Linda McBride-Yuke.