Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised this story contains the name and image of a deceased Indigenous person.

The first Indigenous athlete to represent Australia in any major sport, including rugby league, Lionel Morgan, passed away last weekend at the age of 85.

A member of the Indigenous Team of the Century, Morgan represented Queensland 16 times throughout his career against touring international teams and interstate matches as a winger.

He would also play and coach the Wynnum Manly Seagulls and feature in Test matches for Australia against France in 1960 and was selected in the 1960 Rugby League World Cup squad alongside Ken Irvine, Norm Provan, Reg Gasnier and John Raper.

ARLC Chairman Peter V'landys led the tributes to Morgan, who has paved the way for fellow Indigenous players such as Steve Renouf, Latrell Mitchell and Jack Wighton in the sport of rugby league.

"Lionel Morgan was a trailblazer," Mr Peter V'landys said.

“Rugby league is incredibly proud of his legacy as the first ever Indigenous athlete to represent Australia in any major code.

“He was selected in the Australian Rugby League's [Indigenous] team of the century in 2008. It was a fitting reward and left him proudly alongside the likes of Arthur Beetson, Johnathan Thurston and Steve Renouf.

"The Australian Rugby League Commission and everyone across the game will be very saddened by Lionel's passing, but his legacy will remain forever. He was and always will be an inspiration to many of our players."