Pallbearers carry out the coffins of Aunty Lexie James and Phillip Wayne James from the Anglican Church in Ballina.
Pallbearers carry out the coffins of Aunty Lexie James and Phillip Wayne James from the Anglican Church in Ballina. Doug Eaton

Cabbage Tree mourns

CABBAGE Tree Islanders have been in mourning since losing two of their own.

The community was out in force yesterday for the funerals of Aunty Lexie James and her nephew, Phillip James, held at St Mary's Anglican Church in Ballina.

Aunty Lexie died on February 4, aged 76.

She was born on Cabbage Tree Island and lived there all her life.

Her friend Fay Anderson said Aunty Lexie always surrounded herself with children and loved nothing more than her Friday nights out with 'the girls'.

Phillip James died tragically in a car accident at Wardell on February 1, aged 27.

He moved from Tweed Heads to Cabbage Tree Island to finish primary school. He completed Year 10 at Ballina High.

Phillip played rugby league with Ballina Seagulls and was a devoted St George Illawarra club fan.

“He wasn't a great player, but he was a good team man,” said Phillip's sister Natalie, fighting back tears.

“He loved catching his flathead and his whiting and would head up to Ballina to his famous eel spot.”

Draped in Aboriginal flags and adorned with flowers, Aunty Lexie and Phillip's coffins were a reminder to the 500-strong gathering of the Cabbage Tree Island community's loss.



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