Smith House is named after Shirley "Mum Shirl" Smith, a prominent Australian and activist committed to justice and welfare of the First Nations people. She was a founding member of the Aboriginal Legal Service, Aboriginal Medical Service, Aboriginal Tent Embassy, the Aboriginal Children's Service, and the Aboriginal Housing Company in Redfern.
Mum Shirl was an integral and committed part of the Catholic Church of St Vincent's, Redfern with the renowned Fr Ted Kennedy. She was a devout Catholic and gave regularly of her time to visit schools and communities as part of educating the broader Australian community on First nations matters and culture.
Coleen Shirley Perry Smith AM MBE
22 November 1921 - 28 April 1998
Also known as The Black Saint of Redfern
Weep not for me for Death is
but the vehicle that unites my soul
with the Creative Essence, God,
My spiritual Being, my love is
still with you, where ever you are
You will find me in the quiet moments
in the trees, amidst the rocks
the cloud and beams of sunshine
indeed, everywhere for I, too, am
a part of the total essence of
creation that radiates everywhere
about you, eternally.
Life, after all, is just a
- Written by Kevin Gilbert, Wiradjuri man
Prayer said by Father Ted Kennedy at the funeral of Mum Shirl on 4 May 1998