Mr Copley grew up in residential care.

When he was 10-years-old his mother took him to live at St Francis Anglican Home in Port Adelaide, where he met other First Nations people, including Charles Perkins, Gordon Briscoe and John Moriarty, the first Indigenous person to be selected in the Australian national soccer team.

Mr Copley was part of an extraordinary group that would go on to achieve excellence in education and sport and use that determination to lead the campaign for change in Australia.

In paying tribute to his late friend Mr Moriarty described the strong bond the group formed growing up at the St Francis Anglican Home before they went on to become prominent activists.

In his early days, Mr Copley made a name for himself as a footballer and cricketer.

“The boys achieved a great deal because of our comradeship and also the work we had to do to achieve the sporting levels that we did,” Mr Moriarty said.

“Vince Copley gave good inspiration to some of the younger boys as well.”

In 2000, Mr Copley's activism and love of cricket saw him elevated to Chairman of the National Indigenous Advisory Committee where he organised national and international cricket programs.

He was also instrumental in bringing about the 1988 tour of England which commemorated the first Aboriginal Australian tour of 1868.

His contribution is acknowledged by the Vince Copley Medal an award that recognises the ‘most outstanding cricketer’ at the annual Lord Taverner’s Statewide Indigenous Carnival.

Vincent Copley was 85 years old at the time of his passing.