“What I love most about dad is how he could look after his daughters.( he has 8 daughters, plus a couple he raised,16 grandchildren, 2 great grandchildren and about 30 nieces and nephews. ) He is so involved, loving and concerned about all of us always. He did our hair neat when he had us on his own travelling etc, he gave us every opportunity he could to do well and never sees us go without. Not once as he ever not returned a call or fell out of touch with us and is the same with his grannies now. He even answers our calls during meetings.
He treated so many of our mates like his own and still does it with our mates kids and the grandchildren a mates. We would have Philippino kids, png kids, white kids, African kids, Chilean kids and lots of lil blackfullas eating and sleeping with us. Biggest heart ever.”
“Keeping the fires of our old people burning strong forever “
From Tiga Bayles Blackfulla Radio – Our story;
from Radio Redfern to 98.9FM in Brisbane
Full tribute below
The Chair of NACCHO Matthew Cooke on behalf of our 150 Aboriginal Community Controlled members pays our respects to Australia’s most prominent Aboriginal broadcaster, Brisbane-based Tiga Bayles, who passed away early Sunday morning. Our deepest condolences to friends and family : Following is a statement issued by the Brisbane Indigenous Media Association on behalf of his family.
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Tiga Bayles, a Birri Gubba Gungalu man and a Dawson River Murri, who died early this morning after a long battle with cancer.
Tiga Bayles – one of the founders and driving forces of the Brisbane Indigenous Media Association’s 98.9FM radio station – was aged 62.
Tiga was born Harold James Phillip Bayles on 6th October 1953. He was raised in Theodore in Central Queensland, and lived in Redfern, Dubbo, Coonamble and later Brisbane.
He was a leading figure in the Aboriginal rights movement, and played a key role in the 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games protests, and protests at the Bicentennial celebrations in Sydney in 1988.
Tiga was an early chairman of the NSW Aboriginal Land Council, and named Queensland Father of the Year in 2005. He raised nine girls, and was Australia’s most prominent – and awarded – First Nations broadcaster.
Among his many honors, Tiga was the inaugural winner of the national Deadly Award for Indigenous Broadcaster of the Year, and his work around decolonisation and invasion was recognised by Amnesty International’s inaugural media awards in 2014.
Tiga served on numerous boards, including the National Indigenous Radio Service, a community-controlled organisation he helped found. He was also the Asia Pacific representative of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasting, a role that saw him travel the world advocating for First Nations’ media.
Tiga helped found the renowned Murri School in Brisbane’s Acacia Ridge, and served as its Chairman for many years, a role he held until his passing.
He got his start in the music industry touring the country as a band manager with Murri Jama. Shortly after, Tiga helped to establish Radio Redfern in Sydney with his mother, Maureen Watson. Tiga eventually moved back to Brisbane, and helped establish the Brisbane Indigenous Media Association, and the National Indigenous Radio Service. BIMA – the home of 98.9FM – is one of the nation’s most popular and successful community radio stations. Tiga’s morning program, Let’s Talk, was broadcast five days a week around the nation via the National Indigenous Radio Service network.
Ross Watson, Tiga’s uncle, was the founding CEO of BIMA. Tiga took the reigns and oversaw its expansion to become a nationally recognized training organisation for First Nations people working in the media. More than a thousand First Nations people have been trained in broadcasting through BIMA, via an innovative school-based traineeship program. Tiga led the move of 98.9FM to a state of the art multi-media centre in West End in 2011, securing the future of First Nations media for generations to come.
Tiga passed away peacefully at his Brisbane home early Sunday morning, surrounded by family and friends.
Details for the funeral of Tiga Bayles, which will be held in Brisbane, will be announced soon.
Blackfulla Radio – Our story;
from Radio Redfern to 98.9FM in Brisbane
I want to tell the world how much I love my dad. Not many people know much about the man behind the scenes, so I thought I’d take a moment to share.
Our dadda Tiga Bayles is the oldest of 5 boys and a baby sister, he has 8 daughters, plus a couple he raised,16 grandchildren, 2 great grandchildren and about 30 nieces and nephews. In 2011 we lost mum.
I’m number 4 in our family so I remember travelling the country with him in the back of a truck with bands, standing beside him at rallies, concerts, festivals, meetings, exhibitions and by his side on stage. We never missed a march and dad has always kept the door of the radio and his home open for mob coming through town.
Dad was at the Embassy in 72, all the family jumped in the car and drove from Brisbane to Canberra when they saw the police trying to tear tents down. He was part of the gallery in Sydney in the 70s, the Black Theatre, Commonwealth Games protests in 82 and started radio in the 80s in Sydney. My Gran Maureen Watson, had an hour at 2SER and my god mother Nicola Joseph trained dad. He would then help Gran with her show.
They then got more airtime at Radio Skid Row where I spent a lot of time as a youngen. The mob taught us so much and I’ve never met a mob like em still. Always part of our family. I was working the panel by 4 but couldn’t read. Dad would whisper things like Tina Turner What’s Love Got To Do With It. I can still use the old technology thanks to dad teaching me how to do it all myself.
Dad built the studio with no money and a lot of hard work. I remember dad cleaning out the old house in Cope Street Redfern and slowly Radio Redfern was pumpin. We lived in half the house and the radio was in the house next door. We ended up knocking a hole in the wall so they were joined near the kitchen and it became the best hive of grass roots activity. Truly the best days of my life.
Dad is from a lil town in central west Qld where he worked hard growing up. They grew up with mob in his early years in a humpy, dirt floor n all. His grandfather was treated very badly after being stolen and his grandmother was an old strong spirited battler. He was close with his grandparents, dad is grounded by the struggle of our family, by the wisdom and example they lead by.
His dad was a proud hard working man and his mother was known to many for her work in many fields and travels around the globe.
Going to school, him and his brothers would have to walk bare foot 5 ks and watch the school bus drive past them. This is how racist it was. Dad left primary school young and dug graves, drove the toilet can truck – had to empty them etc. They had horses and chooks etc, grew up shooting and living off the bush. He helped with his brothers and ended up moving to Brisbane as a teenager where he played footy for Cavendish Road and the Kangaroos.
Our family legacy passed down from dads proud old grandfather was to be the best human u can be. You do that by being the best Blackfulla u can b. He would tell his kids n grannies.
During the 70s he drove around with a black power fist painted on his cars, these are the best stories. Dad tells us about how he was hassled by police and still kept putting it back up on new cars.
He met my Mum Kath Reilly in Sydney some years later after running amok in Bris Vegas and they the started the next chapter in their lives. We spent a lot of time at the settlement in Chippendale as Gran lived next door for a long time.
The things that make me proudest of all is our names. With our Murri names we have shown that in the middle of the city, our culture is strong… We educate people daily when asked about our names and can declare that we as a people are stronger than ever at the same time without even being aware. This is a blessing that continues to uplift me. It was unusual back then but dad is one determined man and mum was so proud too. As a young fulla he danced with Pa Don Brady and grew up with a lot of mob in Brisbane.
He would always take us back to his country to be with all the mob, all the brothers and their kids would all come too. We’d go camping a lot, took me walking for hours through the scrub and taught me so much about our mob, our country, our stories, our music, our films, politics and culture. I can keep up with the lads fishing, fixing bikes, and catching my fill of yabbies only thanks to dad. Dad had me reading things like Malcolm X and Wandering Girl By Glenise Ward by the time I was 10. I never stopped and dad still has a big part of that, at the moment I have Bill Gammage’s latest book and Dark Emu almost finished, by Bruce Pascoe. All thanks to dad, always feeding me the best knowledge no matter how far away I am.
Dad got involved in the Land council and was the chairman for a while.
We moved to Coonamble for land council work and then to Dubbo where dad worked at a skill share with long term mate Dusty Fraser. We moved to Dubbo in the early 90s and stayed on a piggery with a kangaroo farm in the same block.
I remember one day we were travelling to another meeting somewhere in the outback towns of NSW and we made a toilet stop. Inside the public toilet, behind the door in the cubicle, these words were written “Tiga Bayles for PM”. I couldn’t believe it, of all places to stop. I smiled big n couldn’t wait to tell dad. I wonder now what town that was.
Uncle Ross Watson had finally gotten 4AAA radio up in Brisbane so we moved up so dad could support him with it. Uncle Ross also founded the Murri School.
While in Brisbane we were always involved in the local community, taking mob in and involved in traditional dance groups. Dad was always driving the dance group round or taking us keen basketballers to a game, we started playing in Dubbo.
We attended around 10 Woodford Maleny festivals, with Gran, as kitchen team or dance group. These were special times for our family as we got to stay with other dance groups and mob in same place for a week. We learnt traditional dance from 4 different tribes during this time.
We lost mum unexpectedly and since then we have more challenges then we can keep track of.
Dad was made an honorary Rotarian and was awarded QLD’s father of the year for the big and amazing work load he has. One of the best times we had for dad was when he was given the NAIDOC lifetime achievement award. Awards aren’t dads thing, but this was different. My Gran, Grans sister aunty April Watson and I, were lucky enough to come along with him. Dad was moved so much being acknowledged by his own mob. I’ve never seen him so emotional. He turned down an invitation to have dinner with Bob Hawke and the Queen. But I think the proudest I have ever been of him is the role he played in getting the 88 protests coordinated and broadcasts. That was the best week of my life, no doubt.
Makes me too proud that still today he is at the Radio station in Brisbane where you can hear him live weekdays from 9am on 98.9FM. My son, young Tiga, is completing a school based traineeship there and I just completed my certificate 3 training. Dad has also bn the president of the Murri school for over 10 yrs. We were together at the 40th anniversary for the Tent Embassy (where pic is taken) and we were together marching for the 30th anniversary for the Commonwealth Games protest.
On a personal level dads the best mate u could ever want, funniest lad ever, has shown by example the importance of never compromising our integrity or taking a step back with our principles. He mostly eats organic, wheat free, dairy free native only type diet, even filtered water and keeps a healthy ph level. I’m so grateful for having a father who taught me so much and so many others have told me about time dad has given them. I don’t know where he found the time cause he was always making sure we all had time with him too. I’m still learning about how deadly he is as a person cause for so long he is just dad to us. But thankfully I’m growing up.
What I love most about dad is how he could look after his daughters. He is so involved, loving and concerned about all of us always. He did our hair neat when he had us on his own travelling etc, he gave us every opportunity he could to do well and never sees us go without. Not once as he ever not returned a call or fell out of touch with us and is the same with his grannies now. He even answers our calls during meetings. He treated so many of our mates like his own and still does it with our mates kids and the grandchildren a mates. We would have Philippino kids, png kids, white kids, African kids, Chilean kids and lots of lil blackfullas eating and sleeping with us. Biggest heart ever. And all in the same house his Grandmother owned so many years ago. Only now we have it a lil done up xox
There no use keeping all this to ourselves when most people only hear or see him in the media. He is so much more and I hope I have been able to share enough to show all my friends this too.
I’ll always be a proud daddas girl and I’m just regretful that i don’t acknowledge his selfless efforts and sacrifices more often. I’m working on it.
Our old people and mum would b so proud of dad. Especially his grandparents who raised the boys and their parents to bE so staunch and connected. I don’t know where we would be without him and want to express my eternal gratitude. I’ve had an amazing life already and people call me things like kiddo still lol.
The future is bright. Dad makes sure all of us stay natural with our health choices. None of us take antibiotics or have been vaccinated. He has always worked hard to take us to traditional therapist as mum would have done, being a herbalist herself.
Thank you so much dad for always being there and being the best example a child could dream of. Dad, I’m so proud to call myself your daughter and to belong to such a deadly, humble and very proud mob.
Watta man I say xoxo. Special roots that I will cherish, share and grow with my grandchildren. Ur great dad and I know I’m not the only one to say so but as ur biggest critic at times, daughter, mate through life and ur biggest fan. I wanna say thank u for being you and I love u beyond words.
I think u r amazing! Even though u work your guts out (13 hr days for 20 yrs), u always made sure ur tribe never went without. U taught us to fight hard and stay together as proud people, especially when times R tough. Biggest respect, love and admiration.
U did this all for all of us, u have given everything to give us a voice. Thank u for sparking the big fire in my belly and starting many other fires in sure.
No matter how hard it gets, we remember just how blessed we are and what special mob shaped our family. I know ur grandparents would b so proud of u, ur mum n dad especially. Let’s hope our generation and the generations to come, can say the same.
You laid many foundations for us to continue to live this deadly legacy. Eternally grateful ox for the example you have been to all of us, truly honourable stuff u’ve done and continue to do dad. I admire u and look up to u the more and more I learn from u.
Heaps and heaps of love n respect from ur big dort and ur 5 grandsons.
Kaiyu Moura, Tiga junior, Reilly, Jandarcan, Djidari and Joongurra.
Keeping the fires of our old people burning strong forever.