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Media release

A group of people with media around desk with item from the collection

Photo: Graham 'Polly' Farmer collection with Minister Murray, Minister Templeman, Farmer's daughter Kim and grandson Cole

  • Graham 'Polly' Farmer is a Western Australian sporting legend.
  • State Library purchased at auction a collection of documents and medals.
  • Collection includes Farmer's 1960 Sandover Medal, 1959 Simpson Medal and his MBE.

Farmer was an Australian Rules Football player and coach known for revolutionising ruckwork and handballing.

The collection includes:

  • 1960 Sandover Medal — one of the three Sandover Medals he won in his football career, accompanied by a collection of congratulatory letters and telegrams to Farmer on his win.
  • 1959 Simpson Medal — with a letter from the East Perth Football Club congratulating him on winning the Medal for the 1959 Grand Final and for also winning the Club's Best and Fairest.
  • 1971 Member of the British Empire medal — with certificate signed by Queen Elizabeth. Farmer was the first Australian footballer to receive a Queen's honour.
  • Collection of archival materials covering Farmer's life and career, including a 1977 telegraph to Farmer from the Premier, Charles Court, wishing the Western Australian side luck in the first State of Origin match which Farmer coached.

Born in WA, Farmer spent his childhood in Sister Kate's orphanage as a member of the Stolen Generation.

He began his football career with the East Perth Football Club in 1953 and his career in football is legendary, winning five premierships in the State's competition, three Sandover Medals for fairest and best player and four Simpson Medals for best player in the Grand Final.

Farmer believed that all Aboriginal children should be able to reach their potential and established the Graham 'Polly' Farmer Foundation to help young Aboriginal people follow their dreams.

The Foundation is a member of the State Library's Literacy Alliance, a group of government and non-government organisations working together to improve literacy in our communities.

The State Library will preserve this important collection and keep it safe for future generations. Some of the items will be put on display once preservation work has been carried out.

Graham Polly Farmer collection with Minister Murray, Minister Templeman and Farmer's daughter Kim and grandson Cole talking in front of items from the collection.

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Page reviewed 27 February 2023