The Goldfields-Esperance region pay tribute to 'Alby'

Always remembered: Family member Harry Graham reflects on the life of his dear relative Albert McKenzie, a Ngadju man from Norseman. Photo: Jesinta Burton.
Always remembered: Family member Harry Graham reflects on the life of his dear relative Albert McKenzie, a Ngadju man from Norseman. Photo: Jesinta Burton.

He was fair but tough – that was his style of play.

Harry Graham, relative.

Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that this article may contain photographs of people who have passed away.

Family and friends have paid tribute to someone they described as one of the best footballers from Ngadju country.

Family member Harry Graham reflected on the life of his dear relative Albert McKenzie, a Norseman man and an extraordinary football player.

Mr McKenzie was raised in Norseman and lived primarily in the Goldfields, however did venture to Esperance regularly.

Mr Graham said Mr McKenzie was a well-respected man who was passionate about his football and fearless in play.

“He was a real family man, a good friend all round to those who knew him, very popular within the community, very generous and just an all-round good bloke,” he said.

“He was a sensational player, fearless, determined and his direct attack on the ball sent shivers down the backs of any opposing team.

“The Norseman Lions, the Ngadju Lions, won many games with Alby in the centre, directing play.

“He was fair but tough – that was his style of play.”

Mr Graham said it was playing for the Mines, his beloved blue and white, that brought the best out in ‘Alby’.

“His trusty left foot was the centre of attention and he played many other games for the combined sides down in Perth,” he said.

“He retired from the game in his late forties so he still kept his skills up and he was a role model for the young kids coming through, you know?

“I think his legacy would be to the younger generation that is coming up – he’d tell them to stay in school, to get involved with sports and to really have a go at it, stick at it and, if any problems come your way, make sure to talk about them.

“He’d say to talk to the elders, to those around you – get that support.”

Mr Graham extended thanks to his little brother ‘Alby’ for the great times they shared and sent his condolences to the family.

“He was my little brother and, on behalf of the Graham family, we just want to thank him for the good times we all had together,” he said.

A funeral service for Mr McKenzie is due to be held on Friday, August 31.