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Tony Wurramarrba has dedicated his life to the most noble of causes: helping his people.

The chairman of the Anindilyakwa Land Council has invested an enormous amount of time, energy and emotion into the mission.

“We need to create opportunities for our people,” he says.

And that simple statement is at the heart of his philosophy – Indigenous people taking control of their own destiny by becoming economically independent.

Outsiders who meet Tony are impressed by his level-headedness.

“We must be able to take part in the outside world,” he says.

People are also impressed with his honesty.

He does not try to hide from the fact that Groote has many problems, including low attendance at school.

“Only about 20 percent of kids are registered for school and only a small percentage of those actually go to school.”

That’s why he is pushing for a boarding school to be built.

Tony has travelled for thousands of kilometres on behalf of the 14 clans who make up the people of Groote, including several trips to China.

But he is never happier than when he is back on the island.