TRIBUTES have flowed for admired and respected Aboriginal elders Yvonne Kent and Lyall Munro Senior, who have both passed away.
Aunty Yvonne was "beloved" in the Tamworth area and dedicated her life to supporting her community through leadership and hands-on work.
She was a well-known advocate for Aboriginal rights and was named the Tamworth Woman of the Year on International Women's Day in 2016, recognising her extensive work in the community as a youth support person, mentor, and volunteer at local charities.
Aunty Yvonne was also serving as the chairperson for the Tamworth Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC), an organisation she has been involved with for many years, and the LALC paid tribute to her on social media.
"She was loved by everyone who knew her and will be missed deeply," the tribute read.
Kamilaroi elder Len Waters told the Leader Aunty Yvonne had been a strong female leader for everyone who knew her.
"Yvonne has always been ... very well respected by all of the community, not just the Aboriginal community," he said.
"With her gone, someone will have to step up now and take that on, but the qualities that she displayed, of being gentle and very passionate and on the other hand, patient ... she was one of these people that you would call a quiet achiever."
Although quiet, Len fondly recalled Aunty Yvonne's "out-there" sense of fashion.
Uncle Lyall was a Kamilaroi elder based in Moree, and Len said he was a "pioneer" of his time.
"Going back to the early days, he was quite active in Aboriginal affairs ... he's certainly been a person working to get better achievements for Aboriginal people and a fair go," Len said.
"Lyall lived through some very tough times back in the old days, when you're talking about oppression and segregation."
The two elders were well-known and respected across the whole community, and Len said the stories they both had to share with younger generations are important in moving forward.
"The commonality between the two is that they ensured the Aboriginal people and the community were getting a voice, and that's helped shape the position we are in today," he said.
"Lyall was tough, because he had to be, and Yvonne was gentle, because she needed to be.
"Without the recognition of their dedication to Aboriginal affairs, very little would have been done, so I can't speak highly enough of people who have left a mark and left a trail for us to follow."
Social media has been flooded with tributes for the elders, and messages of support for their families.