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Queensland and Australian rugby league great, Artie Beetson dies

By JOL Admin | 1 December 2011

"To have reached the heights I did in rugby league remains very special to me. To have captained my country, means the world. And to have been the first Aborigine in any major sport to arrive at that honour is a source of considerable pride." (Big Artie: the autobiography, 2004) 

Today saw the passing of one of rugby league's greatest players, Artie Beetson. Born in Roma 66 years ago, Beetson was the first Indigenous Australian to captain his country. His career as a player ran from 1964 to 1981. In 1980 he was the captain of Queensland in the very first State of Origin clash against New South Wales. After hanging up his boots Artie Beetson continued his passion for the game, taking on the role of coach for various teams.

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The State Library of Queensland holds an extensive collection of materials related to the history of rugby league in Queensland, enabling future generations to appreciate the legacy of players such as Artie Beetson.

"It is as if my life had its very beginning in rugby league, the game that I grew to love and which then became my life. They call it the "Greatest Game of All", which some will tell you is a cliche. But, you know, it's the truth of it..." (Big Artie: the autobiography, 2004).

Myles Sinnamon, Project Coordinator - State Library of Queensland


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