The founder of indigenous arts hub Gallery Kaeila was farewelled on Friday, remembered for his passion for Aboriginal culture and local artists.
Shepparton elder Les ‘‘Lally’’ Saunders was responsible for initiating the gallery in 2006, and worked tirelessly to maintain its success.
Hundreds of family, friends and supporters packed out the Sir Ian McLennan Centre in Mooroopna to farewell the proud Yorta Yorta man with a huge heart and even bigger love for his family.
Les, who spent much of his later life with the Kaeila Institute and Gallery, grew up in Mooroopna and undertook back-breaking work in potato and fruit picking, worked in a shoe shop before a stint in the army and a move to Melbourne to undertake work as a sub-editor.
Les’s brother Leon Saunders said his brother had a great love for his family, particularly his children Jason, Caine, Damien and Nicole.
‘‘He was a man who had a great passion for aboriginal art, fishing and sitting around a campfire telling yarns,’’ Leon said.
‘‘Les became unwell a couple of years ago, and he has now started his new journey into The Dreamtime, where he is flying high like an eargle, free from all pain and worries.
‘‘We love and we are going to miss you so much, my brother.’’
More in tomorrow's Shepparton News.