You may recognise this staff member, as one of Rugby League’s most memorable players.

Rising to the top of the game in the 1980’s, Sam Backo was named one of the greatest Aboriginal players of the 20th Century, but there’s a lot more to Sam than his sporting abilities – and it starts right from the very beginning. 

On the 1st of January 1961, in the North Queensland township of Ingham, Former chairwoman of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, Evelyn Scott, gave birth to Sam.

Born into the Warrgamay people, rainforest Murris whose traditional lands are north of Townsville in the Herbert River Valley – Sam has always been surrounded by his family’s rich culture. 

Following his retirement, Sam was awarded the Australian Sports Medal in 2000 for his contribution to Australia’s standing in rugby league. He’s now a part of team TRACQS, working to make a difference in the lives of those in need of a fresh start. 

TRACQS Time to Work Coordinator and former Rugby League Player Sam Backo, smiling inside the TRAQCS office
TRACQS Time to Work Employment Service Coordinator, Sam Backo.

Sam is also a wonderful role model for the community at large and this is shown through his compassionate response to the Anti Ice Campaign and as a Director for the Tully Ward of the North Queensland Land Council.

Sam joins TRACQS as a part of our services for the Time to Work Employment Service (TWES) program – a national voluntary in-prison employment service targeted at adult sentenced Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners.

Sam (far right) and TRACQS welcoming the PeoplePlus Australia team to collaborate in strengthening our commitment and services for the Time to Work Employment Service program.

Sam’s role, is to assists Participants to undertake a comprehensive assessment of their employment barriers, develop a detailed transition plan and facilitate a transfer of the participant from the in-prison service to their post-release employment service provider.

He also assists individuals to prepare for release from prison, as the program enables individuals to access support, prepare to find employment and reintegrate into the community.

Sam has been a phenomenal role model to our participants, providing them with the hope, motivation and support they need, to transition back into society. 

Appreciated, respected and loved by our participants, staff members and Australia as a whole, Sam is a gift that keeps on giving, and we’re incredibly proud to have him as a part of the TRACQS team.