Sorry Business – Passing of Aunt Maureen O’Donnell

11 November, 2022

11 November 2022

NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) and the Land Rights network mourn the passing of Wilyakali Elder Maureen O’Donnell.

Maureen spent her life campaigning for social justice for Aboriginal people and was deeply involved in her community. Most notable for the Land Rights Network, Maureen was the Chairperson of the Broken Hill Local Aboriginal Land Council for numerous years, and remained an active Board member.

Maureen was a prominent and respected leader whose legacy will live on and inspire generations to come. In addition to her Land Rights advocacy, she was on the Mutawintji National Park Board of Management, was Chairperson of the Maari Ma Board since 1997, and the Chairperson of the Western Aboriginal Legal Service for 10 years. She provided major input into the 2018 Wilcannia Aboriginal Community Heritage Study conducted by the Wilcannia Local Aboriginal Land Council and Central Darling Shire, as well as always giving generously of her detailed knowledge of Mutawintji and the Paakantji language.

She raised her nine children after the death of her husband at an early age. In later years, Maureen enjoyed being a grandmother of 37 children, great-grandmother of 58 children and great-great grandmother of four children.

NSWALC Councillor for the Western Region, Ross Hampton said that Maureen’s dedication to Land Rights and her people will be remembered by generations to follow.

“I have had the honour and pleasure of knowing Maureen for many years. She was hardworking, resilient, and was always focused on bettering her community. Her legacy will benefit Aboriginal people not only in Broken Hill and the Western Region, but across NSW. I will always remember Maureen with respect and admiration,” he said.

“On behalf of the Land Rights network, I send my deepest condolences to her family.”

NSWALC’S thoughts go out to Maureen’s family and the Broken Hill community at this very sad time.

On behalf of the family, those who wish to celebrate Maureen’s life are invited to attend her service.

It will be held at the Broken Hill Civic Centre on Monday the 21st November 2022 at 11am.

The service will be live-streamed by Fred J Potter & Sons for those who can’t attend in person. Please check the funeral director’s page on Facebook for streaming details closer to the date.

Aunt Maureen O’Donnell, during her Legends of Land Rights interview with the late Sol Bellear


We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners of the lands where we work as well as across the lands we travel through. We also acknowledge our Elders past, present and emerging.

Artwork Credit: Craig Cromelin, from a painting he did titled, "4 favourite fishing holes". It is a snippet of his growing years on the Lachlan River, featuring yabby, turtle, fish and family.