Community celebrates the life of Vince Coulthard

Sign posts showing some of the places Vince has lived and worked.
Sign posts showing some of the places Vince has lived and worked.

Hundreds of people from across the country gathered in Ikara Wilpena to celebrate a life filled with extraordinary trials and tribulations.

Vince Coulthard thought he was attending an event to celebrate his daughter, the first Adnyamathanha person to become a Senior Manager at Wilpena.

But as soon as the celebration started, in true 'This is your Life' fashion, host for the day Clinton Dadleh changed the focus with the words: "Uncle Vince, This is Your Life".

Vince was given a standing ovation from the entire crowd as he made his way to the front of the room.

Mr Dadleh then took the crowd on a journey through Vince's life, starting from his birth at Leigh Creek to his early life growing up at Nepabunna.

There were many guest speakers including Bob Ellis an anthropologist who has known Vince since he was 13 years old and old workmates from National Parks.

There were also video messages from people who couldn't be there, including Adam Goodes and Senator Patrick Dodson who joked about how they get mistaken for each other.

Vince thanking people for attending the surprise event.

Vince thanking people for attending the surprise event.

The spotlight was also on Vince's many achievements, including his time as an ATSIC Councillor, CEO of Umeewarra Media and of course his work for the Adnyamathanha people.

Renowned South Australian artist Anne Best presented the man of the hour with a portrait, while the community gifted Vince with a unique Akubra Hat which had the Adnyamathanha Flag printed on it.

Gayle Mathers also wrote a book about Vince to mark the occasion, now available from the Umeewarra office.

To round out the celebration, Vince was handed a big red book embossed with the words 'This is Your Life', full of letters from the Governor of South Australia, the Premier, the Leader of the Opposition, Shadow Aboriginal Affairs Minister Kyam Maher and Joy McKean.