“Polly” Farmer’s football and charity life to be preserved by State Library

Indigenous WA football player Graham “Polly” Farmer life will be preserved for future generations with the State Library acquiring a collection of memorabilia acknowledging his football career.

The State Library purchased a number of historical souvenirs from the WA sporting legend’s life in an auction that included a collection of documents and medals.

The collection includes Farmer’s 1960 Sandover Medal, one of three Sandover Medals he won during his career, along with a collection of congratulatory letters and telegrams to Farmer on his win.

Farmer’s 1959 Simpson Medal was also secured with a letter from the East Perth Football Club congratulating him for winning the medal for the 1959 Grand Final and winning the Club’s Best and Fairest.

The library also purchased Farmer’s 1971 Member of the British Empire medal with a certificate signed by Queen Elizabeth and a collection of archival materials covering Farmer’s life and career.

It will preserve the collection and keep it safe for future generations with some items put on display once preservation of the documents have been completed.

Farmer was born in WA and spent his childhood in Sister Kate’s orphanage as a member of the Stolen Generation.

He began his career with the East Perth Football Club in 1953 and won five premierships, three Sandover Medals for fairest and best and four Simpson Medals for best player in the Grand Final.

Farmer wanted all Aboriginal children to reach their potential, establishing the Graham “Polly” Farmer Foundation.

Culture and Arts Minister David Templeman said there was “no more remarkable story” than Farmer’s.

“One of the (State Library’s) ethos is the protection of and telling of Western Australian stories,” Mr Templeman said.

“This collection will of course be part of the State Library’s collection, it will enable the State Library in a whole variety of ways to tell the story that was and is Polly Farmer into the future.”

Sports Minister Mick Murray said Farmer’s life transcended sport.

“While he was certainly an iconic athlete, Farmer ensured his legacy would transcend football by establishing the Graham “Polly” Farmer Foundation and transforming the lives of thousands of young Aboriginal people,” Mr Murray said.

“I am so pleased that by acquiring these pieces, the State Library has ensured memorabilia commemorating the legendary Graham “Polly” Farmer will be preserved for future generations.”

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