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Evonne Phillips was an Eora woman and respected Elder in the Block at Redfern. She was born in Sydney, growing up in Redfern. Her connection to the Redfern community went back to her great-grandmother, who walked from Singleton to Redfern. Evonne passed away in 2012, in the same year as the Sydney Elders exhibition which featured her photograph. During many years of her life, Evonne was part of the struggle and movement for Aboriginal self-determination and justice, participating in her first march at just six years of age.

Evonne was also a founding member of the Aboriginal Legal Service, Children Service and Medical Centre. Evonne and her husband Richard raised nine children and fostered many others. Together they ran the Koori Lighthouse Youth Organisation which was a drop-in centre providing counselling, overnight accommodation, and many other services and functions to the Aboriginal community. During its operation, this centre helped Aboriginal people in strengthening identity and connection to place.

Sydney Elders -  Auntie Yvonne Phillips
Portrait of Auntie Yvonne Phillips Image: Mervyn Bishop
© Australian Museum