South Australian Media Icon the late Raymond ‘Bear’ Weetra Snr. honoured with Studio Dedication in Port Augusta yesterday
By Nicola Butler
Umeewarra Aboriginal Media Association dedicated their main studio to honour the late Uncle Raymond ‘Bear’ Weetra in a special commemoration ceremony held in Port Augusta on the 4th October 2013.
In a secret squirrel operation, Uncle Bear’s daughter Kylie Weetra pulled off the ultimate feat, that of keeping a secret from her super sleuth mother and queen of the airwaves Judy Weetra.
When asked how she managed to do it she said “It was really challenging keeping it from mum, every time someone rang to talk about it, mum would be right there and I had to keep pretending I was talking about something else!”
Kylie managed to pull together family and friends from all over the countryside to attend this special ceremony to honour her father which was made a little easier as it coincided with her Brother Leroy’s 40th Birthday.
In a moving address Uncle Vince Coulthard told us about how Uncle Bear had spent much of his life fighting for Aboriginal voices to be heard, along with others such as Uncle Harold Dare who was present at the gathering, being major contributors to keeping our media, news and stories on the agenda here in Port Augusta.
“Umeewarra Aboriginal Media Association was set up back in 1986 when a few dedicated people needed their own voice in radio. Their fight and determination has ensured over the years that Aboriginal issues are heard across the airwaves. We owe a lot to these people but none more so than Raymond Weetra Snr.” He said
Uncle Bear worked at Umeewarra right up until his passing and he is sadly missed by all of his family and friends including his Umeewarra Radio family.
“Umeewarra dedicates this studio to the lifelong commitment of Raymond Weetra Snr” He said
“The naming of this studio, in his honour, will be a lasting reminder to staff and the community that without his hard work and dedication over many years we would not have our radio station here in Port Augusta.”
Describing the surprise as a very moving and emotional day Auntie Judy said that if Uncle Bear was here today he would have been really honoured, “it was such special day” she said, “I feel so happy that Umeewarra Radio has done this for him, he was very well known and loved in the media business.”
Auntie Judy twigged that something was going on but said the team at Umeewarra really sprung it on her in a day she said was emotional for the entire family and all just a little bit overwhelming.
Uncle Bear gave Aboriginal people a Deadly Voice in media in this region and the main studio of Umeewarra Aboriginal Media Association will now be forever known as ‘Bear’s Lair’.
Uncle Bear passed away on the 20th July 2009. He has three sons – Raymond Jnr, Leigh (Leroy), Nathan and daughter Kylie, with 21 Grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren and many more who called him Pop!