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Tributes for young Noongar leader


Tributes flowed in ahead of today’s funeral for a young woman who died just weeks after becoming the first Noongar to be employed as a dentist.

Chantel Rose Thorn (pictured, 28) died at Alice Springs Hospital on March 17 after suffering what her father and Noongar elder Leonard said was a massive heart attack.

The heart attack was caused by a blood clot in Dr Thorn’s leg.

Mr Thorn told that his daughter had been a “bubbly girl”.

“She befriended everybody especially people who needed some help in their lives,” he said.

“Anyone who met her fell in love with her instantly.

“She had an infectious laugh – you could hear her laugh before she entered the room.”

The funeral occurred at Fremantle Cemetery today – just two months after Dr Thorn started work as a dentist in the nation’s red centre.

In Alice Springs, Dr Thorn was set to work with small Aboriginal communities and schools as both a dentist and health promoter.

She was the first Noongar, and only the second Aboriginal person, to become a dentist in Western Australia.

Mr Thorn said his daughter was also the first Aboriginal woman from anywhere in Australia to become a dentist.

She had been a Rotary scholar and active participant at the group’s Booragoon club.

The club’s most recent newsletter describes Dr Thorn as a quiet, determined achiever.

“On her visits to Rotary Club Booragoon as speaker and guest, Chantel charmed and impressed us all with her quiet intelligence, her preparedness to take on very daunting challenges and her dedication to using her skills and knowledge to help overcome some of the dreadful health disadvantages of her people,” the newsletter reads.

“The sadness we all feel, and the sympathy for her family and friends, is compounded by the terrible tragedy of the loss of a young person who had so much to offer her community and all Australia.”

Dr Thorn is survived by her parents Leonard and Gail, partner Joshua, sisters Latricia and Terrylene, brother-in-law William, and nieces and nephews Kyana, Billy, Tiama, Heath, Kyle, Jacqukitta, Whitney and Sha’kyra.

An obituary written by Dr Thorn’s family reads as follows:

“We remember your smile, the things you would say.

We treasured the hours we spent everyday,

The laughs we had, the secrets we shared,

The love you gave, the way you cared.

You left a place no one could fill, we miss you Chantel and always will.

Life goes on we know it’s true, but not the same without you.”

5 Responses to “Tributes for young Noongar leader”

  1. verysad says:

    none of this will ever seem real, words cant describe the continuous hurt and deep pain i feel within my heart everyday. memories of you follow me everywhere, i try not to cry, to stay strong but whenever im alone i tend to let everything out, only when noone is looking though. i wish and hope that you are able to watch over me, wherever you are. i miss your face, your voice, your laugh, your arguements with me, your talent towards everything you do, i wish i was like that. i try, but everything seems a failure, i know you’ll help me through, because thats just who you are, a beautiful person inside and out, who will continuously care for everyone. the world is a better place because your in it, now that your gone, so is a piece of my heart. i know this will never be replaced. you make me so proud, i feel upset that i never got to tell you exactly how very proud you make me. love you more forever and ever and ever and ever.

  2. janine greive says:

    so sorry to hear about chantel i know as a dental nurse she WOULD of changed sooooo many lives with her dentisry and a hassssssssive congrats to her on her acheivements
    i know she’ll be deeply missed by her partner,family and freinds
    my prays go out to you allllllll
    janine damasco-greive of lockridge perth w.a

  3. Latricia Collard says:

    A beautiful person both inside and out.
    I read this story, I look at your picture and I sit by your graveside but I still don’t believe this is true.
    You are too special for this earth and God has taken you to do greater things.
    I love you so much for the person you are and will miss you forever. The world has had a tremendous loss.

  4. Narelle Cole says:

    such a beautiful person,taken way 2 soon =( love and respects to families RIP Chantel xxx

  5. Alana smith says:

    You are going to be missed like you would not believe the world lost a brilliant person when we lost you.
    You will always be remembered with a smile for you always had one when I saw you .
    Another star has reached the sky and you are shining on us all


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