This is your life
Jean's life has been one of hard work, courage
and generosity. The "Aussie Battler", a term flung around like
confetti these days by the media and politicians, does truly apply to Jean --
an original get-up-and-go with a large dose of humour.
Jean Reardon was brought up in the Queen
Alexandra Children's Home, Coorparoo. [Many Guild members well remember Queen
Alexandra's as the venue for our meetings (1996-99), and where our our first two public exhibitions were staged in the
lovely upstairs reception room.] She was sent there, with her four sisters at
the age of four. At 14 she left and went "into service" at Mrs Chitton's home in Clayfield, where she stayed for 13
In 1950, Jean married a share-farmer from
Eudlo, but later they bought their own 33 acres at Palmwood.
Lots of hard work, planting 2800 pineapples [by hand] and 7000 bananas, plus
tomatoes. Every farm kept cows and these had to be milked -- Jean's job.
They sold the farm and moved to Western
Queensland where Jean became a station cook and her husband worked fencing
and desilting the bore tanks.
After 13 years, they returned to her
father-in-law's 800 acre wheat property at Boundary Bend on the Murray River
in Victoria. This was not a happy move for Jean as her marriage broke up. So
she went back to cooking -- at the very best address -- in Toorak. Here she
stayed for 8 years; but with no family close by and the Melbourne weather she
decided to return to her roots and came back to Brisbane.
She cooked for the South Brisbane
Businessmen's Club for 2 years. Her last job was cooking for 21 teenagers at
the Baptist Girls' Hostel -- Woolhara House --
where she stayed 4 years and then retired. "Worn out" (Jean's
Jean began decoupage about 10 years ago with
Antoinette Anderson (a decoupage tutor from the Southbank Tafe
College) at the Camp Hill School of Arts. Jean was one of the early members
of the Guild when it was officially formed in 1996 and is now a Life Member.
One of our most active supporters, she says -- and I quote -- "We're all
a lovely bunch". Jean gives away most of her decoupage and has a fetish
for clocks -- for which she is well known.
It has been a privilege to know Jean -- they
don't make them like that anymore -- more's the