More than 300 people surprised unionist and community legend Fred Moore on September 1, throwing him a huge 90th birthday party.
Moore said it was the biggest surprise of his life when he walked into his local community centre hall in Dapto to find hundreds of people cheering his name. It took him several minutes to reach the front of the hall as he hugged nearly everyone on the way.
Richard “Mackie” Davis gave a very moving and emotional welcome to country as he thanked Moore for his dedication to the struggle for Aboriginal rights. He explained Moore’s role in the formation of the Aboriginal Advancement League and other important campaigns.
Moore’s daughter Sue Moore spoke of his extraordinary contributions, which has resulted in his life membership to 15 different organisations.
Moore was the first life member of the Miners’ Federation (now the CFMEU Mining Division) and the miners’ union offices in the Illawarra are named after him. His life memberships even include the Miners’ Womens’ Auxiliary and the Dapto Budgerigar Club.
“Dad loves people”, said Sue. “And the tougher people have it, the harder Dad will fight for them.” She spoke of his love for his family and the community.
Other speakers included Jo Kowalcyk, South Coast Labour Council President; Graham White, CFMEU Mining division District Secretary; Narelle Clay, Australian Services Union President; Col Markham, former MP for Wollongong; and Tony Adcock from the Maritime Union veterans.
All spoke of the inspiration and education Fred has provided to many struggles over decades including the rights of workers, women, Aboriginal communities, young people and many more. Moore’s granddaughter and grandson also spoke.
His granddaughter said: “If I've ever got an idea that’s out of this world, grandpop is the first person I go to.”
Moore thanked everyone for not only attending the party, but for their love and respect. To conclude his impromptu speech, Fred said with a wry smile: “And as old as I'm getting, there are more fights to be had, and I'm always looking to get into another one.”