Born at Cape Bedford Mission in 1932, Eric Deeral was evacuated to Woorabinda during World War II, where he was educated at the Woorabinda Central School. He left school at the age of 13 and held down carious jobs as a labourer, bush worker and stockman.
Eric continued to educate himself and, in 1957, became the Chairman of the Hope Vale Mission Community Council and then a liasion officer with the QLD Aboriginal Affairs Department, In 1973 he was appointed as a consultant to the QLD Minister for Aboriginal Affairs.
In the 1974 election – 10 years after his Elders and the Elders of the surrounding Cape York and Torres Strait communities had met at Palm Island and selected him to stand as a candidate for parliament – he defeated six other candidates to win the state electorate of Cook, representing the National Party.
Pictured: Uncle Eric Deeral and Tiga Bayles