Lloyd McDermott

The Story of Lloyd Clive McDermott
Lloyd McDermott himself was by no means an ordinary Rugby Union player.

Lloyd Clive McDermott, born 1939, is Australia's first indigenous barrister, and also the second Aboriginal person to represent his country in rugby union (after Cec Ramalli), playing for the Wallabies against the New Zealand All Blacks in 1962.

During South Africa's era of apartheid, McDermott made a principled decision to withdraw from the squad rather than play as an "honorary white" on a subsequent South African tour. He has inspired many through his sporting, professional and personal life. In 2016, McDermott was a recipient of the Queensland Greats Awards.

Earlier Life

Born at Eidsvold, Queensland, son of a farm labourer, Lloyd Clive McDermott's academic and sporting prowess won him a scholarship to attend the Anglican Church Grammar School at East Brisbane.

Rugby Career

An outstanding schoolboy athlete, he went on to play on the wing for the Australia national rugby union team, commonly known as the Wallabies. Thus, he became the second Indigenous player to represent Australia.

He played 10 rugby union matches for Queensland against Fiji, France and the New Zealand "All Blacks" while studying Law at the University of Queensland.

He then played two Test matches for the Wallabies against the All Blacks in 1962. He refused to participate in a 1963 tour to South Africa, objecting to being classified by the host as an "honorary white" (the only basis on which he could compete against the all-white South African Springbok team under South Africa's apartheid regime).

He returned briefly to rugby league, playing for the Wynnum Manly club in 1964.


Lloyd Clive McDermott became Australia's first Indigenous barrister. After graduating in law, he worked in the Commonwealth Deputy Crown Solicitor's Office, and was then admitted as a barrister in New South Wales.

He now also holds degrees in science and criminology from the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales, where he continues to practise part-time at the bar, mainly in crime and appellate work.

McDermott is also a part-time member of the Mental Health Tribunal of New South Wales, and a trustee of the New South Wales Bar Association Indigenous Lawyers' Trust.

Community Service

Throughout his career, McDermott has given time and energy to promoting opportunities for indigenous youth, male and female, as founder of the Lloyd McDermott Sports Foundation.

In association with the Australian Sports Foundation, the Lloyd McDermott Rugby Development Team works with young people to achieve their dreams through development camps, educational scholarships and mentoring; the Team holds camps, training sessions and competitions in association with NCIE- the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence. He also serves as an Ambassador for Indigenous Fund of the Brisbane Boys College.

In 2009, at the Bar Association of Queensland Annual Conference, a highlight was the launch of the Mullenjaiwakka Trust for Indigenous Legal Students named in honour of Australia's first indigenous barrister Lloyd McDermott (Mullenjaiwakka).

The Trust was established to assist indigenous law students towards a career at the bar. McDermott continues to practise at the New South Wales bar (although still proudly claims his Queensland heritage).