Where do you currently worship?
I join in the St Clement’s on The Hill, Stafford 9am Sunday service on my iPad. John Swift brings me communion once a month. I am his godmother and I gave him a white stole on the day he was ordained a deacon. His wife comes to see me in between his visits.
How long have you been involved in the Anglican Church?
I have worshipped in different parishes in Southern Queensland. I was confirmed at St John’s, Bulimba when I was a child before I went to high school. I was married in 1951 at St Andrew’s, Lutwyche. Holy Spirit, Wavell Heights is where I worshipped the longest, serving in many roles, including as superintendent of the Sunday School, teacher of religious education at five schools, and president of the Ladies Guild for decades.
The Ladies Guild and other parishioners made 400 dozen lamingtons each drive. We had three drives per year. The drives went from 1966 to 2003, so that was 79 drives. We made and sold 49,000 dozen lamingtons, making at least $1 per dozen. The $50,000 we raised went to renovating the church and building a church hall.
Can you tell us a little about your personal faith journey?
I have been involved in the Anglican Church my whole life. When we moved from New Zealand to Sydney, my mum made sure I was baptised. My husband’s and my faith was our life. Faith is everything. I accepted God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as the Holy Trinity, but I had a niggling feeling that the Holy Spirit didn’t accept me, that I wasn’t good enough. I woke up one morning in the last year feeling elated and I felt that I was accepted.
How does your faith inspire you and shape your outlook, life choices and character?
When I used to teach religious education in schools from 1967 to 1977, I used to hear the kids in the streets say to their mothers, “There’s the lady priest.” The teachers used to tell me that the kids always behaved better for one to two days after I visited the school. I went to five schools every Monday for 10 years, teaching for 30 minutes at each school. Some of the kids I taught had never heard of God. When some of the children grew up they told me that they became confirmed because of me and my lessons.
I’ve always had faith, and so I was always aware of others. I used to take in two brothers during the school holidays. They lived in a boys’ home for a time because their parents were unable to care for them. My sons remember me stopping the car suddenly to offer lifts to people when they were carrying the groceries home. I used to give people food. I used to raise money for the church though cake stalls, especially when there were elections. I also ran fashion parades, organising the clothes and the models, to raise money.
What is your favourite scripture and why?
The Good Samaritan story is my favourite. It always used to bug me — how could those people walk past him and not help him as he gasped for breath?
What person of faith inspires you the most and why?
My mother because she was such a wonderful, wonderful Christian. She was born into a very rich family in England. She met my father during World War I — she nursed him throughout his life after he endured gas in the trenches. My mother met my father when she was driving ambulances and officers around in France in World War I — she was valuable because she spoke several languages. She did it tough when she moved to Australia. She had to work to earn a living, because my father couldn’t work, in a time when women rarely worked outside the home.
What are the primary strengths of the Church?
It makes people feel strong and protected.
What is the kindest gesture you have ever received or witnessed?
My mother often went without food to feed her four kids — she had four children under four. When she grew up she had her own servants, so before you got married she didn’t know how to boil an egg. She became a good cook.
What do you do in your free time to recharge and relax?
I used to play tennis at New Farm. I used to make trees for my husband’s model railway landscapes. Now I listen to audio books — my son put an app on my iPad so I could do this.
If you found yourself on a deserted island for a week, what three things would you choose to have with you?
My iPad, glasses and hearing aids.
What’s your best memory?
Meeting my husband in my mid-20s through the tennis club.
What is your favourite song?
There is a song I sing every morning. It’s about a lass telling her mother she has a boyfriend. It’s called “Ma he’s making eyes at me” by Eva Zavaroni. It reminds me of when I met my husband.
What is your earliest memory?
When we used to come back from church in Roma, we children used to sit on the front steps of the house and my brother used to “marry” the animals.
We used to ride a horse to school in Roma, which was eight miles away from home. I used to sit behind my brother holding on tight. He held the reins and sat on the saddle. I sat behind him on the horse’s bare back. One time I fell off the horse and broke my arm. The horse was standing still, but I was leaning around my brother trying to see the water after some heavy rain broke a very long drought. I can’t believe I fell off a horse that was standing still. My arm was plastered in the hospital, where I had to stay the night. The hospital was 20 miles away from home. My mother drove me in a truck to hospital.
My mum drove us in that truck from Sydney to live in Roma when there weren’t proper roads. We camped out overnight on the way.
If you are having a bad day, what do you do to cheer yourself up?
I always look for the positive, the silver lining. I go with the flow nowadays.
What is the most surprising thing that happened to you recently?
Bishop Jeremy came to visit me recently. We talked about my experiences and about my life. He prayed a lovely long prayer at the end. It was one of the longest prayers anyone has ever prayed with me.
Bishop Jeremy came with Greg Milles, who works in the General Manager’s Office. I know Greg from Holy Spirit, Wavell Church. I’ve known him a long time.
What item can’t you bear to part with?
Up in my cupboard is a tea set with a pink heather pattern on it.
What is your secret or special skill?
I am a good baker.
What day would you like to re-live and why?
When I felt accepted by the Holy Spirit, I was elated. I told John Swift and he said he was pleased that happened to me.
If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would that be?
Custard. I am always asking for more custard.Jump to next article