Volunteers for Isolated Students Education (VISE)

April 14, 2009

Two little old ladies together.
Two little old ladies together.


This is a great organisation, they send retired teachers or helpers out to properties where help is needed during busy or stressful times.  If you are shorthanded at mustering time or shearing or the mother or father is sick the last thing you need to worry about is your childrens education.


Our lady, Beryl first came out to us in about 1992, stayed for 6 weeks and was an “Angel” not a retired teacher.  So I was able to concentrate on teaching my girls and helping with the mustering  while Beryl just took over the running of the house. 


She was about 62 at the time and was a widow from the sunshine coast (North of Brisbane), she had had 11 children, one died so that left her with 10!!! An awesome effort to bring up 10 kids and I have met most of them now and they are a really nice bunch of people.  I’m sure that Beryl was just looking for a family to care for and spoil, after all her kids had well and truly spread their wings and flown the nest.  She is a fantastic cook and housekeeper, so organised and calm, she also loved our 2 girls and would let them help her with the baking and taught them calligraphy.  She cleaned the place from top to bottom, did windows, cupboards and ceiling fans.  The washing was done every second day and the ironing basket was always empty. She would bake every other day, scones, pikelets, sponge cakes you name it and she would do it.  I think that she gets great satisfaction from cooking the old fashioned way, no short cuts and having people appreciate her efforts.  Beryl also loved meeting the neighbours, the musterers or the shearers and doing the unexpected. 


One time she and I and the girls were just sitting down to lunch when we got a call on the radio to bring all the paraphernalia out in a Toyota to kill and butcher a beast in the paddock.  And you do need a fair bit of stuff too – rifle, knives, axe, shovel, old shearers beds to put the meat on and lastly water, soap and a basin  for washing hands in at the end. And some smoko.  We piled in and went to find the men and the beast out in the paddock somewhere.  She still laughs about sitting out in the paddock watching what is commonplace to station people and then boiling up for smoko.  What I remember most was that it was pretty ordinary meat as it came off a very athletic cow who had given us the slip on previous occasions. 


Beryl has been up in the plane with me mustering, camped at a waterhole at Innaminka, seen the Thargomindah rodeo and been to the annual Ball in Thargo, attended the Brewarrina Show, and visited the Fox place where we had cattle on agistment near Bree.


All up  Beryl has been out about 8 times, she is starting to slow down and her back is not so great these days but she last visited in October 08 and vows she’ll be back again.  At first she used to come to Cunnamulla on the train and we would pick her up from there, she has also come out on the school bus with 30 or so boisterous kids but in latter years she has flown out to Thargomindah.


We have just visited her in Caloundra where she invited all her family and friends to join her at the Power Boat Club for a lunch to celebrate her 80th Birthday.  What a diverse group of people, it was really interesting to finally meet her oldest friends that I had heard so much about mainly during our early morning walks on the dusty roads of Kilcowera.


Eremophila Alternifolia 


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