Wednesday, June 8, 2022
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Celebrating the life of Joyce Ingram

Pastor Peter Walker and Paul Morris led the service on The Block, attended by hundreds who came to pay their respects to an Aboriginal Elder and community leader, a strong and passionate person of faith and grace. The life of the woman known affectionately as “Ninny” Joyce (Ninny is the Wiradjuri word for grandmother) was celebrated in story and song.

Mourners remarked it was fitting the service be held in the open on The Block. Joyce was born in 1922 at Bateman’s Bay, but spent her childhood in Redfern. She lived in Leeton for nine years, marrying Charlie Morgan in 1942. She had four children: Norma, James (born at 138 Lawson Street, Redfern), Ruth and Donald (Donee). After marrying George Lockyer Ingram, she moved back to what later became known as The Block, in 1949. A stalwart defender of The Block, in 2004 she finally left 78 Eveleigh Street to move to Waterloo.

Pastor Walker led a “sister’s choir” for a beautiful rendition of the gospel traditional, “The Sweet By and By”, before reading from the Gospel of John where Jesus promises to prepare a place, a “mansion”, for believers. Eulogists, Tangerine Ingram and Tracy Morgan, spoke of the welcoming place Joyce provided those in need – the fierce hospitality of one who knew injustice and heartache.

Tributes flowed freely, bearing witness to the spirited ways of a woman who served as a carer, a teacher and a mediator in times of trouble. Ali Golding and Shane Phillips mentioned Joyce relaying messages by phone from youth in detention or prison to loved ones in the community.

Lyall and Jenny Munro spoke with deep admiration of Joyce’s unswerving belief in justice and land rights for Aboriginal people. Joyce’s words of wisdom were recalled: “The Block. It was a gathering place for the Aborigines back in them bygone days. It is still a gathering place because it is like Mother Earth calling us back on to this land.”

Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Victor Dominello, paid his respects to the traditional owners of the land and to a person he obviously held in high esteem. Joyce was one of the community leaders who received funding from the Whitlam Government to purchase The Block on behalf of the Aboriginal Housing Company. She was also a life member of The Settlement in Darlington.

Governor Marie Bashir said: “I am honoured to pay my respects to a strong Aboriginal woman I regarded my friend.”

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said: “Aunty Joyce was a wonderful woman who contributed a great deal all her life to her community and Aboriginal people in prison, young women coming in from the country, representing tenants on The Block, raising her four children and much more.

“I was very proud to see her cut the cake at the launch of the Redfern Community Centre with Governor Marie Bashir back in 2004.

“All her life Aunty Joyce remained positive, despite the adversity faced by the Aboriginal community generally and on The Block. She will be deeply missed by all those who knew her.”

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