BERYL Mildred Dates has been remembered as her family's strong and spiritual matriarch and a woman who wrapped four generations of descendants in her love.
Mrs Dates, an Aboriginal elder known as Nan Dates, died aged 89 on June 29. She was a mother to nine, grandmother to 45, great grandmother to 164 and great great grandmother to 17.
Many relatives walked with her white coffin as it was carried in and out of her music-filled funeral on the banks of Throsby Creek, near her Carrington home, on Friday.
Emcee Sharon Walker welcomed the roughly 500 mourners, saying their presence spoke of the "high regard and great esteem in which you all held Beryl", who she described as a "remarkable woman and a proud, stoic, generous and loving soul".
Theresa Dargin - whose mother and Nan Dates' daughter, Susan, died on Tuesday - said her grandmother was born one of 11 children on Cummeragunja Mission in Victoria.
She travelled in her mid-20s to Port Stephens, where she met her late husband Leonard Dates.
" 'We instantly fell in love' Nan said, 'It was them big blue eyes'," she said.
They had nine children, settled in Carrington and bought in Gipps Street.
Ms Dargin said the stove always had pots cooking porridge or rice and the kitchen counter was frequently covered with stacks of bread for toast.
She said if the three bedrooms were full, Nan Dates would throw blankets and clothes on the lounge room floor for her grandchildren to stay the night.
She didn't tolerate backchat, never drank alcohol or smoked and relished telling jokes, knitting, walking and dot painting.
"If Nan ever got sick she would send the message back to Cummeragunja, 'I need some bush medicine'. This was the 'Old man weed'," Ms Dargin said. "It looked and tasted terrible, but it always fixed you up."
Her grandson Nicky Dates said as children they didn't understand the "stress we may have put you through".
"Not once did I hear you complain about looking after too many kids or worrying if you had enough room or food. You never once compared others fortunes or lifestyles to yours."
He said his grandmother would be "Lord Mayor of Heaven".
"You are the type of role model anyone would only dream of having in their life."
Her granddaughter Tracey Dates was raised by Nan Dates.
"She did it hard but she did it well and she did the best a mother and grandmother could ever do," Ms Dates said.
"Nan was loved by so many and you didn't have to be blood to be loved by her. It didn't matter what colour you were, what life you lived, Nan just had this connection with everyone she met.
"We won't ever get a person like Nan in our lives [again], ever - she was one of a kind."