Farmer farewell packed with fond memories

Please note, this story contains the image and name of someone who has died.

Friend, father and footballer, the legendary Graham ‘Polly’ Farmer was bid farewell by the nation on Monday.

Remembered for his kind heart, Mr Farmer was an inspiration and role model to many people.

The state memorial began with the motorcade of the hearse and police escort traveling along Perth’s Graham Farmer Freeway – named in his honour.

The Optus Stadium River View Room was packed to the brim with loved ones and members of the public who spilled out into the stands to watch on the stadium screens the sombre and solemn goodbye to the AFL legend.

The memorial was also broadcast live on large screens across Perth as well as online and on radio.

Noongar Elder Richard Walley delivered a Welcome to Country from the heart, before passing the microphone to ABC Perth broadcaster Russell Woolf who spoke about Mr Farmer’s life.

WA Premier Mark McGowan also addressed the ceremony to pay tribute.

“We have never seen his like before and maybe we never will again,” Mr McGowan said.

Football legend and close friend, Ken McAullay recounted Mr Farmer’s incredible career playing in the Western Australian Football League and Victorian Football League for teams such as East Perth, West Perth and Geelong.

A career just shy of two decades, which all began as a teenager playing for Maddington and included achievements such as becoming the AFL’s first Indigenous coach.

The memorial hosted many prestigious guests from all walks of life, including WA Governor Kim Beazley, AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan, Fremantle Dockers Chair Dale Alcock and beloved Yamatji actor Ernie Dingo.

Although an incredible sportsman, what was celebrated most was the man Mr Farmer was off the field.

A true good bloke – Mr Farmer was a loving husband and father and has left behind a legacy of love in his organisation, the Graham Polly Farmer Foundation, which aims to improve the lives of First Nations children.

The opening eulogy by Mr Farmer’s daughter, Kim Farmer, described him as a strong, gentle parent and a humble man.

Ms Farmer said it became clear to the family in his last few days the impact their father had on people through his organisation.

“[There was an] overwhelming outpouring of love and stories around Dad’s quiet kindness and caring,” she said.

“This legacy of Dad is just of being a good person, and I’m very proud of that.”

Graham Polly Farmer Foundation Alumni, Jolleen Hicks addressed the ceremony, celebrating the significance of Mr Farmer’s foundation on the lives of thousands of Aboriginal youth.

“I recognise the impact that Mr Farmer’s vision has had on my life. I want his family to know how grateful I am,” Ms Hicks said.

Mr Farmer’s son, Dean Farmer also delivered a eulogy, speaking on the immense love, forgiveness and loyalty that lived within his father.

“Aside from football, Dad had another side to him, which is why I think he was loved by so many.”

Mr Farmer came from hard beginnings, he was a member of the Stolen Generations, raised in Sister Kate’s Home – an orphanage for Aboriginal children in Western Australia.

However, with discipline, love, and kindness he became a very beloved, very respected, very admired, good bloke.

Mr Farmer passed away on August 20 after battling Alzheimer’s for over a decade. He was 84.

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