by Ashleigh Howarth
AUNTY Faye Carr is a much-loved and respected Ipswich resident with a heart of gold.
The Yuggera elder has devoted her life to helping indigenous families where she can. She spent 14 years working at the Ipswich Legal Service and was instrumental in starting up a breakfast program for indigenous students at Bundamba State Secondary College.
Her family saw how hard she was working to help the Ipswich community and asked her to take a break so she could spend more time with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
But her love for her fellow indigenous brothers and sisters meant she simply could not sit around and do nothing.
If you need Aunty Faye, you can visit her at the Liworaji Aboriginal Corporation on East St, where she is happily waiting to greet anyone who walks through the door. She is there to offer her advice and lend an ear should you need help.
Many people in Ipswich know how wonderful Aunty Faye is and now so does the rest of Australia.
Aunty Faye was recently announced as the 2017 NAIDOC Female Elder of the Year. She travelled to Cairns with her family for the award ceremony but had no idea she would be recognised on a national scale.
In naming Aunty Faye as the Female Elder of the Year, the NAIDOC Committee recognised her as a strong and wise elder, an advocate and leader in her community and that she exemplifies the values that are important to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Aunty Faye, who is extremely humble about what she does, said it was hard to believe she had been given this honour.
"I was so excited to be named as a finalist but I nearly died when I found out I'd won,” she said with tears in her eyes.
"I didn't know what to say when I went up on stage to accept the award. Here I was with all of these important people and I couldn't say a thing.
"But it was nice to be recognised by our own people.
"I'm not the only person who helps others here in Ipswich, so I dedicated this award to everyone.”
Aunty Faye had been nominated for the award six times but 2017 was her year.
The beautiful blue plate she received will sit proudly among her other accolades, including the award she was given in 2016 when she was named the Ipswich Citizen of the Year.
A special morning tea was held for Aunty Faye, when her family and friends gathered to celebrate all of her accomplishments.