25 May 2020
Sorry Business – The Passing of Kamilaroi Elder Aunty Yvonne Kent
NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) and the Land Rights network mourns the passing of Kamilaroi Elder Aunty Yvonne Kent.
Aunty Yvonne was the Chair, former Deputy Chair and longtime Board member of the Tamworth Local Aboriginal Land Council (TLALC) and was an active leader in the Tamworth community.
She dedicated her life to serving her community in the areas of land rights, education and health, volunteered in many local organisations, and was a calm and steady influence for young Aboriginal and non-indigenous women alike.
Aunty Yvonne was a powerful advocate for practical reconciliation in the region and advocated for historical acceptance of the past, equality and equity, institutional integrity, race relations and unity. One of her succinct sayings was “We are one”, and she guided others to take meaningful personal action to progress reconciliation.
She helped establish the Tamworth Regional Council Aboriginal Liaison Committee, served as a Board member of the Tamworth Family Support Service and was deeply involved with its Reconciliation Action Plan. She was a member of the Family Law Planning Network Aboriginal Sub Committee and actively volunteered at the Coledale Community Centre’s soup kitchen.
Aunty Yvonne was awarded the 2016 Tamworth NAIDOC Female Elder of the Year; was the 2018 Local Woman of the Year for the Tamworth electorate; and in 2019 the Zonta Club of Tamworth recognised her service to women by naming her the Indigenous Advocate Woman of the Year.
NSWALC Aboriginal Land Council Deputy Chair and Northern Region Councillor Charles Lynch said that Aunty Yvonne was a true example of leading from the heart.
“Aunty Yvonne was an inspiration to us all, with her consistent contributions to our community and her steadfast dedication to our young people. She saw the best in the worst and the worst in the best, but she didn’t judge anyone,” he said.
“She advocated always that we must come together as one and share not only the oldest living culture but all cultures. She will be greatly missed.”
“I will miss Aunty Yvonne’s infectious smile and sense of humour and would like to pass on from my family and the Land Rights network, our deepest condolences to her family at this time”.
Tamworth Local Aboriginal Land Council CEO Fiona Snape said Aunty Yvonne contributed enormously to the LALC and her passing is a huge loss to the Aboriginal and wider community.
“Aunty Yvonne was a tireless worker who always made herself available to the community, day or night. Whether she was advising on a diversionary program, speaking with Ministers or cleaning up at the soup kitchen, nothing was ever a problem for her,” she said.
“She has been a constant, gracious and wise leader, and we are devastated to lose her.”
Aunty Yvonne Kent’s family has advised that a Memorial Service will be held at Trelawney Station when the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.