This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, Jacqueline Mason, 90 years old, born on April 20, 1931, and passed away on June 2, 2021. We will remember her forever.
Posted by Scott Mason on June 5, 2022
a year passed passed since you left us,we will never forget you our beautiful Auntie Jacqueline the world is a sadder place without you in it,we miss you so much, Forever Loved and remembered .
Posted by Scott Mason on January 14, 2022
my Aunty Jacqueline was an amazing women,ahead of her times in many ways, a great sportswoman,Teacher,Lecturer, musician and singer a true lover of life and lived a great one and stood up for womans rights before it was popular to do so, an inspiration to me and my sister,and loved by all our family. She will be sadly missed and forever loved by all who new her.
Posted by Liz O'Connor on July 25, 2021
What a woman was our Jacqui, bringing a smile and a quip to many a situation as well as always consistently supporting women in every context she was in. Our choir is not the same without our wonderful Jacqui's bass voice, her attention to music detail and her massive contributions over many years. Forever missed Jacqui and forever in our hearts. It was such a pleasure to get to know you and share so many good chats and beyond, Lizzie O'C
Posted by Wendy Orams on July 13, 2021
My dear Jacqui, we were so blessed to have your beautiful bass voice in the Brunswick Women's Choir and we miss you! Your friendship will always be remembered with love and so many treasured memories and songs.
Posted by Mirriyindi Watkinson on June 23, 2021
Jacquie, We love you and miss you and wish i could have a cup of tea again with you. And Pablo keeps looking for you Jacquie. He misses you very much ... love Mirriyindi.

Posted by Lena Galapi on June 23, 2021
Beautiful tribute which speaks to the strength love of music & life that Jacquie shared
Posted by Judy Fitzgerald on June 23, 2021
What a life
What a woman ❤️❤️❤️

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Recent Tributes
Posted by Scott Mason on June 5, 2022
a year passed passed since you left us,we will never forget you our beautiful Auntie Jacqueline the world is a sadder place without you in it,we miss you so much, Forever Loved and remembered .
Posted by Scott Mason on January 14, 2022
my Aunty Jacqueline was an amazing women,ahead of her times in many ways, a great sportswoman,Teacher,Lecturer, musician and singer a true lover of life and lived a great one and stood up for womans rights before it was popular to do so, an inspiration to me and my sister,and loved by all our family. She will be sadly missed and forever loved by all who new her.
Posted by Liz O'Connor on July 25, 2021
What a woman was our Jacqui, bringing a smile and a quip to many a situation as well as always consistently supporting women in every context she was in. Our choir is not the same without our wonderful Jacqui's bass voice, her attention to music detail and her massive contributions over many years. Forever missed Jacqui and forever in our hearts. It was such a pleasure to get to know you and share so many good chats and beyond, Lizzie O'C
her Life

Jacquie’s story

The following story of Jacquie’s life is told by Jacquie and is an extract from Susan Powell's book ‘Essays on Eighty’, (2018) published by the Victorian Women’s Trust.

Born in April 1931, Jacquie was the first child of Harry and Nellie Mason of the northern Sydney suburb of Willoughby. Six years later the family was joined by her only sibling, brother Peter. (Jacquie recalls the due deference accorded his arrival: ‘My Aunty Jess from Bathurst was staying with us when Peter was born, and as we walked to collect him and Mum from a small private hospital up the lane and just around the corner we sang, “Hush, be quiet, do not make a riot, make way for His Majesty the baby!”’)

Jacquie and Peter’s parents were born in Australia of solidly British stock. Their paternal grandparents, who emigrated from Bath in England with their children, had settled in the historic mining town of Portland in the central west of New South Wales. The first cement factory in Australia, the Commonwealth Portland Cement Company, had been founded there in 1902. Its high quality product, made with limestone from on-site quarries, was subsequently shipped throughout Australia and used extensively in the building of Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra. As a young man Harry Mason worked for the company, driving trains laden with cement around the plant. In his early twenties he moved to Sydney and became menswear merchandising manager at Buckinghams, a landmark early department store located in Oxford St. Jacqui’s mother worked in a shop before her marriage. Her own parents, the Dodswells, had come from the small town of Ecclefechan in southern Scotland to settle in Manly in Sydney, where they raised their five children. ‘Peter and I had a very happy childhood, secure and suburban,’ says Jacquie. The pair enjoyed freedom coupled with a sense of community. ‘We lived in a street full of children and we were always out together playing, during the day and into the evenings. Where we lived was not far from Long Nose Point in the Lane Cove area and often a group of us local kids would wander through the bush down to the harbour and do “pretend fishing”. There’s a freeway through there now.’ ‘Our family had quite a lot to do with my parents’ siblings and their children, during my childhood and later. One of dad’s sisters owned tennis courts not far from us; these were an attraction, as I was sporty from a young age.’ Both children and their father were into sport: ‘Dad played golf well and he taught us. Over the years I also played tennis, hockey, squash and cricket.’ (Jacquie was in due course to represent both NSW and Central Australia in state cricket and hockey teams, and in 1956 she won the Squash Plate. 

All her life she has enjoyed singing and belonging to choirs. Her musical side is probably a genetic heritage: ‘Before I arrived both Mum and Dad played in the local band which performed at “barn hops” at various locations in western NSW. Mum sang beautifully and played the piano and Dad played the violin. We’d have weekly get-togethers around the piano when I was young.’

An army barracks and drill hall located at the bottom of the Masons’ street added to the family’s sociability. ‘Dad used to ask the soldiers into the house for a drink. This was just before the war, so there were lots of them around.’ Like many other children of the day, Jacquie and Peter ‘walked miles’ from a young age. They went on foot to kindergarten in the church hall, and then to Willoughby Primary School. Jacquie subsequently attended Neutral Bay High School for three years, followed by North Sydney Girls High, located at the time in Crows Nest, for her final year, 1946. The Mason family were ‘always staunch members’ of the local Church of England. ‘We went to church on Sundays, I sang in the choir, I ran the girls’ club, Mum was very much involved in various church–related activities, and so was Dad to a certain extent.

Given all this, Peter didn’t have much choice about whether or not he participated!’ Jacquie passed her secondary exams without particular distinction. ‘I was OK at basic Maths and English and Geography; French I liked, but not Latin. I wasn’t interested in History. I was good at sport and really enjoyed that.’ In her final year Jacquie did secretarial subjects; further education and professional careers were in that era not an automatic consideration for girls even at a leading single–sex school. Initially, Jacquie accepted this reality with ‘0h well, that’s it for me’, and for a year after leaving at sixteen worked in an insurance office in the city typing policies. But when her brother was offered an apprenticeship in panel beating, something he was very pleased about, she confronted her father in his office at Buckinghams with, ‘Why can Peter do an apprenticeship and I have to type insurance policies? I want to do something!’ She found her own path to the ‘something’.

‘On my way to work I used to pass the Langridge School of Physical Culture in George St. One day I called in and discovered that it ran three– year courses in physiotherapy and physical education, with classes at night. So I enrolled, and I also got a job in the office there. I paid off my course at the rate of a pound a week.’ The School, founded by T.A. Langridge, the Swedish ‘physical culturalist’, probably in the early 1930s, was an unusual establishment for Australia at the time. Among its services were physical remediation of injuries (Langridge treated several major sporting teams of the day), massage, Turkish baths, a gymnasium, various kinds of dancing, and exercise and relaxation classes. A bonus for Jacquie was that the School possessed what was then the only public squash courts in Sydney; she played there for her own enjoyment and also taught others. ‘The three–year course I did at the School was very comprehensive; it was the same syllabus as a university course and gave you the same qualification. After I gained diplomas of physical education and physiotherapy I stayed on for quite a few years working in the School’s large physiotherapy department. We did a lot of work with children with cerebral palsy:

Langridge was the first person in Australia to provide this kind of physical support.’ ‘After he died, the gymnasium became a boxing ring and the whole focus of the place changed, so I left.’ To that stage of her life, Jacquie had not been particularly aware politically. ‘Politics weren’t discussed at home; my parents voted Labor but it could have gone either way,’ she says. ‘What set off my interest was that in my late teens I joined a bushwalking group in the local area. Through this, I came to realise that the remaining forests in NSW were under threat of disappearing. So I agreed with the group that we try to do something about this by getting a bit involved in the Labor Party in terms of its environmental thrust. It wasn’t a big thrust in those days but was the start of something for me, not only to do with this issue but in relation to my thinking about and understanding, politically speaking, of other things as well.’

In 1952, Jacquie’s interest and involvement in sport and other outdoor activities led to her next job — as sports mistress at Sydney Church of England Girls Grammar School, located near Kings Cross (in itself an education). She taught happily at SCEGGS for four years, living–in. A few years later, in 1961, Jacquie helped pioneer, as a patrol instructor, the inaugural Outward Bound School for Girls. This was located on the Hawkesbury River, some 50 kilometres north of Sydney.

The Australian chapter of the Outward Bound movement had been founded in 1956 in Australia on an American model; at first it was for boys only but several years later the first school for girls was held. Participating girls had to be over sixteen and a half, and able with cope with twenty–six days of rugged activity. ‘Outward Bound for Girls was a groundbreaking venture’, says Jacquie, ‘and I loved being part of it. It was the same program as the boys, and very physical.’ ‘We took the girls bush walking, canoeing, sailing, climbing and camping and it was remarkable to see the changes in them as a result. I also took part in the second school, but after that I had to give up my involvement because of working at the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA).’ Over subsequent decades the Outward Bound movement went on to make outdoor education courses available to the community, with the aim of developing teamwork skills and raising environmental awareness.

Today, it runs courses for schools, businesses, sporting teams, and for young adults around the country. Jacquie’s initial connection to the YWCA or “Y”, the organisation that was to play a significant role in different aspects and stages of her life, was through leisure–time membership of a “Y” cricket team. The activities of the YWCA in Sydney, while typically many and varied, focused at the time on the provision of housing and physical education facilities, including the fielding of female hockey, basketball and cricket teams open to anyone who wanted to play. Jacquie went on to join the staff of the “Y”, as its physical education director. A short time later, in 1961, she was invited by the national office, which was located in Melbourne, to become the “Y”’s national program director. She accepted, and made the move south. The nature of the position suited her talents and inclinations: ‘It led to some wonderful experiences, at the grassroots level all the way to the highest internationally’. Jacquie’s focus as a YWCA worker and an individual was to examine how young women and girls could be empowered to change society through their involvement in their own situation. ‘I’d been particularly interested in this area for a long time as I’d been personally affected and limited by societal attitudes. But now working in this capacity and meeting a wider range of people led me to a much broader appreciation of what impacts on girls’ access or otherwise to education and employment, of factors such as their horizons, preparation for work, and unemployment.

I became aware of the range of political and social influences that underpinned all this, in Australia and overseas.’ Although Jacquie now lived in Melbourne she was constantly away from her new base. ‘For several years I spent up to nine months of the year travelling around the country. My boss, the national director of the YWCA, and I covered all the states between us each year.’ ‘My brief for these trips was to visit specific towns and regions and evaluate their “Y”–related programs and services, including hostels, as to how successfully or otherwise they were operating in relation to their aims. I also worked with local people in the various communities to identify needs that were not being met and explore ways in which the “Y” might be able to establish something to help.’ ‘To me this was fascinating, and it felt very worthwhile. The “Y” was responding to the needs of women with programs in areas of life that often no one else — government or other NGOs — was addressing, and frequently in innovative and creative ways. It was community work from the ground up, drawing on both paid staff and volunteer input to sustain it.’ Life took an international turn in 1964 when Jacquie made her first trip overseas, to YWCA world headquarters in Geneva, to take part in a four–month training program there. The purpose was twofold: to enhance her understanding of issues relevant to the Australian context of her work, and to view them from a broader perspective. ‘Geneva was an incredible experience,’ she recalls. ‘A group of us from a wide range of countries stayed in an old house above the city and worked together at the world headquarters on our assigned areas of research. We each had to produce a huge paper on our findings.’ ‘My focus was the exploration of the impact of the migration of young women from southern Europe after the war to Australia and Canada.

The “Y” in Sydney had already done a lot of work at that time in this area, providing English lessons on ships before the women landed and informing them about life in Australia and what they would face. One danger was that they would be whisked off at the wharf by fellow–countrymen to who– knows–what fate because they weren’t aware of other options… The “Y” negotiated with the federal government that it would take care of the women for at least two weeks after they landed in order to acclimatise them to the city, and thus protect them.’ ‘Being in Geneva gave us a unique opportunity to spend time at the United Nations accessing the kind of detailed information we wouldn’t be able to otherwise, or at least not easily. I concentrated on the ILO (International Labour Organization) as I was particularly interested in comparative data about employment and unemployment and job markets in relation to young women.’ In 1964 more far–flung YWCA– related travel followed when Jacquie helped organise speakers and devise sessions for the inaugural YMCA/YWCA conference held in Beirut. Over fifty years later, two details in particular stand out from many memories. The first is that, although the conference took place prior to the Lebanese Civil War that tore the country apart from 1975, in order to be allowed into certain areas of the capital, attendees had to carry a letter in their passport attesting that they were Christian.

The requirement powerfully reinforced to Westerners the fundamental, divisive religious and political differences of the Middle East. Jacquie also recalls that prior to the conference opening, ‘There was informal but groundbreaking discussion among some key people from both sides (of the YWCA and the YMCA) about the possibility of amalgamating or uniting our two separate but not dissimilar organisations. Talks came to a swift halt, however, when it emerged that the YMCA would want a man to be executive director of any combined structure. So that was it, as far as we were concerned.’ Back home, Jacquie’s organisational abilities were much called on. This was particularly so in relation to annual YWCA conventions held within Australia, and when the YWCA World Council meeting, which moved every four years to a different country, took place in 1967 in Melbourne, at Monash University halls of residence.

The World Council meeting provided the stimulation of a gathering of leading YWCA personnel from around the world, and also led to Jacquie having to resolve some tricky lower–level situations, including — reflective of the time — a white American delegate refusing to share a bathroom with a fellow American delegate who was black. Over the six years she spent with the YWCA in Melbourne Jacquie introduced some innovative programs highlighting the position of women in various areas. One she is particularly proud of was ‘A Week Without Violence’, which was held in October annually all round Australia (and now by the YWCA around the world). The idea was to ask people to envisage what a week without domestic violence would be like, given the alarming pervasiveness of sexual assault and family and domestic violence. One year, as part of ‘A Week without Violence’ in Melbourne, shoes were placed on the steps of the Melbourne Town Hall to indicate the extent of violence towards women that had occurred that week. A work trip to Alice Springs to evaluate existing “Y” programs there and identify others that might fruitfully be initiated led a couple of years later to Jacquie moving to the town as executive director of the “Y” in the Central Australia region. ‘I treasure my memories of living in “The Alice”, and the work we did. A lot of it was with Aboriginal women and children in various settlements and in the hospital. We also focused on the promoting of Aboriginal handcrafts and ran holiday activities and youth clubs. We worked with young white women too, in suburban areas, and mixed groups.’ Jacquie recalls

“The Alice”’s very low overnight winter temperatures, and its black  frosts. The hardy, of whom she was one, were not deterred by the weather from attending the town’s outdoor movie theatre (‘a “walk in” rather than a “drive in”’). ‘We sat in deckchairs, and if it was winter we’d dress warmly and take along a hot–water bottle, a thermos and a sleeping bag…As the evening went on you could feel the frost descending on you!’ Always a keen gardener, in Alice Springs Jacquie planted 140 rose bushes around the Y building. ‘When they were still small, on frosty nights I’d go out and put little plastic bags over each bush, and in morning I’d go out and take the bags off again.’ The nurturing worked: ‘We had the best rose garden in the area’. Over the seven-year period Jacquie lived in The Alice, ‘a great deal of noticeable change’ took place. ‘When I first went there,’ she says, ‘there was no real discrimination on basis of colour; everybody got on quite well.

Over time, things changed because of the welfare mentality that developed when the government started giving Aboriginal people money for doing nothing: the recipients used to call it “sitting–down money”. I could have cried when I saw this happening. I thought, “What are we teaching them?”’ A total change of pace and drawing on of different competencies faced Jacquie when she left the Y to go into a completely different field — managing a tourist lodge called Glen Helen in the West MacDonnell Ranges. She took over this former cattle station, located 11 kilometres from Ormiston Gorge in an ‘absolutely beautiful spot‘, from a couple of friends and happily and successfully ran it for the next four–and–a–half years. She revelled in not only the physical environment — spectacular limestone cliffs, a large natural swimming–hole and an abundance of native animals and plant life — but also in mingling with guests from all over the world who stayed at the resort and its associated accommodation at Uluru, where Jacquie did a couple of stints. Though she was now an hour out of town she still kept contact with the Y, and was on the board of the organisation. She also continued to play hockey and cricket, and in 1974 and 1975 captained the Centralian hockey team when it played country v city matches in Adelaide. By 1975, Jacquie felt it was time for a new direction and a new location. The following year she moved to Adelaide…and for the first time in her life found herself unemployed. ‘It was very hard to get a job. Everything I applied for I was deemed too experienced for, or too this or too that…I was getting pretty desperate. Then I saw that the Service For Youth (SFY) Council was advertising for a co–ordinator of volunteers. So I applied for the position, and got it.’  

A not–for–profit professional group of social workers and youth workers, SFY had been established in 1958 with the aim of supporting disadvantaged young people to find accommodation and employment and to make family and community connections. ‘The organisation’s aim interested me and also the fact that it wanted to develop a volunteer aspect, something we’d drawn on heavily and successfully in the work of the Y. In the new job I helped to establish the Council’s Unemployed Youth Volunteer Bureau, funded by CYSS (Community Youth Support Scheme), and it proved a great success. We made sure there was a careful matching process, and also that volunteers were never placed where someone could have had a paid job.

The work gave unemployed young people something useful to do, and they gained experience, skills and confidence. Many of them went on to obtain paid work.’ Between 1977 and 1981, while working at SFY in Adelaide, Jacquie became involved in the Youth Workers Network (YWN), which had only just started up in the capital cities. ‘In those days, youth workers were looked down on by social workers and vice–versa, so the YWN was groundbreaking in its time in that it sought to bring these two professional streams together. The YWN went on to become part of a larger forum, the Youth Affairs Council of Australia (YACA).’ From 1981–2 Jacquie was director of YACA in Melbourne. Her work included looking into how the YWN could get together all the players — youth organisations, youth workers, and young people themselves — impacting on youth. This resulted in a nationwide Workers with Youth Affairs Forum, which became part of the Youth Affairs Council of Australia and subsequently made input at a national level. During this time Jacquie became involved with programs for youth in the South Pacific region, and in the development of the Pacific Youth Council. She visited Tonga to look at unemployed youth in the capital. ‘There was nothing for them — paid work — there or the big towns but we were surprised to discover that in the villages the young people did voluntary work off their own bat to help individuals and the community. There’s something to be learnt from that, I think.’ Over the years Jacquie would periodically return to Sydney to see her parents and other family. While she was working in Alice Springs her father died, and her mother when she was living in Adelaide. Her brother Peter, who had married and had two children, worked in Sydney as an assessor in a government insurance office, remaining in this position until he retired. In his early fifties Peter developed Alzheimer’s disease, and died ten years later. Jacquie maintains some contact with his widow and children, who now have children of their own.

For many years, Jacquie kept in touch with extended family members of the older generation, particularly an aunt who was a forewoman in the steel–making business. ‘Aunty Doll, my father’s sister, was the last of her generation. She was pretty amazing for her day — she’d left home in Portland at fourteen, cut her hair, and gone to Sydney. She and I got on very well. We were both regarded as black sheep within the family because we’d been independent and had done unusual things.’ Visiting Denmark in the 1980s as part of a youth leaders’ tour opened up further vistas. Jacquie loved Denmark and was intrigued by its different style of youth work (for example, young Danes in trouble with the law could find themselves sentenced to work on a ship for twelve months) and by its embracing of communal living, including flexible housing design. She was fascinated at seeing domestic buildings with moveable walls, which meant that interiors could be easily rearranged according to changing needs.

In 1982 Jacquie’s working life took yet another turn when she was invited to apply for a job as a lecturer and field work co– ordinator in the revamped youth work course at what was then the Phillip Institute of Technology (PIT) in Melbourne. Taking on the challenge of this new direction (which involved study to bring her to the required tertiary level) proved rewarding: ‘The youth work course was exciting because it was both pioneering and highly professional. What started out as a diploma course ended up conferring BA degrees.’ ‘The job was ideal for me because my youth work around the country meant I knew a lot of people in the field and was well–placed to identify potential settings for my students. I took a rigorous approach to working out what they wanted or needed to gain from the experience of spending time in, for example, residential hostels and units, youth clubs, youth organisations, or working with young people with disabilities or other issues, or in research.’ ‘I already knew a lot of the students, having met them in locations and in positions I’d held in the past. Often they’d had a lot of on–the–job experience, but this being the start of the era of higher qualifications, they came to PIT to acquire the requisite “piece of paper”.’ Phillip Institute became the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) in the last two years of Jacquie’s twelve–year tenure.

She had been happy in her work up to then, but the process led to her deciding to retire in 1994. ‘This was a year earlier than I had intending to go, which was at sixty–five, so I was sacrificing income. My accountant thought I was mad, but I just couldn’t bear to stay: RMIT’s way of working was so hierarchical and patriarchal. This approach may have been OK for the straight sciences and the maths departments but it wasn’t for community services. The RMIT people didn’t understand where we at PIT were coming from, and didn’t know how to treat us, so I left.’ Over her time at PIT/RMIT Jacquie had maintained her voluntary commitment time and input into the Y. She was on the state organising council in Victoria into the early 1980s, and its president for a while, and attended national conventions as well as, in 1995, the World Council held in Seoul in South Korea. ‘I’d organised the first World Council, in Melbourne.

This second one I attended was so different. Seoul was beautiful, an amazing experience. However, one of my main impressions is of the appalling fog — all you could see on some days was grey, due to lots of industry and lots of cars.’ Jacquie phased out her involvement in Y affairs in 2000. In her early years at the Phillip Institute Jacquie had lived in a rented house in Clifton Hill. In the mid–1980s she bought the first home she had owned, a cottage built in 1926, in the inner north suburb of Northcote. She now lives in a different house in Northcote, still enjoying the close proximity of neighbours and the sense of community. Discovering after her retirement that not doing anything purposeful was not for her, Jacquie applied to the local council to become a school crossing supervisor. She worked in that capacity until 2011, when her knees — adversely affected by many decades of sport — protested too much. ‘I supervised the crossing at two neighbouring local schools, a Catholic and a state school, twice a day. It was good to be relied on, to have responsibilities. I loved the work because it meant that I was still with young people, and had the chance to talk to and interact with them…and their mothers, who were very much a part of this.’ The downsides were the small degree of financial remuneration and the cold, wet Melbourne winters: ‘umbrellas were not permitted while on duty’. Since 2000, belonging to the ‘brilliant’ Brunswick Women’s Choir — she sings bass alto — has been a huge, positive factor in Jacquie’s life. She loves the fact that the choir is ‘very disciplined’, gives interesting performances, has a wide repertoire in different languages, and goes on tour within Victoria and interstate (and in 2004 to New Zealand; in the same year it opened the National Folk Festival in Canberra). ‘We’ve done a lot of work with migrant women in different communities and we sing every so often with a group of Indigenous women in Fitzroy. We commission new work, and we’ve made CDs. There’s always something happening.’

‘I’ve had so many good experiences with the choir, both the singing aspect and socially. There are forty members (I’m the oldest, the youngest is in her early twenties) drawn from the inner northern suburbs, and the waiting list is over one hundred. The members are tremendously supportive of each other over whatever is happening in our lives and many of them have become close friends.’ Another involvement in her local area came in 2006 when Jacquie helped to set up the Darebin Interfaith Committee, facilitated and resourced since 2005 by Darebin Council, and which a decade later is still going strong. ‘The committee came into being to share commonalities between leaders of different faiths in the local community, to provide a broader understanding of religion in the community, and for representatives of the different faiths to get to know each other on a personal level. It’s been a great success, with over one hundred representatives of different faiths belonging. We’ve visited places of worship, listened to speakers and panels on relevant topics, and produced a booklet about various churches and religions in the northern region.’

No longer actively involved in the committee, Jacqui remains interested in its work. In relation to her own faith, Jacquie says, ‘I’m a Christian but I’m not a churchgoer because for me the church is nature, it’s everywhere we are. I don’t need to go to a building on a Sunday at a certain time to worship.’ ‘I believe there is a God; whether it’s a trinity type of God I’m not so sure. I understand the importance of the Bible but I don’t think it needs to be taken so literally, especially the Old Testament with its theme of vengeance. What I think is important is to live ethically — to love yourself and love others as yourself — and to observe the old “Do unto others as you would they did unto you”.’ Jacquie kept up her sport for many years — she was still playing hockey when came to Melbourne in 1981, and in the late 1980s coached a women’s team which played at Royal Park. Other sports she played well, like squash, she was forced to give up because of her knees. These days osteoarthritis limits her physical activities but she is otherwise in good health and enjoys walking as her main form of exercise. If Jacqui has a dream it is to go on a cruise of the Rhine, ‘starting at Amsterdam and going through to Lake Geneva’. Good movies and good books and murder mysteries (‘I like something to solve’) are enjoyed. A late craze for crosswords and other puzzles has eclipsed other pastimes. Politically, Jacquie has ‘given the major parties away. What we need but haven’t got is a government with brains and guts. 

I was very much a supporter of Julia Gillard, and I think before her that Joan Kirner did good work.’ She is a member of the Greens: ‘I’m not very active but am supportive’. She has been pushing for years for a greater role in parliament and in the constitution for Indigenous Australians. Youth workers of today she feels sorry for. ‘I’d hate to be a youth worker now. Young people have amazing opportunities but the pressures on them from society, their peers, commercialism, the media, are just incredible. Drugs have replaced alcohol, and that’s much harder. And then there’s threats like ISIS (an Islamic terrorist organisation) — how is it that some youth are so alienated? We used to be isolated as a country, and that had some advantages because there were less external pressures. These days I don’t know when or how one would start to intervene to improve things.’ On the positive side, Jacquie admires young people for their involvement in issues like climate change, and for having an understanding of a world beyond her ken at a similar age.

Recent stories

The Breakfast club

Shared by Amanda Watkinson on June 23, 2021
One of Jacquie’s favourite outings each week was the breakfast club. A group of old mates who caught up at our local cafe, where Joseph the owner always has a welcoming smile, hot coffee and the best chicken schnitzel sandwiches ever.  This particular photo was taken on one of there last ‘table of knowledge’ trips where they went for a slap up lunch to a seafood cafe at port Arlington on the ferry.   They all had oysters.