Another Walcha resident celebrated a 100th birthday this week. Irene Hoy OAM was described by her son Bevis at the Riverview Hostel party on Monday as a ‘giver’.
The sixth of nine children, Irene Doris Chandler was born at ‘Honeysuckle’, the family property of Edward and Minnie Chandler in Yarrowitch.
Although the family was poor, Irene remembers her childhood fondly.
“What a happy family we all were, with loving parents,” Mrs Hoy said.
“Going to set traps for rabbits was really something. I used to love going around at night holding the lantern. In drought time we would all go to the creek to wash, and copper boil the clothes then dry them on a line strung between trees. We would take food for the day and boil the billy for tea, and us kids would fish for eels and help mum make tea tree brooms. They were wonderful days and, when I look back, I marvel at the times and how wonderful it was to be so innocent.”
Educated at Yarrowitch School from the age of 7, Irene left school on the day she turned 14 and worked for many years as a maid and nanny on various properties in Yarrowitch and Walcha.
From a very early age, Irene developed a passion for cooking. At the age of 17, she entered her first cake into the Walcha Show, which proved to be the beginning of 80 years of entries. She was also cooking section chief steward for 30 years.
Dancing was a central social activity in Irene’s life.
“We used to go to all the dances, which were often held in a shed at someone’s home,” she said.
“We had to walk to get there and used to leave for the dance at sunset and walk home at daylight.”
It was at a dance while working at “Europambela” that Irene met Gordon Hoy. They married in 1942 and had two children: Bevis and Margaret.
Bevis said his mother’s life has been full of unceasing giving, working tirelessly for family, community and her church. In 1981, Mrs Hoy was the first Walcha resident to be awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her lifelong contribution to community service.
For 100 years, Irene has been a true and committed Christian dedicated to helping and serving others.
Some of the many community charities and organisations that received her determined contribution over many decades include:
▶ Over 50 years’ service to the Women’s auxiliary of the RSL. This earned her Life Membership. She assisted the auxiliary, packing and despatching parcels, in WW II and again for Vietnam.
▶ Walcha Torchbearers for Legacy (30 years).
▶ Foundation member of Walcha Meals on Wheels.
▶ Untiring worker for the Anglican Church. A member of the Parish Council and secretary of the Women’s Guild.
▶ Founding member of the Walcha Senior Citizens Association serving as President and Treasurer.
▶ Member of the Walcha Women’s Bowling club for over 25 years holding the position of President and Secretary.
▶ Committee member of the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides.
▶ President of the Walcha Service and Information Centre and Home Care.
▶ Foundation member and Welfare Officer for the Walcha branch of the Royal Far West Home.
▶ Member of the Ladies committee of the Walcha Show Society.
▶ Secretary of the Ohio Boys Home.
▶ Member of the Ambulance Auxiliary.
▶ Member of the P & C Association.