Tweet The first Indigenous sports player to captain Australia in a major sport, Arthur Beetson emerged out of a sometimes rocky rugby league career as one of the eight Immortals of the game. After a rough education he left school at 16 and worked at the local post-office, as a clerk and a mail man. Playing rugby league A lover of rugby from the very start he would listen to league on the radio as a kid and watch the Sunday games before joining the local side at aged 6. He played first grade for Roma until he was 19 as a centre and a wing and then signed by Redcliffe to join the Brisbane competition. A standout forward, Beetson was named club player of the year in when Redcliffe took out the Brisbane premiership. Source: Arthur Beetson Foundation He was quickly signed to Balmain in the National Rugby League where he established himself as formidable on the field.

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Share via Email The identity of a youthful Indigenous man pictured embracing Arthur Beetson in an iconic State of Origin photo from can now be revealed, 37 years after it was taken. Beetson led Queensland to an historic win at Lang Park and was photographed being embraced by year-old Matthew Solomon amongst a sea of jubilant spectators. The Courier Mail newspaper the day after the victory and it became a symbol of what was achieved that night by a proud Indigenous leader and a mighty Queenslander.

Solomon, who played rugby league for Inala in Brisbane, said he was at one of the Lang Park bars that night and watching on with awe as Beetson led the Maroons to a famous victory. It all started with him. He proved it that night. The next day he was greeted with a surprise.

Solomon said the picture is still a topic of conversation with his wife Donna and five children. It is part of Origin folklore and something dad always remembered as part of his Origin experience. We were able to finally establish after discussions with Matthew and his family that it was him.

Scott will speak about Brad Beetson and the iconic photo at the luncheon in Brisbane on Friday, appropriate considering Beetson was the first Indigenous player to captain Australia and did so in two of the four World Cup campaigns he played in.


About the ARTIE Academy

Welcome to the continuation of a legacy! Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world. It provides Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students attending Queensland Schools the opportunity to participate in a program that encourages and rewards improvements in school attendance, behaviour, academic achievement, effort and ultimately Year 12 attainment or its equivalent. It is a living testament to the first Indigenous captain of an Australian sporting team. A man who fought with courage for his people to be acknowledged, respected and valued as first Australians. A man who was resolute in his beliefs about the absolute need for young First Australians to be educated, to finish school and to be employed. Using innovative approaches to capture the attention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth, the ARTIE Academy aims to operate with and create high expectations for effort, behaviour, achievement and commitment.


ABF welcomes new Board members

His off-loading and attacking workrate broke the mould for front rowers and changed the way they played the game. George at second-row forward. He represented Australia again at the Rugby League World Cup , playing at prop forward in the win against France in the tournament final. He possessed great strength and toughness, a surprising turn of speed for a big man and was unequalled as a ball player.

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Arthur Beetson


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