Clarence Valley Independent

NAIDOC Exhibition celebrates Yaegl elders life

Joyce Clague pictured with her brothers and sisters. Image: Contributed.

Lynne Mowbray |

Around 120 family and friends gathered at the Woolitji Centre at Ulmarra on Saturday, to view the NAIDOC week exhibition, which celebrates the life of prominent Yaegl elder, Joyce Clague MBE.

The exhibition is a response to the 2018 NAIDOC theme, Because of Her We Can and celebrates Joyce’s story which also coincides with Joyce’s 80th birthday.

Joyce was born on Ulgundahi Island in 1938 the daughter of Glen and Hilda Mercy (Randall). Joyce left the Clarence in the mid 1950s, intent on pursuing a nursing career at St Margaret’s Hospital in Sydney.

Family responsibilities diverted Joyce from this goal but triggered other opportunities for her to exercise the “fire in the belly” to seek social justice for her people through land rights, education, housing and employment opportunity.

A “brief” bio was written recently for an Aboriginal Women’s conference and records some of Joyce’s contributions to public life.

The NAIDOC week exhibition feature’s audio visual and documentary material as well as memorabilia tracking Joyce’s life and experiences from her childhood on Ulgundahi Island through to her retirement and a quiet life on her beloved Yaegl country.

The exhibition will be open to the public at the Woolitji Centre on the corner of River Street and the Pacific Highway, Ulmarra on Wednesday 11 July from 12noon to 4pm.

Joyce Clague celebrated the opening of a NAIDOC week exhibition about her life, at Ulmarra on Saturday. Image: Lynne Mowbray

Husband Colin gives Joyce a kiss to celebrate the NAIDOC week exhibition of her life which coincides with her 80th birthday. Image: Lynne Mowbray.

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