The children gather together excitedly as they all wave hello to Aunty Faye and wait in anticipation to give her a great big hug.
Aunty Faye Carr is a Yuggera Elder from Ipswich. She lived out on the old Deedan creek mission.
Aunty Faye, one of 14 siblings, works to help other Indigenous families keep together as hers does, especially when times are tough.
“My childhood was hard because we didn’t have much at all. My poor old mum went to the city mission in Brisbane to get shoes and clothes for us, she’d come back a big port full of stuff.”
The day after she turned 14 she went to work at Nudgee orphanage and that’s when she knew her mission was to help less fortunate Indigenous children.
“I was there for 12 months but it felt like 100 years, scrubbing floors and setting tables,” she said.
“I didn’t know why I was there because I had my mum, dad and brothers and sisters; but I would go there every afternoon to visit the little babies in the nurseries and I’d sit there crying wondering why they were there.”
Aunty Faye spent 14 years working in the Ipswich Legal Service with Indigenous offenders and victims.
“I started doing the Murri courts and that was important for me because most of them kids that fronted up for Murri court I knew,” she said.
“We used to give the slip from the watch house to say who has been picked up and it was usually the same little names... Most of the time they didn’t get to go to prison, it was always a good result.”
Despite being a grandmother of 47 with 14 great grandchildren, Aunty Faye still finds time to visit the correctional centres and visit the boys out there.
“Some people say: ‘Why do you go visit them? Aren’t you scared of them?’ but we feel safe out there. They all laugh and are happy to see us Elders. They told us we are making a difference in the prison with the boys.”
After visiting a correctional facility, Aunty Faye was overwhelmed with pride, joy and a few tears as an inmate read her a letter of thanks he wrote.
“Aunty Faye you restore our pride, dignity, respect and belonging to a family I lost. Aunty Faye helped me to reconnect to my family and I thank you for that my Aunty Faye and I love you dearly.”
If you’re still wondering why Aunty Faye is passionate about helping future generations, she says it’s because she wants to do everything she can before her time is up.
“There’s not many of us Elders left here and I’m not even that old, but they call me an Elder.”
The Elder has 8 children and between 7 they’ve got 12 sets of twins, but that’s the force that drives her.
“My kids and my grandkids keep me going. I try and tell them that I’m the strong one and they think I am, but I’m not,” she says laughing as she wipes away a few tears.