Audrey Lawson (nee Bell) was born in 1943. She is one of the four children born to an Aboriginal service man called Clifton Bell and Mildred Willaway.
At the age of five Audrey and her brothers, Gordon and Creston, were left at the Catholic Church (Tarden Mission) they remained there untill they were old enough to be sent out to work.
When Audrey was 14 years old, she was sent to Dongara Dominic Convent for a year to work with the nuns in the kitchen. At 15, Audrey’s contract was up she headed to Geraldton to find work. She was told that there was work at “Thunderlarra Station” (70km S.E of Yalgoo) as a domestic. Audrey got the job and remained there until the station owners brought “Edah Station” in Yalgoo. Audrey and all the current domestic staff and stockmen moved with the station owners to the new station as she had enjoyed working for them and said they were good to the Aboriginal people.
When Audrey was 18 she moved to “Yuih Station” (75km NW of Yalgoo) where she stayed for 12 months. When Audrey’s year was up, she had met a man from New Norcia mission called Ronnie Lawson and they were soon married by Father Justin in New Norcia Mission church.
Over the next few years life was tough for Audrey and Ronnie. They travelled extensively all over the northwest with their four children; Riccarda Rose (RIP), Sean, Ronella and Darren (RIP); moving from place to place, wherever Ronnie could find work as a stockman. After years of constant moving with Ronnie it became too much for Audrey and the children and they parted ways when Darren was just 4 years old.
Over the next twenty years Audrey grew her children up as a single parent, first in Dalwallinu, and later moving to Perth as they grew older.
On Audrey’s fiftieth birthday she met a man called Terry Wynn and they have been together ever since. Terry and Audrey are currently living in Harvey and still travel regularly to the northwest, visiting and helping friends and family or attending many family funerals.
Audrey stated that during her “Mission days” as a domestic she had mastered the skills in cooking, cleaning, pickling, sewing and blanket making.
Not only is Audrey a fantastic cook, she is also a very skilled blanket maker and many of her blankets have been sent around the world. Some have gone to England, Wales and many to New Zealand.
Audrey mentions that if anyone is interested in learning how to make these blankets she would be happy to sit side by side and show them how to crochet the old way.
Audrey is also available to help cook Kangaroo and damper at any function or school event.
You will find Aunty Audrey at many of Kinship Connections get togethers as an Elder and also overseeing the cooking crew.