A septuagenarian hotelier and financial advisor has been found guilty of swindling nearly $3 million from the Yugunga-Nya trust, supposedly to prop up his pub.  

Thomas Graham Greenaway operated as trustee to the charitable fund, distributing mining royalties to the Aboriginal people who owned the land.

Greenway is part-owner of the troubled Freemason’s Hotel, in which he had already invested around $300k.

Thomas Greenaway. Image: Yugunga-Nya trust

In 2021 he was accused and faced 33 charges of stealing and one of gain benefit by defraud, relating to taking $2.9 million from the trust.

He was found guilty of the 34 charges and sentenced to six years and four months’ prison, with eligibility for parole after four years, and ordered to repay $2.1 million.

In response to the defence claim that the money had in fact been invested in the hotel in order to create training opportunities for the Yugunga-Nya people, Judge MacLean suggested this amounted to a “cynical device to hide your criminality”.

A year later, then 71-year-old Greenway won an appeal of the convictions. He was acquitted of the charge of gaining benefit by defraud, and the court ordered a new trial on the charges of theft.

While the Court of Appeal quashed the convictions, it withheld its reasons.

The new jury trial before Geraldton Magistrates Court took eight days, seeing testimony by police, Greenway’s business partners and former members of the Yugunga-Nya’s trust advisory committee. Prosecutor Jason Chu offered that Greenway had used the trust like a “personal ATM” since 2013.

Chu stressed that this was not about the financial advisor making poor choices on investments, it was a case of “abusing his power” to prop up his Hotel, telling the jury that all the trust beneficiaries had been impacted by the misdeed.

Greenway’s defence repeated its argument that investment in the Freemason’s was about acting on behalf of the trust, citing minutes from an advisory committee meeting in 2009 outlining that the trustee would investigate “employment opportunities of [the] Yugunga-Nya people”.

The family-friendly pub hosts entertainment every night, regular events, an all-day kitchen and patron incentives such as travel giveaways. It provides accommodation, and is proximate to Geraldton training institutions, including TAFE. It was argued these aspects made for hospitality training and future employment opportunities for the Yugunga-Nya people. 

But the jury was unconvinced, and found him guilty of the charges. Greenaway will return to Court for sentencing in July. 


  1. Another reason that I am happy that my fellow Australians voted the Referendum down.I worked and lived in Aboriginal Communites as a contractor in the N.T. and Qld on Government and private projects and the amount of money that I saw wasted /embezzeled stolen .etc. etc from the corporations.was astounding but most were run by family and nothing was done about it and very few like this publican are ever brought to justice.Its time a full audit was done but both Labor and Liberal are too scared to touch it.

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