A guard of honour will be held on Friday before the funeral of Aunty Phyllis Corowa. All are invited to attend.
A guard of honour will be held on Friday before the funeral of Aunty Phyllis Corowa. All are invited to attend. John Gass /TWE010312kanaka

Guard of honour to remember Aunty Phyllis

INDIGENOUS rights pioneer and Tweed resident of almost 70 years, Aunty Phyllis Corowa, will be honoured and respected with a guard of honour in Chinderah on Friday.

Aunty Phyllis, 95, who died peacefully at her Chinderah home on Sunday, will be remembered for her pioneering work in the Tweed community as a founding member of the Australian South Sea United Council (now the Tweed South Sea Islander Association, TWSIA).

She was also a founding signature in establishing the Minjungbal Museum, and a key figure in speaking out against injustices carried out upon her people.

A descendant of the South Sea Islander people taken from Vanuatu to work in Queensland's sugar industry in the late 1800s, Aunty Phyllis lived for the majority of her life in Chinderah, not far from the burial ground of many of those indentured workers.

 

Aunty Phyllis Corowa (right) with Emily May Enares (mother).
Aunty Phyllis Corowa (right) with Emily May Enares (mother). Contributed

Niece Louise Togo, who remembers Aunty Phyllis fondly for her work in providing her people with a voice, said her Aunty was held in the highest regard within the community.

"She was such an activist in a generation that were really well known and respected in the community," Miss Togo said.

"While she was an activist for Aboriginal and South Sea Islander human rights, she was very graceful, was a lady and was highly respected."

A guard of honour for Aunty Phyllis will be held along Wommin Bay Rd on Friday before a funeral service at Tweed Heads Memorial Gardens from 1pm.

The guard of honour, to which all of the Tweed community is invited, will span from Wommin Bay Rd to Jenners Corner as Aunty Phyllis' hurse makes it way along the riverfront, past Corowa Park (named after Aunty Phyllis), and the First Chinderah Scout Hall where the original TWSIA was gathered.

"We're hoping that the community will come together for a send off in Chinderah that Aunty Phyllis deserves," Miss Togo said.

FUNERAL:

 

Friday, April 8 at Tweed Heads Memorial Gardens (chapel), 176 Kirkwood Rd W, Tweed Heads South.

GUARD OF HONOUR:

 

The guard of honour will precede the funeral service and residents are invited to join in between Wommin Bay Road and Jenners Corner at 12pm.


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