Mary June (Tookie) Pappin (née Kelly)
21.6.1950 to 21.01.2022
Passed away peacefully at Balranald Hospital on Friday January 21st aged 71 years.
Loved wife of Darryl (Joe). Loved mother of Darryl, Jason, Gary, Bernadette, Verna, Mary and Douglas.
Loved Grandmother, Great Grandmother, Sister and Aunty to many.
Forever loved forever missed.
Funeral NoticeService held Tuesday February 1, 2022 - 11:30am
A Funeral mass to celebrate the life of Mary June Pappin will be held at St Dympnas Catholic Church on Tuesday 1st February commencing at 11.30am followed by burial at the Balranald Aboriginal Cemetery.
Covid 19 restrictions apply.
We wish to encourage you to express your sympathies and condolences to the family via a tribute on this announcement which the family are able to read, reflect and treasure.
Tributes Leave your tribute
You left us way too soon sista-girl. A much loved and admired friend of Gwen and Ralph Coomber (both deceased). They loved going out to Auley to see you. I loved living out there too. Thank you for your many years of unconditional friendship Tookie. It was valued more than you ever knew. Janna and Kate send their love as well. Although the girls and I will be unable to get to the funeral, we can still celebrate your life and your achievements. Much loved and always remembered.
Mary was an inspiration to me; she shaped many years of my life and my work. I find it hard to believe she’s gone from this present world. So much energy, fire and drive. The first time I met her, she was wary about a white academic and the cameras that I brought with me, but on another visit, she was pleased when she saw that my young daughter was visiting – even though she was a teenager mainly interested in sleeping. Mary explained that it was all about the next generation and passing on the knowledge, simply by being on her Country my daughter would be imbued with the significance of the place, of Aboriginal people having been in this Country so long. Mary was an amazing spokesperson for her family, for her people, for their voices to be heard, for their education and job opportunities. She was political, fierce, she was canny, highly intelligent and eloquent. Quite the orator. She was also a visionary, carrying on the legacy of her mother and so many generations past. She was courageous. She taught me so much about Aboriginal history and ways of thinking and being in the world. I treasure so much of what she said to me. Her warmth and acceptance. She was a fighter who never stopped speaking out about what she believed, the higher purpose. A leader. Her messages from Mungo are indelible. So many moments to treasure. Such a powerful legacy. I wish to honour Mary for a contribution to the world that has been truly extraordinary. (I am sorry I can’t attend the funeral, I would like to come except that I am in Covid isolation.)
Condolences to all Mary’s Family. Thinking of you at this sad time.
Linda Nelson and Family’s.🌹🙏
One of the many lessons to be learnt when a person passes, is that there were important things that should have been said in life, rather than afterwards. Sadly I, for one, seem to need to learn this again and again. So with regret I should have thanked Mary in life for her influence and kindness. The best thing I can do is write these words now for the record which I hope might add a little to the many thoughts and words of others.
Mary was, as many know, an uncompromising and determined person. These characteristics were important and necessary ingredients of her leadership. Indigenous leadership requires precisely these characteristics in particular. Although on a number of occasions I was subject to Mary’s forthright nature, yet my overriding memories are of her kindness and encouragement. This is remarkable because, as a white fella who returned to Australia after four decades overseas, I must have tested her tolerance on more than one occasion. Given that I was asking her, as well as her family and community to entertain the possibility of using DNA methods to understand issues of the past, this was a test for sure.
Mary’s kindness manifested itself in simple ways. I recall that at a number of tense meetings during the coffee breaks she recognised my awkwardness and and invited me to join a small group. This simple act of kindness had a positive impact on me. I remember too her welcome and kindness when we met at the return of Mungo Man. Again, for me this was of huge personal significance.
I am very sorry not to be there at the funeral, my daughter is not well and I have to spend the days with her. But I will be thinking of you all.
In particular of course, I pass my sympathies to Mary’s husband and each of her children and to members of her community. We were all the richer for knowing her. Her legacy will surely live on.
Mary (Tookie) Pappin (née Kelly)
21.6.1950 to 21.01.2022
For funeral, Feb.1 2022
Farewell Dear Friend,
Though we grieve your loss, your voice remains loud and clear! For a generation, our offered timeless inspiration with generous advice to those of us who entered Mungo territory, that land of traditional people of whom we knew so little. Your feisty voice was often heard in protest against the bureaucratic garbage of government agencies or of university intruders like myself. Where science gave offence in removal of human remains, you encouraged collaboration rather than conflict. When Mungo Lady appeared after 40,000 year burial, you offered special welcome to this dramatic reality you saw as part of your own ancestry. When jointly with the arrival of Mungo Man, Lake Mungo was registered with other Willandra lakes as World Heritage you welcomed that occasion but already warned of troubles ahead. Now 40 years later, you have run the course, delivered your messages and passed the baton to the younger generation.
At a personal level, with open heart you welcomed members of my own family, especially Joan and Ben, as partners in your life’s story. For myself, I owe a special debt. You paid me great honour in your once assurance that “You did not find Mungo Lady and Mungo man, they found you!”. For that unworthy measure of trust, I remain grateful beyond words.
From difficult times of dispossession and racial treatment, sadly the experience of many Indigenous communities, you rose above the limitations imposed on you and your family by white western society. You rose as leader of many who share the Mungo vision. Your voice was frequently heard above the din of contention and bureaucratic confusion. Now in peace, the voices of both your pioneering mother, the late Alice Kelly and the spirit of Mungo Lady are reinforced by your arrival.
Today, in your honour, we share a moment of Australian history. We recall those other Mungo burials some 40,000 years ago. Your reunion with that person, Mungo Lady, is indeed an historical one. We mourn for two maternal leaders, ancestor and descendant, 40,000 years apart. Nothing remotely like it has happened anywhere nor and at any time elsewhere in the world. Future Australians will come to honour this moment.
Farewell Mary Pappin, you have run the race, finished the course and delivered the messages that ring out in your honour.
Jan 29, 2022
I am so very sorry that I cannot be in Balranald today to be at my friend Mary’s funeral. When I was working in the Willandra Lakes I valued her wisdom, her support and her leadership. Mary was eloquent and could be fierce, but overriding that she was kind. As an untiring advocate for her Mutthi Mutthi heritage and improving the lot of Aboriginal people, she earned my untiring admiration. When she had to she trod the world stage with confidence, notably I remember her addressing the World Archaeological Congress in Washington in 2003 with professionalism and confidence. Mary welcomed me into her home on the occasions I needed to be there with warmth and generosity.
While the world is a poorer place for Mary’s passing, she left it a better place than she found it, passing on her values to her children and grandchildren , and to the rest of us who knew her. In years to come it will serve any of us well, if faced with a problem, to ask ourselves “what would Mary do?”.
I will be thinking of Mary’s loved ones today, the day of Mary’s funeral. It will be a sad farewell, but I hope it will also be a celebration of a life that mattered.
To our dear Pearce, Kelly and Pappin families – we send strength and much love with Aunty Tookie going to the new time.
There are many fond memories to reflect on, and we will hold those close to our hearts.
Aunty Tookie you were such a staunch and proud Mutthi Mutthi woman, who left a great big impression on all who came into contact with you.
Thank you for being the Elder you were to many of us.
I love you.
We shall see you when we get there.
Condolences to the family and all extended family. Sleep peacefully Mary in the Lord in the land you loved with your family gone on before. Love to her children, husband and all extended family from us Mckenzie family and Raymond Stuart in South Australia. God be with all. ❤❤
A true champion and I’m proud to call family, you will be always in our hearts, love to all family at this sad time, thinking of you all
Aunty Mary was a warrior for Country and for Mutthi Mutthi. We all learned lessons from her advocacy, knowledge and stories and she influenced us in ways we can’t even comprehend. I thank her for all her guidance and I will miss her mischievous smile. Condolences and love to all the family.