Ian Abdulla, father, grandfather, uncle, artist, storyteller and family friend was farewelled in Barmera on Thursday 10 February. The final ceremony was a testament to how many lives Ian touched through his work and friendship. As well as his family, other people travelled great distances from NSW and Victoria and messages of condolence were received from around the world.
We made the 20 hour return drive through central Victoria, passing recently flooded towns to Barmera, where we stayed by Lake Bonney. We drove through country that Ian depicted so memorably in his stories and his paintings: the citrus orchards, vineyards and the backwaters of the Murray.
Ian always wanted to make a book that recorded his family’s history and in 1993 he wrote and illustrated As I grew Older, the life and times of a Nunga growing up along the Murray River. The following year, Tucker was published.
Ian's books give great insight into life on the Murray River during a particular period of time. They are a unique record that anyone in the world can enjoy for their humour, pathos and humanity. No longer in print, you can still by them on the internet, they are not hard to find.
Ian was a generous and thoughtful man. When
our daughter was born he gave her a painting which has hung in her room from day one. She is now almost 19. It came as no surprise, to learn at the service, that he had given other friends paintings when their children were born.
My thoughts are with Tracy, Owen and Joseph and all those grandchildren who will no longer be able to take their Papa Bling to show and tell.
Read more about Ian: The Age Newspaper