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Indigenous matriarch enters the Dreaming

Aboriginal Catholic communities in NSW and Victoria are mourning the loss of Mrs Alice Ellen Kelly, who passed away last week.

Alice had recently celebrated her 84th birthday at the time of her death on 30 June. She was predeceased by her husband Alf and Max, one of her sons. She left 10 children, 53 grandchildren, 109 great-grandchildren and 5 great great grandchildren.

Alice was named Aboriginal Woman of the Year in 1988, and was present on many government and non-government committees concerned with land preservation and cultural heritage, including the World Heritage Committee. She was widely recognised for her work in preserving the Aboriginal heritage of the Mutthi Mutthi people and the Mungo National Park area of Western New South Wales.

According to a statement issued by the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council (NATSICC) yesterday, Alice believed that among the many gifts that the antiquity and cultural heritage of Mungo has to offer Australia was the gift of Love, Peace and Harmony. She wished that Australians could "stop, listen and receive the gift".

Alice was a strong believer in the possibilites of education, particularly in early childhood development.

Her strong Catholic faith has been handed down through four generations of her descendants. One of her children - Joyce Smith - was a founder of the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry Melbourne (ACMM). One of her grandchildren - Vicki Walker - has been Coordinator of the ACMM for the last eleven years.


National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council
Aboriginal Catholic Ministry Melbourne
Yarra Healing: Towards Reconcilation with Indigenous Australians
Lake Mungo: the birthplace of homo sapiens?

9 Jul 2003