Sadly, Lloyd McDermott (“Mullenjaiwakka”) passed away last Saturday, 6 April 2019. As the Rugby journalist, Spiro Zavos, has written, McDermott was ‘the first Wallaby to acknowledge the fact that he was an Aborigine’. According to the ARU, McDermott is now recognised as the second Wallaby after Cecil Ramali. McDermott was also the first Indigenous Barrister in Australia. He holds four degrees: BSc and LLB (Qld), Dip.Crim (Sydney) and MScSoc (UNSW).
Post-Rugby, together with a number of lawyers and the Ella brothers, he established “The Lloyd McDermott Rugby Development Team”. As the website notes, ‘with the goal of introducing Rugby Union to young Indigenous men and women across Australia in hopes of coupling athletics with academics. It is Lloyd McDermott’s ability to combine sport and education which is at the essence of what the organisation stands for and it is the reason why the organisation bears his name.’
Once at a Lloyd McDermott fundraising dinner, a guest mistook him for Lloyd Walker and spoke about how well he played with the Ella brothers at Randwick. McDermott, quick as a flash replied, “The name is McDermott, not Walker, and I played for and have always supported the Varsity!” According to “Mull” (as he was affectionately called by those who knew him), his team was University in Sydney or in Queensland and the hardest player he ever opposed was Lloyd “The Beast” Hughes from Sydney Uni in what was once the annual clash between the two universities.
Mull was there cheering on Sydney Uni when the students lost in 1999 to Eastwood and again in 2000 when the students lost to Randwick on the bell (even though Brendan Williams playing for Randwick scored the winning try the Wicks).
Mull was at the Sydney Football Stadium again in 2001 when Chris Malone finally brought home the Shute Shield after 29 years from the club’s last victory in 1972 when we defeated Eastwood. He also attended and was very proud, when the Club held a function to recognise Jim Williams as Sydney University’s first Indigenous Wallaby.
A scholar, a gentleman and true Varsity supporter.