REDFERN: On Friday March 12, many of the Redfern community together with her family gathered to farewell Linda Pitt/Kemp known to her family and friends as Pruny. The celebration took place at St Vincent’s Church, and was presided over by Father John Ford.
Born in Moree in 1952, Pruny’s life was full of challenges and struggles. Her birth at Moree Hospital in the segregated section was the beginning of those challenges. She was one of four children, having three brothers.
Following the death of her mother, Pruny, then aged two, was adopted by her aunt. They lived on the Aboriginal Mission where she attended the primary school, after which she went to Moree High School until she was 16. She described the circumstances of her life as comparable to life as depicted in the movie Lousy Little Sixpence.
Later on, finding herself homeless in Redfern, she met up with her brother who was living in the Catholic presbytery (now Jarjum College) with Father Ted Kennedy and Mum Shirl.
He invited her to join him, which she did. This proved to be a happy period in her life.
Finding herself unable to care adequately for her children, Pruny had them adopted out to good families rather than have them taken by DOCS.
A high point for her and several other Aboriginal people was the trip to Rome for the canonisation of St Mary MacKillop. It was a memorable and satisfying experience – the flight, the sightseeing in Rome, the ceremony of canonisation, not to mention the unexpected meeting with Kevin Rudd in the street!
Pruny died in St Vincent’s Palliative Care unit, with her four children by her side.
Her life was dedicated to helping others and she spent many years caring for others in home care, but also cared for her own people whenever someone was in need. She is widely remembered for her generosity and care of others – so her funeral celebration brought people from near and far to share memories.
Pruny’s body was taken the following Monday for burial at Moree.