Patricia ‘Trisha’ Ellis

Patricia ‘Trisha’ Ellis was born in Sydney in 1957. Her mother was Patricia Ellis [nee Connell]. Her maternal grandfather was Amos Donavan from Kempsey and maternal grandmother was Ursula Rose Connell [nee Dixon] from Bowraville. Patricia Ellis was born at Port Kembla, adopted and raised by Ernest John Richard Connell ‘Pop Connell’. Ursula’s mother was Margaret Jane Dixon from Kempsey; Ursula was raised by her mother’s sister, Myrtle Jane Dixon and her husband Thomas Patrick Brown. Amos Donavan’s father was Steven Donavan, and his mother was Elizabeth Chapman, both from the Moruya area. Connell’s Point, now Mossy Point was named after Trisha’s grandfather Ernest John Richard Connell’s family, his mother was Katherine Connell.

Trisha’s mother came to ‘Black Hill’, near Coila Lake as a child with her parents Ursula Rose Connell and Ernest John Richard Connell. Their intentions were to visit family living in the area, however they stayed, living and working in the Turlinjah, Nerrigundah and Coila area. Trisha was conceived at Nerrigundah, whilst her parents and grandparents were living and working there stripping wattle bark, cutting sac choline and picking corn. Trisha, her mother, father and younger sister Gladys then lived for a period of time in a shed at Meringo, where the only means of cooking was a Kerosene heater. At the age of 3 Trisha and the family moved to a house in South Moruya and in 1962 to Bali Hai, (Garland Town), Moruya. Later, Trisha stayed with her grandmother Ursula Rose Connell on Coopers Island, Trisha caught the bus to Turlinjah School from there. Nan Connell spoke of two traditional ‘bugeendge’ men known as ‘Tally and Shorty’ who knew the old ways. They travelled around and punished people who broke the law.

With her mother, grandmother and ‘Pop Connell’, Trisha fished all along the coast, collecting oysters and pipis, between the Aerodrome and Broulee, Malabar Lagoon, the Moruya Weir and north Moruya Heads when they lived at Bali Hai. The family also utilised Ryans Creek, The Anchorage, Yarragee, Pedro Swamp, Donald’s Creek, Mc Gregors Creek,‘8 Mile’ and Kiora along the Deua River. In the school holidays and on weekends, Trisha recalls picnics and camping trips to Bingi Point with her Nan Connell, and Nan’s sisters.

Until the age of 17, during the school holidays and sometimes after school, Trisha would ‘go picking’ with her mother and Nan. They would choose a row each and ‘go for it’. They would be wet and itchy, their clothes heavy with mud. If the kids got caught having a feed of peas they would get ‘hit with a clod of dirt ’.

Trisha continues to live in the Moruya area with her extended family.

Excerpt from "Stories About the Eurobodalla by Aboriginal People", 2006. Story Contributed by Martin Ind from Moruya High School.