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Simply Ing


Born Ellie Nellie on an Aboriginal reserve in Western Australia’s south west, she was nicknamed Ing by her family. Removed from her loving parents under government policy at the age of five, Ing was placed in a mission and denied her heritage. Her name was changed to Helen, and she needed all her strength to survive. When Ing’s parents died, she had the responsibility of her younger brother and sister. Returning to her community on a nearby reserve when the mission closed, Ing learnt what it meant to be Noongar after being brought up as a whitefella. Her family taught her culture and language. Ing has lived through many family tragedies. Her honest experiences reflect her indomitable spirit and give insight into the lives of Aboriginal people.


Praise for Simply Ing

"Told with humour and compassion, and despite her often desperate circumstances, Ing sums up her long life as a good one, with many joys."
Writing WA

Helen (Ing) Nellie

Helen (Ing) Nellie is a Wirlomin Noongar Elder. She was born on the outskirts of Borden, a hamlet in WA’s south west. She believes she was born on 18 July 1947, although she doesn’t possess a birth certificate. A member...

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Margaret O’Brien

Margaret O’Brien was born in Norseman in the WA Goldfields in 1948 and grew up in Bunbury. She started writing after retiring from a 45-year nursing career. Her writing took a dramatic turn when she met Helen (Ing) Nellie at...

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