Yaegl tribal elder dies
By DEBRAH NOVAK
LOWER CLARENCE Aboriginal Elder of the Yaegl tribe, Auntie Jessie Randall, died early yesterday morning aged 80.
The second surviving sibling of Rocky and Bella Laurie (both deceased), Auntie Jessie was admitted to Lismore Base Hospital over a week ago and had been undergoing medical tests.
Born at Maclean, Auntie Jessie lived for some time on Ulgundahi Island, where as a child she enjoyed an idyllic lifestyle that many children would be envious of today. Days on end spent fishing, swimming and playing games with brothers and sisters and lying under the big fig tree were just some of the fond memories Auntie Jessie would share.
As the Elder of the Yaegl tribe Auntie Jessie had many official duties throughout the district which she shared with her younger sister Auntie Lillian.
Both attended many functions, where they gave an official welcome on behalf of the traditional custodians of the Valley, as well as leading the reconciliation parade through Maclean's CBD earlier in the year.
Added to this were many visits to the local schools to talk about the Aboriginal culture of the area.
In May Auntie Jessie celebrated her 80th birthday at the Maclean Bowling Club, where family and friends and more than 150 guests gathered to celebrate this remarkable woman on her special day.
Auntie Jessie also had the honour of being the first female patron of the Lower Clarence Magpie Rugby League Football Club, a position she shared with coach of the Parramatta Eels Brian Smith for four years. Auntie Jessie was at the last home game of the Magpies in August this year watching her grandsons and nephews play football.
Speaking from her home in Yamba yesterday Auntie Lillian said the news has devastated the whole family.
"There were only two of us left out of 14 children, we always talked and laughed about the old days," she said.
"We loved each other so much, we never argued we just had so much love for each other, I was her baby sister."
Auntie Lillian said Auntie Jessie was the dependable one, she never left the Valley, she always helped everyone and never had a bad word or bothered anybody ? she would be missed terribly by people far and wide.
Auntie Jessie married Wallace Randall (deceased) and lived and worked at Maclean, where they had 10 children.
Auntie Jessie's sister Auntie Lillian Williams, of Yamba, is the last surviving child of Rocky and Bella Laurie and has 20 grandchildren and 15 great-grand chil- dren.