In memory of Yami Lester, atom bomb victim and Aboriginal land rights warrior

Yami Lester

It is with great sorry that we write to you today about the passing of Yami Lester. Yankunytjatjara Elder, atomic test survivor, Aboriginal rights activist, father, grandfather and great grandfather, Yami's voice and support was key to the formation and successful work of the No Dump Alliance. When the No Dump Alliance formed in May 2016 Mr Lester told his story to highlight the dangers of the nuclear industry. He became the ambassador for the Alliance and, together with his daughters, Karina and Rose, spoke loud and strong against nuclear waste dumping in South Australia. 


Yami told us:


“In 1953, I was just ten years old when the bombs went off at Emu and Maralinga, I didn’t know anything about nuclear issues back then, none of us knew what was happening. I got sick and went blind from the Totem 1 fallout from those tests, and lots of our people got sick and died also.


"Now I’m 74 years old and I know about nuclear issues. Members from the APY, Maralinga-Tjarutja and Arabunna, Kokatha lands say we don’t want nuclear waste on our land. There are big concerns. And I worry because I know it is not safe for South Australia land and the people. Why does the Government keep bringing back nuclear issues when we know the problems last forever? 

"It means a lot to me to be in this Alliance. I would like others to listen and join, become a member and fight together.” 

All our love and sorry goes to the family at this hard time and to all of the community. We have lost a truly remarkable person.

​​Follow the link to leave a tribute message that will be passed onto the Lester family. If your organisation would like to send a statement regarding this news please forward to: and it will be passed onto the family and shared on the website.