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Champion Aboriginal Australian boxer, Hector Thompson (1949-2020), was in residential and kinship care as a child.

Hector Thompson was born in Kempsey, NSW. He lived in Kinchela Training Home for Aboriginal Boys Home on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales.

Kinchela Boys Home is one of the most notorious institutions associated with the Stolen Generations. Conditions within the institution were harsh and hostile. This was a place where physical hardship, punishment, cruelty, alienation and abuse…are documented as having been part of the day-to-day life endured by boys who were kept and made to work there (Kinchela Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation).

Hector’s interest in and passion for boxing begin in Kinchela; some say he was only 5 years of age when he started in the sport. Hector’s Aunty Irene removed the boy from Kinchela when Hector was thirteen and took him to Armidale in the Northern Tablelands.

Thompson became a professional boxer at the age of nineteen.

Known for his exceptional physical strength, Thompson’s stiff jab and body punching earned him 20 wins from his first 23 bouts…One of Thompson’s early opponents, Roko Spanja, died from injuries sustained in a tenth round knockout loss to Thompson in 1970 (Cupitt).

Hector Thompson won the NSW state lightweight title in March 1971 and moved to Queensland in 1972 after he was taken up by managers Brian Ogilvie and Doug James. Thompson became a favourite at Brisbane Festival Hall, becoming known as The Brisbane Bomber’.

He built up a 16-fight winning streak including two defences of his Australian title before meeting New Zealand lightweight champion Manny Santos. After rising from a third-round knockdown Thompson battled back to earn a draw over twelve rounds in one of the best fights seen on television in Australia (Australian Boxing Zone)

During his career, Thompson fought in eighty-seven bouts, winning seventy-three of those. He held the Australian and Commonwealth junior welterweight titles from 1972 until 1977. He competed in four divisions and he fought for—but lost—two world titles—against Roberto Duran from Panama in 1973 and of Colombia in 1975. Thompson made international headlines when, in April 1976, American boxer Chuck Wilburn died from injuries in a bout with Thompson in Sydney.

Hector Thompson retired from boxing in 1980 and was inducted into the Australian Boxing Hall of Fame in 2005.


Cupitt, Paul. “Aussie Title Bids Part III: Hector Thompson vx. Roberto Duran.” Grueling Truth, 2017.

Harper, Lachlan. “Tributes flow for Australian boxing great Hector Thompson.” Port Lincoln Times, 22 May 2020.

“Hector Thompson.” Australian Boxing Zone, 2020.

Kieza, Grantlee. “Vale Hector Thompson, the man brawled with Duran.” The Australian, 20 May 2020.

“Kinchela Boys Home.”  Kinchela Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation, 2020.

“Kinchela Training Home for Aboriginal Boys (1923-1970).” Find & Connect, 2021.

Image available here.