The word Yunupingu In Yolngu means “the rock that stands against time”. An apt description for the man who lead a dynasty of doughty fighters and artists in North East Arnhemland. His death in April caused me to search out his artistic credentials in this website’s farewell

But his ceremonial departure on his Gunyangara homeland this week inspired a Prime Ministerial encomium from Anthony Albanese this week which really deserves recording:
“It’s often said that we stand on the shoulders of giants. Yunupingu was a giant who made sure we could.

He lifted us up and held us there so that we could see as far as he did. And what a vision he shared with us. A vision underpinned by an unbending belief in the need for Aboriginal people to hold their future in their own hands. A vision so grounded in all that was just and fair and right that, ultimately, it elevated us all.

He had every right to be cynical, but he wasn’t. No matter how often Australia let him down, he kept striving to have us rise to his level of integrity. And as he did, what Yunupingu helped us all to see was not the reinvention of Australia, but the realisation of an even greater one. Now his life is at an end, we gather in the place where it began. And as we gaze out to where the Gulf of Carpentaria meets the sky, we soften our sorrow with joy and gratitude for all that his life was.

It is an honour to be here in the country that so filled his heart, but as it’s my first time in Arnhem Land without him, it is a poignant one.

Yet his presence – and the reminders of all he believed in and all that mattered to him – are all around us, the profound cultural, political, social and economic legacies of a leader.

Of a statesman. A painter, dancer, singer and musician. Australian of the Year in 1978. Member of the Order of Australia. A national treasure. A remarkable member of a remarkable family.

A great Yolngu man. An extraordinary Australian, who understood if you want to make your voice count you have to make sure that it is heard. He made sure with the sheer power of his advocacy for land rights. He made sure when he helped draft the Yirrkala Bark Petitions, which delivered such a powerful message that resounded within the walls of the nation’s parliament.

He made sure when he co-created that blueprint for treaty, the Barunga Statement.

And he made sure in his crucial role in that masterclass of concise and unifying eloquence, the Uluru Statement from the Heart. In his words: “At Uluru we started a fire, a fire we hope burns bright for Australia.”

Now Yunupingu is gone, but the gurtha – the great tongue of flame and truth with which spoke to us – is still here. And it lights the path ahead for us. We will never again hear his voice anew, but his words – and his legacy – will keep speaking to us. The finest tribute we can offer to his memory is within our grasp.

Yunupingu walked in two worlds with authority, power and grace, and he worked to make them whole – together.
Now he walks in another place, but he has left such great footsteps for us to follow here in this one. With deepest respect. Vale Yunupingu”.

Let’s hope Albo can rise to such eloquent heights when selling The Voice.