Herbert Stanley Groves JP was a World War II veteran, plumber, author and Honorary Rotarian. He was a gentleman and friend to many people both black and white. He spent a lifetime in the advancement of his people and his fight for “Justice and Equality For All”.
Born in 1908, of Wailwan descent, Boodjree-Be-Angar Goolee (Bert Groves) spent his boyhood around Gulargambone, NSW. Leaving school after fifth grade he learnt the plumbing trade. In 1937 he joined William Ferguson’s Aborigines Progressive Association and was involved in the 1938 “Day of Mourning” organised to counter the sesquicentenary celebrations.
Bert served in the army during the Second World War and in 1950 succeeded Ferguson as the “part-Aboriginal” representative on the NSW Aboriginal Welfare Board. He revived the dormant Aborigines Progressive Association and remained its president until his death in 1970, the year Rotary named him Citizen of the Year. His writings appeared in the APA journal Churinga.
Bert will always be embedded in “ACAS Kirinari” as one of the newer wings at the Sylvania Heights hostel is named after him.
References: Encyclopedia of Aboriginal Australia; Charities Book 2005; NSW Parliamentary Hansard 30/May/2007, Barry Collier, MP; Records of Aboriginal Children’s Advancement Society.