I was saddened to hear of the passing of Local Elder, Auntie Dulcie Nicholls, (nee Kay).
As Deputy Mayor of Byron Shire Council and Chair of the Arakwal MoU Committee, I’d like to extend my deepest sympathies to her children, grandchildren and extended family.
Byron Bay is an international destination known for its beaches and natural beauty, but because of Auntie Dulcie and her sisters it’s also properly acknowledged and recognised as much more – it’s their history… their Country… Arakwal country and this should never be forgotten.
They were instrumental in making the Native Title claims in the ’90s that resulted in both the Indigenous Land Use Agreements and later, the Recognition of Native Title. It was wonderful to witness Auntie Dulcie see that claim recognised in 2019.
These women were trailblazers and worked tirelessly, caring for Country and ensuring that connection could go on for generations to come. Together, they helped set the standards for reconciliation and understanding. Council has worked closely with Auntie Dulcie and the Arakwal people for many years and has been honoured to support these processes.
The fight for recognition was not easy. The next time you are touched by the awe and beauty of this magnificent place, take a moment to appreciate the courage and determination of Auntie Dulcie and her sisters.
Kind, humble and generous, Auntie Dulcie will be sorely missed, but her legacy will truly live on in her children and the land and sea that are now protected as part of her legacy. From what I know of the next generations of Arakwal, she has left the place in strong, safe and caring hands.