Legend Graeme 'Porky' Brooke on 3KND As we Celebrate NAIDOC Week 2020



Graeme “Porky” Brooke is a Gunditjmara man on his mother’s side. Gwen grew up in Frangliham, near Warrnambool, and worked as a public servant in the Aboriginal Health Service and Commonwealth Employment Service. Porky’s parents settled in Flemington after they married. Their early days were at 93 Princes Street, which was purchased for about $14,000 when Porky was about ten. The family outgrew this home before moving to 66 Victoria Street. Porky Yarns with 3KND Natasha Ferre about his past and what NAIDOC means to him.



Porky says he was a chubby baby. His mother’s aunty grabbed him by the cheeks and called him “Porky”. The name stuck. Everyone called Graeme “Porky”; even his teachers at school. His father, Graeme Snr, was a labourer and a boxer who fought the prelims on TV Ringside under the name of Graeme Douglas. Porky’s mother Gwen is a Gunditjmara woman, who grew up in Frangliham, near Warrnambool, and worked as a public servant in the Aboriginal Health Service and Commonwealth Employment Service. Porky’s parents settled in Flemington after they married. Their early days were at 93 Princes Street, which was purchased for about $14,000 when Porky was about ten. The family outgrew this home before moving to 66 Victoria Street.


Porky started school at Flemington Primary. In 1974, along with many others at the time, he transferred to the newly opened Debney Meadows. It was while studying at Debney Park High School that his boxing career took off. Porky grew up in a Flemington that was changing, with an influx of new migrants and working families into the adjacent high-rise estate. He saw no problems in a young Aboriginal growing up in Flemington with friends from many different backgrounds (recalling in particular new Australians from Turkish, Greek, Spanish and Vietnamese families). He remembers good times with lots of great mates.

He rode his pushbike around the Flemington flats and caught tadpoles and frogs from the Moonee Ponds Creek. “The kids had a ball in those days.” Porky’s connection with Flemington and Kensington continued with his marriage to a Smith Street resident. In 1981 the young couple also moved into a house in Rankins Road, Kensington. There was no café culture in Flemington in those days. Porky used to hang out at the old hotels: the Centennial and Bayview (no longer there or pubs) and the Doutta Galla, Hardiman’s and the Palace (now the Quiet Man Irish Pub).

In 1986 Porky moved out of Flemington, like many people at the time to a larger house further afield, but in his case still in the west. But Porky has maintained a connection with the area. He also continues to keep in touch with many of his neighbours and friends. And to us in Flemington and Kensington, he’ll always be a local hero. Story told to the Flemington Heritage paper.



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