Gawler has lost one of its beautiful personalities with the recent passing of Kaylene Jennifer Brown.

An Adnyamathana Ararru Yura Ara woman, formerly known as Kaylene Jackson, entered the world on Friday, September 4, 1953, in Leigh Creek, South Australia and left this world on Thursday, 29 February 2024.

Local Member of Parliament, Mr Tony Piccolo said Kaylene had a heart as big as her smile and laughter.

“Kaylene had the personality to light up a room and conversation with her presence,” said Mr Piccolo.

“Despite her, at times, difficult life, including experiencing domestic violence, Kaylene had a positive outlook on life and tried to always find the good in people.”

“Her care and compassion for her family, her mob and the community had no bounds.”

“But she was no shrinking violet either, Kaylene never held back when she witnessed an injustice.”

Kaylene was the fifth child born to Frank Jackson and Joan Jackson (nee Wilton) and grew up in Copley, until tragedy stuck when she lost both her parents at a young age.  Along with her siblings, she found refuge with her grandmother, grannie Jackson in Nepabunna until 1963.

It was here when Kaylene and her siblings were separated from the family as part of the Stolen Generation and placed in the Lentara Girls Home, at Magill run by the Methodist Church.  

Mr Piccolo said that he understood that despite the hardship caused by the separation, Kaylene, her sisters, and other siblings maintained a close and loving bond.

Kaylene’s journey into motherhood began on 31st March 1972, when she welcomed her first born, Sharon, followed by twin daughters Amanda and Kylie the following year.  Kaylene showed great pride in her ability to care for three children under the age of one.

Kaylene’s family expanded over the years with the birth of Karmen in 1980 and Muriel in 1981 but was to experience heartache with Muriel dying at birth. In 1986, Kaylene welcomed her baby son Gregory in 1986 while living in Murray Bridge.

Eventually settling in Gawler, Kaylene found solace, achieved sobriety and dedicated her life to caring for children and grandchildren.

Mr Piccolo said that Kaylene’s face would just beam with joy when she spoke about her grandchildren.

“I think caring for her grandchildren gave her life purpose and meaning, and she held high hopes about their future.”

From 1996, Kaylene also cared for her grannies, Iris, David, Essie and son Gregory and joined a number of community organisations, like the Granies Group, Emu Group, Circle of Hope and became a board member of the Lyell McEwin Hospital.

“These activities reflected her commitment to others and the community,” said Mr Piccolo.

It was around this time that she joined the Australian Labor Party, and a lifelong friendship with then, President of the Sub-Branch, Mr Tony Piccolo.

“From the day I first met Kaylene, she demonstrated a strong commitment to fairness and justice,” Mr Piccolo said.

“Quite rightly, Kaylene was known for her strong presence and wisdom, and she had a lasting impact on the lives of many people across South Australia, and Gawler in particular.”

“Kaylene’s passion and commitment to help others lives on through her numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”

Mr Piccolo said he was, like many others, “fortunate to have known Kaylene, and be blessed with her humour, laughter, grace, and wisdom.”

“You could hear her coming before you could see her.”

“She had such a beautiful soul, and that hasn’t changed with her passing.”

This story is based on a eulogy delivered at her funeral by Charles Jackson and conversations held with her daughter Amanda Jackson-Brown and grandson Lionel Brusnahan and has been written with the family’s permission.