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Q&A with intercessor, gardener, knitter and writer, Anne Daddow

Spotlight Q&A

Meet Anne Daddow from St Bart’s, Mt Gravatt and find out about her faith journey and favourite scripture, her thoughts on prayer and how she was rescued after being orphaned in World War II

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Where do you currently live and where do you worship?

I live in a retirement village and worship at St Bart’s, Mt Gravatt.

How long have you been involved in the Anglican Church and in what roles?

I have been worshipping at St Bart’s, Mt Gravatt for nearly 40 years. In that time I have been a part of Mothers Union, Cursillo, Girls Friendly Society, Bible studies and the Order of St Luke Healing service.

People gathered around a church sanctuary

Anne Daddow with fellow Holy Week pilgrims, including Bishop John Roundhill, The Rev’d Michael Stalley, The Rev’d Rosemary Gardiner and The Rev’d Scott Windred at St Bart’s, Mt Gravatt in 2023

What projects or activities are you currently working on?

I am currently on the parish prayer roster. I like interceding for people because I like communicating with God and bringing people from all over the world to God in my prayers.

What has been one of the highlights of your time in the Anglican Church so far?

I have many cherished memories. I am 85 years old now. Encouraging each other is important. A few months back, The Rev’d Gary Tognola said to me that I pray strongly when I intercede for people. The Rev’d Gary recently told us that he is moving on to another church. I don’t want him to go, even though he needs to because he is a curate. We love our curates.

What are your plans and goals for the next 12 months?

Right now I am caring for my neighbours in my retirement village. I am a retired nurse and know how to take care of people. I am helping to care for two people at the moment, including a man who fell down and injured himself.

Trainee nurses in PNG in the 1960s

Anne Daddow (standing, second from right) and other trainee nurses at Tarmara Hospital , PNG, in the 1960s

I am on the list for an aged care place. I stay active — I walk twice a day and I work in the garden. The man upstairs helps me. It’s important to stay active. I also sew and knit teddy bears.

In 2021 I kitted 104 teddy bears for each resident in my village. I delivered them quietly early in the morning dropping them off out the front of people’s houses as a surprise for them.

Anne Daddow and Joanne Rose from the Bishops' office holding Anne's knitted teddy bears

Anne Daddow and Joanne Rose from the Bishops’ office holding Anne’s knitted teddy bears in October 2023

Can you tell us a little about your Christian faith journey?

I was raised by foster parents after being orphaned during World War II while I was living in Papua New Guinea on the small island of Kwato. My foster parents were Anglicans – they were London Missionary Society people. When I was living in Milne Bay we had to walk miles to get to church on a Sunday — it took six hours to get there. I have also worshipped in different places that I have lived, including Singapore and Australia. I found “my church” when I came to St Bart’s.

Anne Daddow as a trainee nurse in Tarmara Hospital, PNG

Anne Daddow as a trainee nurse in Tarmara Hospital, PNG, in the early 1960s

How does your Christian faith inspire you and shape your outlook, life choices and character?

My faith helps me to be compassionate and loving.

What is your favourite Bible scripture and why?

Mark 10. 46-52: The Healing of Blind Bartimaeus. This is my favourite scripture because Bartimaeus was blind. The people told him to be quiet, but Jesus healed him. I was rescued by a disabled man once. My mother died at my birth and so I was raised as an orphan. I was three years old when the Second World War came to Papua New Guinea. We were evacuated from Kwato Island to the mainland and accompanied by adults. We set out on foot towards the inland to seek safety from the Japanese forces. We came to a gorge and settled down for refreshment. The Japanese forces were already across the bay and so we set out again so as to reach the inland before sundown. Because I was too fat to walk or be carried, I was left behind with a big mug of water. Later in the afternoon a young man found me crying. He picked me up and put me on his shoulder and headed off to catch up with the others. He was deaf and could not speak. In Christ there are many members, but one body.

What person of faith inspires you the most and why?

I am a very observing and compassionate person. Mary of Bethany from the Bible inspires me. She shows me the importance of listening to Jesus’ voice.

Why is it important for non-Indigenous Australians to listen to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples?

When I was on my way to Alice Springs in the 1970s I saw Aboriginal people for the first time. I admire people like athlete Cathy Freeman, singer Jesscia Mauboy and tennis player Evonne Goolagong. Their determination inspires me. We need to listen to them because they have strength and courage.

What are the primary strengths of the Church and what is the best way to make the most of these for the benefit of our communities?

A primary strength of the Church is prayer. A woman recently approached me on the road at our retirement village. She was struggling to walk because her feet were very swollen. She came to me for help. I prayed for her. It doesn’t matter where you pray — either inside or outside. She is now permanently on my prayer list. I often look out for her.

What is the kindest gesture you have ever received?

In the last month a woman said to me that I should be a priest. That meant so much to me. I have a ministry though and that is prayer.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

It is to obey God’s voice. One day I felt God tell me that I should visit a parishioner in hospital — she was recovering from a knee operation. I took her in a handknitted teddy and a get-well card, and I prayed with her. She was so touched. After she left the hospital her husband thanked me for obeying God’s voice and visiting his wife.

What do you do in your free time?

I write and I read. I am writing my story.

Anne Daddow at a club in Papua New Guinea with fellow nurses in the 1960s

Anne Daddow at a club in Papua New Guinea with fellow nurses in the 1960s

If you found yourself on a deserted island, what three things would you choose to have with you?

My Bible, my children’s photos and a tent. I wouldn’t need matches because I can make a fire with two pieces of wood.

If you could have a billboard with any text on it, what would it say?

“Please, give way” because it would help in traffic jams.

What book have you recommended the most and why?

The Bible. You can find them easily and it gives you strength.

Where do you do your best thinking?

Pottering in my garden — I talk to my plants.

St Bart's, Mt Gravatt parishioner Anne Daddow watering her plants

St Bart’s, Mt Gravatt parishioner Anne Daddow enjoys gardening in free time

What’s your strongest childhood memory?

Looking up at the stars and the moon during World War II when we were hiding from the Japanese forces on the mainland of Papua New Guinea. There was no other light. It was isolated. We could only hear the river rushing at night.

What is your earliest memory?

I remember when the news came from overseas about the invasion of Papua New Guinea and we were evacuated from the island and walked into the jungle. I was so young, only three years old.

If you are having a bad day, what do you do to cheer yourself up?

Now that I am 85 years old, I remind myself on a bad day to be strong.

What is the most surprising thing that happened to you recently?

When the woman walked over to me and asked for my help at my retirement village. I had never met her before. I prayed with her because her feet were swollen.

What is your secret skill?

I can keep plants thriving. They are God’s things. To me, plants are like people. Plants need to be talked to.

If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would that be?

Plain rice. It’s easy to cook and mix with anything.

What is the question you are always asking yourself?

How do I keep moving?

Trainee nurses in PNG in the 1960s wearing basketball attire and holding a competition shield

Anne Daddow (third from left) at the Rabau School of Nursing in 1964: Anne’s basketball team won the competition

Editor’s note: Thank you to the inspiring Anne Daddow who welcomed anglican focus editor Michelle McDonald and Joanne Rose from the Bishops’ Office to her home in October 2023, so she could share her story and chat over a cuppa.

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