Born in Broken Hill in 1934, Marie spent much of her childhood there before marrying and settling in Menindee, where she has remained for over 55 years, raising her ten children.
Marie is a strong woman who has worked tirelessly for her family and the Menindee community. She was the driving force of the Nyampa Aboriginal Housing Company, until her retirement in 2003. Marie had developed Nyampa into a successful multi-purpose Aboriginal organisation that provided community services to the whole community, employment, training and health programs for the Aboriginal community as well as Aboriginal housing. Marie was a key player in the Menindee Meals on Wheels and she managed the Menindee Homes for the Aged.
Health, education and justice were important to Marie and it was for this reason that Marie was actively involved in the Menindee Central School Mothers Club whilst her children were students at the school. She was a member of the Menindee Nursing Service Auxiliary and she facilitated the Menindee Local Area Command Aboriginal Consultative Committee for the NSW Police Service. In these positions Marie was able to effect positive change.
Marie has also been instrumental in organisations in Menindee including the inaugural Menindee Rugby League Club and the Golden Granny project that raised much needed funds for the Royal Flying Doctor Service. She also organised fundraising for families in the community who suffered trauma or to assist children in their sporting ventures. At the age of 76 she has taken on the role of President of the Menindee CWA and re-enrolled in the Menindee Central School Adult Aboriginal Studies Class.
The Order of Australia Medal (OAM) that Marie received in June 1988 for her services to the community was in recognition of her hard work, commitment and compassion. Marie is also a Justice of the Peace (JP). She received two other awards recognising her efforts for her community, these being the Central Darling Shire Australia Day Award and Rotary Club Paul Harris Award for community service: we understand that this was the first time that the award was presented to a woman.
Her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren have remained a focus of Marie’s at all times. After the death of her first husband, Marie raised nine children, requiring her to work in such jobs as picking potatoes and onions and cooking at the local hotel, whilst maintaining her household. She remarried some years later and had another son. She has been able to support all of her children in their education, employment and in their lives in general by being a good role model and by being supportive. She provides never-ending support to her 17 grandchildren and her many great-grandchildren. Marie is a wonderful cook, for which she has received many accolades; she has passed this art and passion onto her children, grandchildren and is now teaching her young great-children the art of cooking.
Marie has had a life that has been marked by her commitment to helping others, especially her family. Life has not been easy for Marie but her strength, commitment and passion has been nothing short of amazing. She is an Unsung Hero.From the book Menindee’s Unsung Aboriginal Heroes, Menindee Central School.