Remembering Dr Honor Dell Cleary OAM, a shining light in ECEC
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Remembering Dr Honor Dell Cleary OAM, a shining light in ECEC

by Freya Lucas

November 28, 2022

First Nations readers should be advised that this piece names a person from the Cherbourg community who has passed. 


A funeral was held in Cherbourg on Friday 25 November for well-known community leader Dr Honor Dell Cleary OAM, who was a respected early childhood education and care (ECEC) professional and advocate. 


Aunty Honor, who passed at 84 years of age, was born and raised in Cherbourg, Queensland, and is referred to as a “living legend” for people in the Pine Rivers community.


She was awarded multiple times during her life with prestigious accolades such as a Medal of the Order of Australia, issued in 2000 for services to the Aboriginal communities of Cherbourg and Brisbane, and a Centenary Medal in 2001 for services to the Aboriginal community, particularly at Pine Rivers.


She was also awarded a Rotary medal for her service to the community. In 2013, Aunty Honor was recognised for her contributions to early childhood education and the wider society by the Central Queensland University, which conferred upon her an honorary degree of Doctor of the University.


Her involvement in ECEC began after she completed an early childhood course in Brisbane, going on to work at the Yelangi Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Preschool for more than 30 years. 


As well as working at the preschool, she was an active advocate and lobbyist in many other areas, including health and housing particularly in the Pine Rivers and Moreton Bay regions.


She was a Board Member of the Moreton Regional Elders Committee and served as an Elder with the Murri Court. She was a founding member of the Bunyabilla Aboriginal Corporation in Lawnton, and in 2018 a new social housing complex at Lawnton was named after her.


Aunty Honor passed away peacefully on 12 November in palliative care in Cherbourg surrounded by family.

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