Celebrated pastoralist admits to child sex charges

Headshot of Cally Dupe
Cally DupeCountryman
Robin Yeeda.
Camera IconRobin Yeeda. Credit: Leon Mead Photography

One of the State’s most celebrated Indigenous pastoralists has admitted to a string of horrific child sex offences believed to have taken place at the Kimberley station his family has run for two decades.

Lamboo Station former manager Robin Yeeda, 45, looks set to join his older brother Laurie in jail after pleading guilty to four charges, including three counts of indecent dealing with a child younger than 13, and one count of indecent dealing with a child aged between 13 and 16.

Laurie, 53, was jailed for 9½ years in May after pleading guilty to 16 charges of “extraordinarily serious” sex offences against four victims aged between 10 and 15 between 1994 and 2017.

The pair’s other brother Darryl — a station worker at Lamboo — was found not guilty of similar offences in August after pleading not guilty to two indecent dealing charges.

Both Laurie and Robin’s offences are believed to have occurred at the 360,000ha station run by the family 50km west of Halls Creek.

During Laurie’s trial in May, the court heard he had preyed on some of his victims as they were sleeping and had “no regard” for their wellbeing or happiness.

The offences put a stain on the historic station where Robin’s late father, Charlie Yeeda, was born in 1930 and started a lifetime of droving cattle in the Kimberley.

Lamboo has been run by members of the Yeeda family since Robin took on the lease in 1997.

Five years later, he was officially appointed manager and the family formed Ngunjiwirri Aboriginal Corporation to ramp up pastoral activity at the property.

In recent years, Lamboo has been lauded as a model for other Indigenous rural pastoral enterprises — running 2500 head of Brahman cross cattle for live export.

The pastoral enterprise was acclaimed by the State Government when it held the first low-stress stock handling workshop on an Indigenous cattle station in the Kimberley in 2018.

It is understood Robin left the property some time during the past 18 months and now lives in Broome.

His niece — WA Rural woman of the year 2017 winner Darrylin Gordon — is now in charge of the station.

Two thirds of the property has been leased to well-known Kimberley pastoralists Haydn and Jane Sale’s business Yougawalla Services for the past five years.

The Yeeda name is synonymous with the pastoral industry, with one of Robin’s other brothers, Cyril, arguably the most well known Indigenous pastoralist in WA.

Robin will be sentenced in the District Court in Kununurra on May 5.

Separately, he is also facing a single charge for unlawful and indecent assault and will face Halls Creek Magistrate’s Court on June 9.

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