Statement on the passing of Aunty Agnes


The ACT Greens wish to express our sincere condolences to her family and the broader Ngunnawal and regional community at the passing of Aunty Agnes Shea OAM.

“Aunty Agnes is such a significant figure in the Ngunnawal families, and we know this loss will be deeply felt by many across the whole Canberra community. We join the local community in sadness at this time of mourning,” said Shane Rattenbury, ACT Greens leader.

“Aunty Agnes was widely known, loved and respected across the Canberra community. Like many across the community, the ACT Greens have been lucky to share her wisdom, knowledge and teaching - particularly as a Ngunnawal elder offering a welcome to country. We have learnt from her, and been touched by her insights.

Throughout her long life, Aunty Agnes has been instrumental in building our local community's understanding of First Nations culture, and was always generous in sharing her knowledge of Ngunnawal traditions and culture. She shared her elders knowledge, and nurtured future Ngunnawal leaders and elders. ”

“My most special memory of Aunty Agnes arose during the passing of a motion that instigated the opening of the ACT Legislative Assembly in Ngunnawal language. She was so proud and emotional, as she explained to me that as a child she had been prohibited from using her own language on the mission near Yass, and how much it meant to her to see it being adopted for such a public use. She was so delighted at the respect it offered to her people.”

“There are many other significant initiatives that Aunty Agnes has been involved in, but for those closest to her, we know she will be most remembered as their aunty, their matriarch, and someone who will be so deeply missed.”