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The passing of our self-determination Matriarch

It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the passing of our Dja Dja Wurrung and Yorta Yorta Elder, Aunty Fay Carter, fondly known by many as Guka (meaning grandmother).

Aunty Fay, a descendant of Dja Dja Wurrung Ancestor Henry Harmony Nelson, contributed immensely to the self-determination of Dja Dja Wurrung People through our Recognition and Settlement Agreement journey over more than 15 years. Aunty’s ongoing commitment to realising our Dhelkunya Dja (Healing Country) Plan goals continued until her passing.

For over 50 years, Aunty Fay dedicated herself to her Dja Dja Wurrung and Yorta Yorta People and all Victorian Aboriginal communities. In the proud tradition of self-determination, her work has helped strengthen families, reform welfare programs, and set the standard for Aboriginal aged-care services.

Aunty Fay always strived for the best outcomes for Aboriginal People, whether she was volunteering to progress self-determination of her People, working for government, or for the community-run organisations she served. Many have lived healthier and more prosperous lives as a result of her commitment.

She was happiest when she was with her family – her children Wendy and Rodney, and grandchildren Drew, Joshua, Natasha, Neane, Rodney Jnr and James – for whom she always had immense pride.

DJAARA acknowledges Aunty Fay’s unwavering commitment to Djaara, our self-determination and our aspirations for the next generation.

When you look at the policies they’ve put in place over the years to try make us go away, I think it must have really annoyed and amazed them that we’re still here! Like removing our children, or trying to breed out our colour, or sending our men away from the missions and trying to split up the family units that way. So many things they’ve done to try and make us go away. It must be a very sore point! Because there’s one thing for sure, we’ll never go away. We will never go away.”

– Aunty Fay Carter (Djarra Family Book)

At this time, DJAARA sends our deepest condolences to the Carter and Nelson immediate and extended families, our Dja Dja Wurrung Community, the Victorian Aboriginal Community, and all who have strived for change alongside Aunty Fay.

May she go in peace to the dreaming and be received by her Ancestors with the love she generously shared with her family and our community.

* Image shared with permission from the Carter family.