Taree, New South Wales, Australia
- 13 February 1981
New South Wales, Australia
- Aboriginal community worker
Ella Simon went to school on Purfleet Aboriginal reserve, New South Wales, until the age of twelve. She then worked in Gloucester and Sydney, but returned to Purfleet in 1932 to nurse her sick grandmother, Kundaibark. She married Joe Simon in the mid-1930s, and they travelled around New South Wales, helping Aboriginal people. In 1957 Ella was granted her 'certificate of exemption' from the restrictions imposed by the Aborigines Welfare Board. In 1960 she formed a branch of the Country Women's Association on Purfleet reserve and became its president. She opened the Gillawarra gift shop selling Aboriginal artefacts. She improved the living conditions on Purfleet, by supplying new stoves and introducing electricity. She continued caring for Aboriginal children and the sick. In 1962 she was named Lady of Distinction by Quota and appointed a justice of the peace. She dictated her life story for the book Through My Eyes during 1976-78.
Sources used to compile this entry: Radi, Heather (ed.), 200 Australian Women: A Redress Anthology, Women's Redress Press, Sydney, 1988, 258 pp. Also available at http://nla.gov.au/nla.arc-78644.